Posts Tagged ‘PB’

June 2016

So my last blog post was a short introduction to how I intended to beat my younger self at this year’s triathlon

I suppose, to be honest, it wasn’t so much how as just that I had that idea. There was no plan as such. Just an intention to swim hard, bike hard and run hard and then generally hope that I’m fitter and harder than I was four years ago!

This is a short post. You know how I’m no good at long race reports. (I can actually hear your collective ‘phew!’)

The first thing to note is that I did fit into both my tri-suit and my wetsuit. Four years on from their last outing this was no mean feat… unless by ‘mean’ you actually just mean ‘average’ in which case, that’s exactly what it was. But I was s bit worried about that do it was indeed a good start.

SWIM (750m open water – 15:23)

The timing of the swim start had been changed due to a course change upon the discovery of some blue-green algae in the lake. They needn’t have bothered as I am colour-blind anyway and besides, the water was so murky you couldn’t tell what anything was.

I swam the swim ok, but my snug wetsuit seemed to make lifting my arms out of the water really hard. I would also get stupidly dizzy and need a few strokes of breaststroke just to stop the world spinning. I alternated between this and front crawl until the exit gantry, where I then proceeded to try and remove my rubber onesie while trying not to fall over! Proper dizzy!

I later found out my son, watching, was saying, “What is he doing?” Upon viewing my antics.

BIKE… (20k – 36:53)

“…Eventually!” – my son.

This felt straight-forward… with a few corners thrown in. Four laps of not crashing. 20km.

I was never going to be super fast on the bike but I overtook a few people and was overtaken by a few different people… though I consoled myself with the fact that most of these were not in fact ‘cycling’ so much as ‘piloting futuristic looking spacecraft’. I’m sure I would have overtaken myself if I was piloting futuristic looking spacecraft too!

I did one of those clever, off the pedal – straight into running with the bike -dismount thingies, but I think I was going a little faster than I thought because my legs had to work like billy-o to prevent immediate face-planting embarrassment.

RUN  (5k – 22:51)

This must weirdly have had it’s benefits though as I settled into a steady running pace that I thought I could sustain for the next 5k and a glance at my Garmin told me this was 7:45/mile . Pleasantly surprised with that so I stuck with it.

I slowly picked off a few runners and didn’t get caught by anyone (that I remember) which felt good (obviously anyone faster than me at running was also faster than me at swimming and/or cycling).

I still had enough energy for a strong finish in just over 1 hour 18 minutes – just over five minutes faster than my time in 2012 🙂

If I continue at this rate of improvement I shall be winning this event by the time I am 55 years old! 

Many thanks to the family for cheering on the chubby bloke in a leotard, and to the marshals – who incidentally were lovely to me (the friendly, law-abiding triathlete novice) but who had to deal with a few trumped-up numpties, I heard.

It is now June… Which in the past has meant JUNEATHON which has meant daily blogging. I can’t see that happening…but maybe a few more regular ones this month.


Part 1 – packages

Spoiler: This post contains a full frontal photo of me in a rubber suit with my package clearly visible.

At the end of this month, I shall be racing a triathlon for the fist time in a long time. So long has it been, that on Wednesday last week, I thought it prudent to check that my triathlon suit has not drastically shrunk during its time in my drawer.

It has. A little. But I was able to squeeze myself in. Just. I hope it returns to its normal size in the next few weeks!

It has been even longer (about 3 years?) since I wore my open-water swimming wetsuit. I thought I’d perhaps try that on too. This took longer. It even required a break part way through – to cut my nails for fear of tearing the rubber in my efforts to wrench the obviously aged and stiffened material further on to my muscular, svelte frame. I can’t believe this suit has shrunk as much as it has!

After the leg/bum/tum workout that was the application of the lower half, I crouch down and manage to get one arm in, using the ‘slowly standing straight’ method of pulling the remainder of the wetsuit into approximate position. 

I figure, as long as I don’t need to breathe at all during the swim section of the triathlon, I shall be fine. 

Using a combination of yoga poses, near dislocation, and the sheer determination that only wetsuit wearers possess, I managed to actually put both arms in AND zip the zipper all the way up!

Yeah baby!

Woo hoo!

*Dingggg Dongggg* 


*Dingggg Dongggg*


An actual ding-dong. A someone-at-the-door ding-dong. A day before son’s birthday, might be a parcel, best not ignore it, sort of ding-dong.

