Just Before the "Big One" ………….

Posted on August 13, 2010. Filed under: aberfeldy, anaphylaxis campaign, ayr, cycle, loch tay, ness, run, shakey, swim, triathlon, wetsuit |

The Ice Still Hasn’t Melted on Loch Tay by August

The nerves are starting to jangle now as I approach the big one.  As mentioned previously I face 80% of the total challenge mileage this weekend as I take on the Aberfeldy Middle (yes, there are Long ones) Distance Triathlon which is half of the Ironman distance.  So as a re-cap I will swim 1.9km, bike 90km and then run a half-marathon (21.1km).  The Daily Record Ironman column uses the following description…….”This is a half Ironman distance thrash and will be a real test of my fitness and mental determination.  The event is set in deepest darkest Perthshire and takes competitors through some of the most picturesque parts of Scotland.  It is widely regarded as one of the harder days on the triathlon calendar – with a 1.9km swim in the balmy waters of Loch Tay, followed by a ‘sticky’ 60 mile bike ride before finishing with an undulating half-marathon past Harry Potter author JK Rowlings palatial pad.”

Catering Choice of Champs
Preparations haven’t been perfect this week as I have been suffering from a serious illness that has adversely impacted my training.  Now I know when I am getting ill and this week the symptoms went from relatively benign to life-threatening within hours – when the nose runs I can normally get by with a persistent manly sniff, in more serious situations I may have to deploy the back of the hand (possibly a sleeve) but this week it all went ballistic and I had to reach for the hankies.  A more fragile man would probably have ended up in the ER and would call it pneumonia but I sniffed in the face of adversity.  My diet has also been challenging since Shakey and I Big Mac’d after Ayr and final race fuelling today has been sub-optimal including a sausage roll, a Tunnocks Tea Cake with too many Americanos and some out of date Walkers Crisps.  I have managed to carb load in the evenings though for most of the week and my new favourite pasta is now Tripoline – a pasta with ruffles – camp but tasty! 

I am now starting to look forward to some seriously bad eating next week when the big event is over.  And having managed to get to a couple of fringe shows this week (and the Fringe is a very different experience when you are sober) I am developing my usual unhealthy fixation with Nastro Azzuro while I am training hard for an event.  After the Great Scottish Swim on the 21st I expect to go seriously off the rails for a few hours (possibly days)!!

Pam has volunteered to marshall at the event this weekend which is very altruistic.  However, I think she has other less charitable reasons – the free event t-shirt that marshalls get, an invite to join me at the pre-race pasta party on Saturday night and I think she may have misunderstood me when I said that the marshalls at these events deserve a medal.  I suspect she may have illusions of driving me home all blinged up!!

For those worrying about why Shakey isn’t joining me for this event.  Well to be honest she is starting to feel her age, has a dodgy hip and is quite frankly just not fit enough.  And secondly, after Ayr last weekend she has discovered that she has spiders living under her skin and has developed a very irritating itch.  She will be back next weekend, hopfeully, less her new friends for the Great Scottish Swim.  In the meantime, she is showing solidarity and is spending this evening “taking one for the team” by having my share of beer at the Spiegeltent as well as her own.

Another aspect of less than perfect prep tonight was the lawn again.  I am pretty sure Chris Hoy didn’t get sent out to the back green by his mum just before he headed to Beijing but Pam said the grass was a disgrace and to make my way out and cut it.  Once the scyth had got it down to knee height it was pretty straightforward to trim after that.  The remaining stubble then became a pretty good base to gather all of my gear for the weekend.  In the interests of not shredding my more delicate moving parts packing involves all sorts of ointments and options for changing into at the transitions during the event.  And to ensure I have a fair chance of walking into the office under my own steam on Monday I have packed compression clothes (in fact, lets call it what it is – extreme lycra!) for afterwards which apparently aid recovery.  I am not sure there will be enough space in Pam’s 4WD to get everything in for the weekend.  Bear in mind for a night away Pam will need shoe “options” that would cover the whole lawn.

If my eyes are working the run course will be beautiful

For a quick preview of Sunday it goes like this……8am race briefing in Kenmore (pictured at top), 0820 enter frigid waters of Loch Tay (currently boasting a sultry 12C) for “warm up”, 0830 we’re off for a 1.9k swim.  Then on to the bike for a 90k jolly over the Schiehallion Road, a loop of Loch Rannoch and then into Aberfeldy.  After a brief warm-up we start climbing for about 6 miles then it is flat for about 40miles and then we do the climb again on the way back.  At the moment I am still planning to ride Jezebel (aka the Temptress) this weekend because she is fast as anything on the flats but feisty and hard work on the climbs – I may have a last minute change of bikes in the morning if my legs are remotely tired or I just chicken out.  Following the bike we start the run along the River Tay in Aberfeldy on what is euphemistically described as an “undulating” course.

Stock saved from fire at fetish shop
I’m a big enough boy that I can admit to a few fears.  Firstly the old one armed swim – the water is cold and I am slightly concerned about getting cramp in the functioning arm.  Secondly, the hills in the bike – I am pretty rubbish going up them ……………. and I tend to break limbs coming down them.  And I always hurt my legs in some manner when I am running……or lose toe nails.  And then there is the nutrition – I will use 6-7000 calories during the course of the event and, to avoid the wall, I need to be taking in about 60 grammes of carbs per hour.  With all that synthetic high energy food being forced into my stomach while I cycle and run there is every chance that I will develop the trots, throw up etc etc etc.  The weather forecast currently has the temp between 20 and 24C and with the wind at zero mph – perfect conditions for dehydration.  Oh, excellent exactly what my tender, rebelling stomach will really need at that point will be gallons of water chucked on top with artificially effervescent electrolytes.

This is such a big challenge that my only aim is to finish.  I am hoping to get in about 7 hours after I start with all limbs intact. 

This afternoon I passed through the £3000 mark with the fundraising which will make all of that so worthwhile.  Thanks again for all the support so far.  Yes, if you haven’t yet had the opportunity you can still sponsor me.

That’s it.  The next update will be post event.  


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One Response to “Just Before the "Big One" ………….”

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The fact he likes tunnocks tea cakes is brand new information to me! We've only been together 10 years! Only 1 pair of shoes packed and I think I deserve a medal for that alone!!


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