The Long Brick

Posted on August 1, 2010. Filed under: cycle, run, swim, triathlon |

Okay, the good news is that the leaving night didn’t kill me, however, the long brick damn near did!!  Either event on it’s own would probably have been tough enough but it was a double-header destined to cause me some pain.

The brick was a 4 hour ride and then straight into a one hour run.  Events overtook me and it had to be on Saturday so most of the day was a study in perfect procrastination as I delayed the inevitable pain.  My diet in the past few months has been ideally suited to training of this type – a lot of carbs, fish, greens and fruit but Friday’s preparation fell well short of this benchmark.  I haven’t checked the nutritional content of Friday evening but even if you get the good bits out of Guinness, Heineken, Sambuca, Tequila, Baby Guinness, a fish supper and a pickled egg you are still a few vitamins short of a balanced diet.

I had already planned to take the Temptress in for a service on Saturday morning before the start of my challenge next weekend.  Optimistically, I got all lycra’d up at 830 and headed out for what I thought would be an hour long circuit towards the shop.  What I had forgotten was that (a) although I felt fine I may have still been drunk and (b) the Temptress is set up in an aggressive riding position (see picture) where the head ends up quite low relative to the body.  Blood, Guinness and half-digested chips pumped rapdily into my head and the hour long ride lasted just shy of 10 minutes! On my way back (still in lycra – and by now people were waking up, staring and pointing) I picked up rehydration tablets and two litres of water and retired to bed to recover.   Pam, by this time awake, took some pleasure in re-capping that I had actually been drunk (if I was still in any doubt) and that I was mental which is her common refrain.

By late morning I was nearing the state where I could consume solids and with 5 hours of hard exercise ahead I made a sound nutritional decision and opted for a BBQ bacon burger and chips to both settle my stomach and fuel me for events to come.  Vaguely aware that it wasn’t going to enhance performance I passed on the ice cream.  Thankfully all foreseeable vices are now behind me and I will be leading a virtuous existence at least until the half ironman!

I took a big step in the apparel stakes last week.  Anyone that takes up a sport (particularly triathlon) needs to make a gear investment and until now I have resisted tri-specific clothing mainly because it is made of lycra, is a bit skimpy and you don’t have the protection of a bike when you wear it.  However, with two big triathlons coming up I decided to invest in a tri top which you can wear under your wetsuit for faster transitions, has pockets for carrying nutrition (I am thinking carb gels and bananas rather than a large donner and chips) and should prevent major chafing.  It arrived, I tried it on, cowered in front of the mirror, laughed heartily and then did the brick in it (albeit under another cycling jersey to preserve my dignity and any innocent onlookers!).  My tri-top should look like the first picture but unfortunately I carry it off a bit more like the second!
The brick was ultimately just over a 50 mile ride followed by a 6 mile run.  The Half Ironman is a 1.2m swim, 56m bike and a 13.1m run so it was a real confidence boost to be able to do such a long session with my blood, head and liver carrying so many toxins that it should hurt.  And it did.  I started the ride with a couple of laps of Arthurs Seat and I was fairly confident at that point that I wouldn’t make it to the Forth Road Bridge on the way out to Fife.  I eventually got home at about 8pm and had a quick change into trainers for the run.  I took a carb gel just as I was leaving and spent the next half hour trying to decide where to hurl it right back up again.  Just as my stomach settled and I thought I could settle into a rhythm I needed a pee and had to hurdle a fence into a field.  Very bizarrely, about 5 miles into the run my legs just stopped running but my head still thought I was running – it was only for a few seconds but I had a look at my feet and got a bit confused why they were going at walking pace!  My recovery nutrition was an inspired choice by Pam who ordered a curry while I was running and had it on the table by the time I got in.  I am sure there were smarter things to do when I got in like stretching, showering or maybe even changing but, no, I sat down still in sweat sodden running gear, horsed down a curry and then (I have been assured) slept with my eyes open on the sofa.  I tried arguing that if my eyes were open I was actually awake but Pam was having none of it.  As self-appointed official support crew I can only assume that was her learned medical opinion!
After this morning’s run I started to rust

I was taken by complete surprise on Friday afternoon when my friends and colleagues had a leaving lunch for me and they very kindly presented me (along with a heap of abuse) with presents that were many and varied and were things that I really needed or desperately wanted (like the tiger towel).  I now have a much coveted Team Sky cycling jersey which will soon be gracing the roads and more bizarrely, and very thoughtfully, a large volume of fake tan.  Now my mate Shakey has been known to have a few bronzing issues (badly scrubbed not badly applied apparently!!) as illustrated by this picture I took of her on a recent night out.  (Apparently, she was wearing the fishing net because “mermaid chic” is the big thing this summer!!).  However, I have found that the hours of cycling have left me with an indelible tideline that even makes Shakey’s tan lines/streaks look good.  I was never very good at colouring in within the lines when I was a kid so I am not sure how effectively I will be able to tidy this up!!  Before you ask the tourist tan on the arms is probably worse than the rusting stumps!

The next edition of the blog will include some shocking revelations.  The shoulder injury and my immediate rehab plan of Stella and scotch eggs have received coverage previously in the blog, however, dramatic new footage has come to my attention of the immediate aftermath of the impact which may have caused complications.  Mrs Stifled…… know what I mean.
The celebrity endorsement on Friday was great for fund raising and I have now reached a total of £2460 which is beyond my wildest expectations.  Everyone’s generosity has been overwhelming and I would like to thank everyone I haven’t had the opportunity to thank in person.  I will keep fundraising until I have finished my last event with the one armed swim on the 21st August.  It has been great to have the opportunity to raise money for the Anaphylaxis Campaign and the great work that they do.  Although my personal interest is in nut allergies they support those who have severe allergies from any source – nuts, shellfish, bee-stings, penicillin, latex and even dairy products – all of which are potentially fatal.  It is serious and can affect anyone of any age – please help support their work.

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