I have no choice. I go and answer it. I try in vain to explain exactly why I’m wearing an overly tight-fitting rubber suit on one of the hottest days of the year so far as I collect the package – clearly seen in the photo below (I knew instantly that this would be a blog post  – and one that would require a photo with a caption!).image

I have decided that every day, between now and May 28th, I shall put on the tri-suit/wetsuit combo as a method of training. It ticks all the boxes:


…and it’s quite motivational! :-/

Part 2 – pants

I was recently offered some more Chaffree underwear for free – I declined.

I have written before about Chaffree underwear. They asked me to. They sent me some free to try. I like them – a lot. If I didn’t, I would say. They work – if they didn’t, I would say.

Question – So why did I decline some free ones?

Answer – Because they’re worth buying! So I bought them.

In the interests of transparency, I have to declare at this point that having bought myself a further two pairs, Amanda, the Chaffree boss-lady, sent me an extra pair anyway.

So if you’re reading this and your thighs don’t chafe, then fine. No problem. Keep doing what you’re doing. It works…

… but if you do… seriously consider giving these a go. I wasn’t asked to write this. I want to. Because I love you. 

Not entirely true. 

I don’t reallyknow who you are. You could be anybody. I might know you. I might have met you. I might even love you, I suppose. Mum and dad occasionally read this blog. Hi Mum. Hi Dad. I love them. The rest of you… well… You’re lovely too I’m sure… But  the point is I did just want to write this as I wouldn’t want any of you to suffer unnecessarily with the pain that comes with chafing, especially when (but not limited to) running.

If you’re a blogger/runner/professional-underwear-reviewer then find them on Twitter (@chaffree) and get in touch with Amanda, as I know she’s always on the lookout for bloggers who write betterer than wot I do an’ that.

Part 3 – PBs

It’s been a little while since I got a 5k PB [ ‘personal best’ that is – for the benefit of my aging parents…and American people 😉 ]. Not since my little PB streak inspired by a new Garmin and a bit of weight loss before Christmas. But a couple of weeks ago, my son’s school hosted their annual 5k charity race and we both got PBs. He broke his by 4 minutes(!) to go sub-30 with 29:20, and I took about 30 seconds of mine to go sub-22  for the first time ever with a 21:45.


In case you were wondering… that package in the wetsuit photo…it was some new running shorts that I won through completing a challenge with ‘Running Heroes (if you sign up, use referral code 6w7m for extra points!). It wasn’t a present for my son. I could have hidden and not answered the door and it wouldn’t have mattered.


Posted: June 20, 2015 in Juneathon, running
Tags: , , ,

I decided the other day that my daily exercise has been far too sensible so I decided to buy a packet of these…  

…draw one out (at random) and tailor my exercise accordingly to match.

Except…I got this…

  …which to me, looks like a tennis racquet. So I played tennis on Friday. Hardly random for me recently.

On Thursday I went for a run. I felt like putting a a bit of effort in and upped the pace from my usual plod. Some roads, but mostly track/canal path so predominantly flat but with occasional short hills… and it felt good.
I covered 10k in 48:55 (which for me is a PB) so I celebrated by sitting on the picnic bench outside of a newly opened village tea room, relaxing with my purchases and enjoying the countryside 🙂

Very pleasant…

But not very random…

What I really need is for someone to have set up scarecrow version of Tommy Cooper in their front garden or something…

…just like that.

The weak updates continue with further information about nothing in particular.

Good news: I wasn’t totally done in by last week’s activities of tennis and 5k runs.

Bad news: I was still a bit done in. Didn’t need any days off work but I was unusually tired and the left ankle was complaining at me.

Good news: I completed my son’s school’s 5k fun run in a reasonable 25:24

Bad news: I looked like a bit of a plonker in an attempt to promote my local tennis club’s open day…

Good news: I’ve lost a bit of weight at last.

Bad news: Because I had put on some weight after deciding originally I would lose some weight, I now still weigh some more weight than I did before the initial ‘I need to lose some weight’ weigh-in weight.

Good news: doughnuts taste nice.

More good news: I ran a parkrun for the first time in ages yesterday and got a course PB, breaking sub 23:00 for the first time at Colwick.

Bad news: I was annoyingly just 6 seconds sort of my all-time, anywhere PB. Maybe next time.

Good news: If I am heavier AND faster then my extensive knowledge of physics – which includes words such as force and distance moved suggests that work done is dramatically increased and my training benefit is thus also dramatically increased. Extrapolating these findings, I am therefore going to also start smoking – to give my lungs a good workout too (working on the same principle as above).

