It’s less than three weeks to go and we’ve entered the tapering phase – where we’re supposed to allow our drained bodies to replenish and recover. Apparently, if all goes well – we’ll be chomping at the bit to race on the day itself (19th May).

Some hope the way I’m feeling today…

But Nathan is upbeat and feeling ready – he has an annoying ability to recover from injury and exercise quickly. I take a full week to get over a big session and usually end up with some niggle or other that drags on and on...

For two months I’ve had a dodgy right popliteal (muscle behind the knee) – this has meant I’ve been running with a limp which has subsequently resulting in damaged calves and very sore ankles on the right side.

I’ve done massage, physiotherapy, RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), chiropracty, acupuncture – and drugs (diclofenac and topical arnica). I did the Bath half in 1:35 – but since I’ve not got under 1:50 – so I have a challenge ahead!

It’s a 'pain' really – as it messes with the final weeks of prep that were done almost by the hour. And means no running whatsoever before the day!


I like to research. And apparently the best cyclists shave their legs. Having mentioned this to some girlfriends – and having imbibed a little – I ended up in the early hours having a painful half wax using out of date home kits.

The kits ran out too, the girls got bored of my overly-hirsute body and left me with some awfully alopecia-like limbs.

So there was no choice – I had to say hello to my feminine side and complete the job with razor and foam.

My god it itches – but I reckon I shaved (apologies) a few seconds off my 14 hours!

Back to research. I have faffed for weeks about what to wear during the event – hours reading forums – reviewing products. Should I change into different gear in each transition – as Mark and Nathan will do? Should I keep the same piece on – and if I do, one piece or two? Which make, price point, colour?

I finally decided on a two-piece tri suit from 2XU – in black. So, proud as punch, but feeling a little self-conscious – I donned the gear in the local YMCA gym ready for an indoor spin (on account of the god-awful weather preventing any serious out-door cycling).

An hour in, I noticed my socks were looking a little ‘dull’. I ignored it. But then could no longer. I went to the changing rooms, stripped off – and noticed my legs had turned black! The shorts had leached black dye - and stained my legs (and socks). It took two showers to remove the offending stains.

I’m currently dealing the manufacturer to get them replaced…but I really didn’t need another challenge at this stage.

Update: The importer is being helpful to a degree - but not engendering loyalty to the brand. They were honest in admitting to having seen the problem before and promised to send out a replacement pair of shorts in time for the event (not yet received Thursday). But I did ask that they consider replacing the compressions socks I was porting that are now stained a dull grey. They said "we don't offer compensation...". I few grumpy emails later I agreed to post in my socks to them for them to 'consider' something although they "doubt they can help". It's such a shame really, as I was ready to shout from the highest roof tops about their honesty (in admitting the problem, responsiveness (in sending out a new pair), and how I would be brand loyal as a result. Now (for the sake of a gesture) I am out of pocket, frustrated and looking for the next new supplier. Shame really - and lessons to be learned.


So, aside from injuries and dodgy clothing – my final focus is on fuelling and nutrition. It’s not that simple for such an endurance event. In simple terms, your body will burn glycogen (stored carbohydrate) for the race if it’s available – if not your body will need to be provided with more carbs or it will resort to burning its own muscle - and an inevitable crash.

The problem is that you can only store a limited amount of glycogen (around 2000 Kcals in muscles and a bit more in the liver). So if the swim uses around 750 Kcals, the bike 400 Kcals/hour and the run 700 Kcals/hour – you need to ingest lots of extra carbs during the event.

Here's the rub, but your body can only absorb around 300 Kcals/hour max.

In simple terms you’re on a journey zero available calories throughout the event – and the challenge is to manage that (delay it) by careful pacing, drinking and eating – both before and during the event.

And this means ingesting sweet, same-same bars and snot-like gels for the whole day – making you want to vomit at the thought of yet another one…yum!


Here’s what I genuinely feel will be the results:

  Age Group Swim T1 Bike T2 Run Total Gap Finish Time
Mark 25-29 1:10 :10 7:30 :10 4:00 13:00 +0:00 20h00
Nathan 35-39 1:30 :15 7:45 :15 3:40 13:35 +0:25 20h25
Brett 45-49 1:15 :10 7:45 :10 4:40 14:00 +1:00 21h00

We all have different strengths (and development opportunities) – but it will be great if we can finish within an hour of each other.

It’ll be a very interesting battle between the two youngsters – Mark for sure will have a head start on the run – but Nathan appears able to run off the bike very well. And the way the route is planned, they will be able to pass each other multiple times (in opposite directions) and see the relative gaps – so will Nathan be able to chase down the machine that is Mark?

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