Bad news: I’m not actually a scientist and there may be an unforeseen flaw in my immensely well thought out plan. Also my wife would chuck me out.

Good news: I’ve just been to the toilet and I’m now much closer to my original ‘I ought to lose some weight’ weight.

Bad news: That last bit was probably over-sharing. Sorry.

Good news: I eventually got back to the New Balance people with my detailed waist, chest, inside leg, head circumference etc measurements so they can provide me with my ‘head to toe’ prize package for having written about my ‘rubbish run’ or ‘another rubbish run’ (I still don’t know which one it was that they liked).

Bad news: they got back to me to tell me they just neded to know small, medium, or large? (It could still be a onesie!)

Good news: I’ve finished writing this blog post now.

Bad news: …apart from this bit of course…and I’ll be back at some point soon too.

Ashby 20 review

Posted: March 25, 2015 in Marathon, Reviews, running
Tags: , ,

I’m not actually very good at straightforward race reviews. A few things usually end up happening: I start boring myself, it will follow no chronological order, and will have no point… but nonetheless I think it would be useful to do anyway for this twenty-miler before the memory of it fades and I miss my opportunity to reflect and learn any lessons.

A couple of other blog posts I have come across reviewing the same race, worth a read can be found HERE and HERE.

I entered the Ashby 20 a while back after considering it for about….oooo…all of 20 seconds. One of those ‘last twenty places remaining’ posts on social media spurred me into action I wasn’t even sure it was a twenty mile event at that point (I just hoped it wasn’t a 20 hour, endurance one!). But it was close enough to home to not disrupt family life too much and was perfect preparation for Huddersfield marathon.  I had thought , “If I can’t manage this one, I shall pull out of the marathon for sure”.

The day began beautifully. The sun was shining, I felt recovered from my midweek half marathon effort, and I could find all the running gubbins that I had failed to prepare the night before.

The journey was straightforward. I was on my own, but even with my less-than-perfect navigation skills, I didn’t get lost and grabbed a parking space right next to the finishing area. Desperate for the loo and sufficiently blind not to see the rows of portaloos over the other side of the cricket field, I walked through town to use the ones at the leisure centre. There, you see, important stuff… I totally rock at this review-writing malarkey!

Returning to the cricket field I had a bit of time to kill so I set up a justgiving fundraising page via my mobile phone, in preparation for next month’s marathon.  I then pootled over to the start gathering area where I placed myself with the 3 to 3.5 hour pace group. Here, I recognised a chap from Colwick parkrun… There is a photo somewhere of us crossing the finish line at a similar time…but I’m wearing a dressing gown And dark sunglasses… I’ll see if I can find it…

Yup… Here it is…

Anyway, we had a nice chat before we were led to the actual start point… and we were off!

It was essentially a two-lap course, running about a mile out of Ashby-de-la-Zouch doing two 9-mile loops, then hobbling back in to Ashby again.

Inevitably, I went out faster than intended. I know, I know… It just seemed so easy… I know!

However… Having managed to maintain sub-nine-minute miles fairly comfortably for 11 miles, I figured, “let’s see how long you can keep this going for then, shall we?” 

At least to cover the half marathon distance, I thought.

The original plan was to attempt to run a half-marathon in approximately 2 hours, which until my final training run last week, was pretty much as fast as I had ever done that distance. I would then inevitably slow down, but would attempt to cling on to ten-minute miles for the final seven.  This would give me a 3:10:00 finish time and was therefore my target.

This was not taking into account the undulating nature of the course, so I thought this was perhaps an ambitious target.

The course was indeed undulating and the first lap was significantly but perhaps unsurprisingly somewhat flatter than the second one :-/

Here are my splits (I don’t normally do this but, well, I am doing so today so you’ll just have to deal with it)…

I think it is fair to say that mentally as well as physically, I let things slide a little after the 13 mile point.

My total, chip time  =  3:04:19

Happy with that.

And a few more personal bests to add to the collection…

Support was great, the whole way round. Fantastic organisation. Lovely weather. Regular drinks/sponges/’nutrition’ stations brimming with wonderful volunteers.
The only negative I can think of is – despite the wonderful pre-race information pack and well-signed placards after drinks stations saying, “no rubbish to be dropped past this point” some runners were obviously still just chucking their cups/gel packets/bottles/lids at the side of the road wherever they fancied. There was even a bin at every mile marker so there really was every effort made by the organisers but some selfish runners still somehow see it as their right to throw rubbish where they like and expect someone else to tidy up… Grrrrr!

Now… ‘Nutrition‘… 

There were a number of things on offer: Gels… Jelly Babies… Chocolate… Bananas…    But up til this race I had always done my long runs on just water (I’m still not Jesus though), convincing myself that I was training my body to use my fat stores for energy.

If this had truly happened, then I would not have run out of energy for a very long time, but as it was, I was suffering from about mile 15, I would say (the splits show I was slowing before this but that’s when I felt it), so I accepted a banana half… Then later – a few Jelly Babies… Then later still – a square of chocolate.  I didn’t have any gels (It’s easy to resist the gels – they’re disgusting!)
So I’m still not sure of a nutrition strategy for the marathon :-/

I think the mental boost gained was greater than the physical one and I was too mentally weak to resist at that stage.  I also got a good mental boost by playing ‘Chariots of Fire Theme‘ by Vangelis over my iPod for the final 0.5 miles (using its internal speaker, of course – no headphones allowed).  That felt good.

My phone GPS actually measured my route as 20.4 miles … Here’s that last 0.4 miles pace…

8:02 minute mile pace! – I should have had that tune on loop since mile 15!

One final thing…

I won!

Well… Not the whole thing – obviously, but I got an ALDI sponsored ‘spot prize’ of £5 in an envelope after I crossed the line – presumably just for being brilliant 😉

This went straight to the Rainbows charity who were collecting donations in exchange for a post-race sports massage at the cricket pavilion.

Painful but great!

Which is a summary of the massage and the Ashby 20 itself.

By popular demand… (two people asked) here is my triathlon report from last Sunday…

(Only a week late. And this is when I actually have something to write about as well! – This isn’t looking good for Juneathon, the soon-to-be-upon-us challenge of exercising and blogging everyday in June)

I was so fed up of being ill (persistent cough, sore throat, temperature, general ‘bleugh’ness) for over a week that I would pretend I was fine for a day and do the sprint triathlon I had been so looking forward to.

My prime reasoning was that if I nearly drowned and/or collapsed with fatigue/coughing fits, it would at least provide material for a blog post.

As it is, I have nothing particularly exiting to write. In fact, you might as well nip off now and put the kettle on… unless you need some help to get to sleep, in which case, read on!

I can’t write much about the swim. It was up and down a pool 20 times.
The scenery was pretty much the same throughout.
I didn’t enjoy it.
My chest was tight.
I could have coughed throughout but somehow didn’t.
I was paranoid my nose was going to start bleeding and end my race before it really got started (this has happened before…see ‘map my swim’).
I wanted it over as quick as possible… which is actually quite a good thing in a race.

Time: 9 min 14s (including approx. 1 min run from pool to bike transition)

Time: 35 seconds (helmet, shoes and gone!) Whoosh

BIKE – 20km
As this was a very local triathlon, the bike route was well known to me and one I do regularly when I’m feeling fit enough to cycle the 24 mile round trip to/from work.

…I normally do it without a flat tyre half way through though – much easier and much faster without a flat tyre…

No pump. Oops.
I had a spare tube.
And a repair kit.
But no pump.

Surprisingly other cyclists didn’t slow from their 30 mph sprints to offer assistance (and obviously I didn’t expect it either) so off came the cycle shoes and so began my first full-on bare-foot race as I started pushing my poorly bike along the pavement.

Only 8km from home.

Thankfully, after only a couple of km of barefoot bone-bruising (it’s really not for me!) some motorbike marshals caught up with me, lent me a pump, and eventually (after my 10-15 min delay) I was off again.

Cycle time: 0:00:25  Yes! 25 seconds for 20 km! Get in there!

Time: 0:55:49  Mmmm… Just under 56 minutes to rack my bike, take helmet off and swap shoes. I think either there may have been a possible chip-glitch or this aspect of my triathlon needs some serious attention!

Somebody told me afterwards that they thought I looked strong during the run. They were mistaken. The 5k run took me a full 27 minutes and I didn’t feel strong. I wasn’t going to stop, but I didn’t run at any faster a pace than if I was planning to be running a marathon. I had reverted to my default ‘one pace plod’.

Run time: 27 mins

TOTAL TIME: 01:33:06

I wasn’t racing to win and I was happy to complete it without major incident really. I did find myself being a bit gutted about the flat tyre though because, this being my first sprint triathlon, it was always going to be a PB* but it could have been that much better.

On the bright side, I guess it will also be that bit easier to get a PB next time.

*STOP PRESS… Does it actually count as a ON if previously, I completed a longer triathlon in a shorter period of time?
For that race and a much more interesting triathlon report click here.

Oooo… Lots been going on here:

Firstly, Last week I recently ran a 2k with my son, which I then followed by a 5k myself.
As he is 6 years old, he is in the fortunate position of getting a PB pretty much every time he runs.
I, on the other hand, am not
(…but I still got one – knocking 10 seconds off my previous. Get in!).

Secondly, I have actually, genuinely, properly-like, been getting into a training mindset. I have shunned the car in favour of biking to/from work. It’s 12 miles each way and takes me about 50 mins (although I cycle away from work about 5 minutes quicker!). Admittedly, I only do work there two days a week, but it’s better than nowt.

Thirdly, tennis season has restarted so I have been enjoying a few hours on court this week (and got the opportunity to get centre court Wimbledon tickets for men’s quarter finals day – yes please!).

Fifthly, I have forgotten how to count properly.

Fourthly, with big thanks to some advice from Cathy ‘I’m not all bad’ White – aka JogBlog I have actually become a member of that select (I don’t know how select if I’m a part of it) group of people who get sent decent free stuff to review on their blog so here goes…

It’s running shoes. A pair of New Balance 1080v3 running shoes. A proper, decent, bright blue, full-on pair of genuine, good quality, meant for mileage, made for running, bright blue running shoes.

Did I mention they were bright blue? Maybe this is why I got sent them. Look… Here is their bright blueyness…



Maybe it is actually a very cunning thing to do. I mean, if I have a bright blue pair of running shoes (and I do now), I am less likely to wear them down to the pub on a Friday night, thus avoiding the risk of inadvertent beverage spillage and so increasing the lifespan of the shoe. So… Good idea… I have come around to liking the bright blueness. They do look well-smart.

I confess too, that I have never before worn a pair of New Balance shoes. I know they have a good reputation for running stuff but I have tended to stick with what I know, which is the ‘not-going-for-the-cheapest-option-but-waiting-for-the-expensive-ones-to-be-superseded-by-new-models-and-buy-them-when-they’re-on-offer’ formula.
I have to say, generally, this method has served me well, but when spending money on shoes, even post-discount, you still want a pair that you know will do the job so I guess that’s why I have tended to stick to brands and fittings I am used to. I tell you what though, change is good!

I was advised by the lovely (she is lovely – she sent me some bright blue shoes) Fay at S&X media that although I’d informed her I’m a 10.5 UK size, she’d send me the 11s. She was right. Perfect fit.

(Incidently, I noted recently that Liz Yelling is a size 7.5 but takes a size 9 running shoe. A little fact for you there. You’re welcome.)

These shoes are light too.
Considering the bumpf says they are well-cushioned for high-mileage, I was expecting something heavier. A nice surprise.

I have been told I slightly over-pronate when I’m running (has anyone actually ever really been told anything different?) but on advice of helpful, running-shop-types, I have stuck with a neutral shoe because, as yet, I have not suffered any injury or running related complaint as a result.

(That ^^ up there ^^ was just in case you have my sort of attention span and needed a dinosaur chasing a person to keep you going)

You can read the official blurb on the shoes here but as I have no technical knowledge myself to back up the claims, I will just tell you how it felt…

I ran 7 miles with them last night – comfortable, no injuries, and another 5k PB in the process! Woo hoo, it’s like I’m 6 again!…

…Having since checked the details of the run, I think it’s a bit optimistic actually to have got a PB by two minutes as it registered my penultimate mile as my fastest ever too. Unlikely perhaps, but not impossible as I was running while my boy was at Beavers (young scouts… pre-cubs) and I realised if I didn’t really kick it, I’d be late collecting him.

Well, regardless of the above, I has a great run, like I say. I felt supported and there was a little spring I’m my step which, admittedly, may have been partly due to the fact that I had just been saved the expense of buying a swanky new pair of trainers.

Now I probably shouldn’t say this, purely in case they ever offer to send me more, but I could definitely see myself buying these in the future.
Today, I’m a happy runner.

Till next time,


P.S. I swam 2.5km after than run too. Bring on the triathlons.

I am so ‘all or nothing’!

P.P.S I am pretty sure the postman looked at me in the sort of way that he thought I had ordered something else from the internet…