A fresh chapter

Posted on January 7, 2013. Filed under: aberfeldy, big swim, big swim nottingham, man flu, race report, race review, shakey, speedo, swim, Uncategorized, virgin london marathon 2012, vlm 2012 |

Today, for the first time in probably 35 years, I had nowhere organised to go.  So, I did a lot.  I shall explain.

My last post, some months ago, was about the Olympic legacy.  My Olympic legacy has consisted of kebabs.  And cakes.  I may have inspired a generation.  Having done no exercise whatsoever, save for the aforementioned cake and kebab munching (clearly not simultaneously, for that would just be plain wrong) for 6 months today I turned a new leaf. Now let me be clear, I am currently no athlete but I aspire to get back there.  As I arrived at the pool a little before 8am this morning there was a whole Heather Small theme tune playing in my head.  I may even have been whistling along, I may have been searching for the hero.

Outlaw Day 530am. The sun rises at Holme Pierrepont

In the locker room, I took out my goggles – the rubber a little spoiled due to a lack of care and attention.  I picked up my tri shorts (knee length lycra shorts) and thought to myself “undignified, yet forgiving” as demonstrated by larger ladies in leggings on a daily basis.  The volume in my head got louder as I walked through the showers, goggles in hand, kebab and cake physique right out front – I was onto “what have you done today to make me feel ………”.  A scratching noise as the mental needle was dragged off the LP.  Awww nawww.  I looked at the lanes – the pool, my pool was like silver soup.  Thick, silver soup.  I resolved to get up earlier before the cocoon crowd’s bones start moving freely in the morning.

It seems a bit rich, expecting the old folks to have maintained a space for me in the pool.  Since Regensburg 2011 training has been sporadic, despite completing the London Marathon, Escape from Alcatraz and and the Big Swim.  Oh, the Big Swim, if ever there were a life changing event that foul smelling, slog of sensory deprivation was it.  Water boarding would be preferable.

The signs should have been obvious.  After a 5 hour drive, as I arrived at Holme Pierrepont for a Saturday 5k and Sunday 3.8k swim, in the bouncing rain, the sign should have been, well, a sign.  But like the guy in the horror film who proceeds into a basement, after the light bulb blows,towards a hungry monster, armed only with a donut I witlessly ignored the sign.  “BLUE GREEN ALGAE.  DO NOT LET YOUR DOG DRINK WATER FROM THE LAKE.”  I assumed that the marshalls would cancel the event and I would have had a long round trip for nothing.  Noooope.

This is what you get for putting your head in a toilet for two hours.

This is what you get for putting your head in a toilet for two hours.

With a warning of blue green algae fresh in my mind I made sure I had loads of Coke for afterwards to clear my stomach out, donned my rubber suit which, incidentally, was a bit tighter than it’s previous outing, and got into the water for a warm up.  As soon as the water was stirred up the smell drifted across the surface and all of the swimmers winced.  The horn went and I gave it laldy, working on the basis that getting in front of the crowd meant less shit being stirred up.  About 800m in I found my mouth, somewhat to my surprise, had been re-occupied by my breakfast.  As much as I had enjoyed the two sausages, roll and brown sauce several hours before, it was now unwelcome in my mouth while my nose was full of the smell of swan arse.  And that really set the tone for the race.  Somewhere, up the first lap the wind picked up and the return journey was brutal.  If you have ever seen the film Perfect Storm, that is how it felt.  One minute I was ploughing deep through the water, the next there was just air.  I felt like Manuel being slapped in the head by Basil as the waves came down on the back of my head.  Some breaths were mouthfuls of “fresh air”.  Some were mouthfuls of “water”.  In a cruel twist we had to exit the water at the end of the first lap, run the edge of the lake and then dive back in for the second lap.  In a double cruel twist there was only a tiny cup of warm water when I got there – anything flavoured would have freshened my mouth up to sub-sewer taste.  On the second lap, I was again bludgeoned to semi-consciousness by the water, I again swallowed the unthinkable, I vommed in my own mouth two more times.

I expected to finish the Big Swim in just under 90 minutes; I took over two hours.  I didn’t come last though – behind me were a brick and a shopping trolley!  I was done in – and to add insult to injury the medal, like the water, was crap.

Better booty from the Outlaw

Better booty from the Outlaw

After a fitful night’s sleep I was up way before 5am to swim the first leg in the Outlaw Iron distance relay.  When you make a deal in a Bavarian beer garden the day after completing an Ironman – no-one is expected to remember – but that swine Pirate Gladys did.  As 1000 people got into the water before 6am on a beautiful morning you can’t begin to imagine how foul the air smelt.  Being a one lap course, the turn buoy was actually invisible to the naked eye from ground level on account of the curvature of the earth.  I can happily confirm that the swim went better than the Great Big Crap Medal Shit Water Swim the day before.  I found my own space in the water, everything felt easier and, other than being swooped by a swan at the turn, it went OK considering.  And by the way, breathing to the side and seeing a dirty pair of swan feet right  in front of your goggles definitely makes your rubber suit a little warmer.  After a quick shower, I spent a few hours on the Pirate aid station before returning to Holme Pierrepont to start cheering the runners.

Team Gladys on the finish line

Team Gladys on the finish line

Now our team was me (obviously), Gladys (who is actually a bloke) on the bike and Lindi on the run who was 20+ weeks pregnant.  Yup, thats right she ran a marathon while quite pregnant.  That is the Pirate spirit.  And after all that we still managed the money shot on the finish line.

And that was when things got interesting.  I developed a rash on my leg and a cough.  I had an Olympian assault on the Docs – two GP visits and two hospital visits in one year – probably beating my previous 5 year total.  Shakey, as a professional health tourist thinks that is an amateur effort but it is more time with the caring professions than I desire.  Lyme’s disease was mooted, but unproven despite a barrage of tests.  Even now I remain in the medical profession’s favourite diagnosis – the virus.  A catch-all that seems to encapsulate everything from spurting ebola to seasonal sniffles.

So, having lived the life a sloth for a few month’s I decided to have a radical shake up.  I finished work in December (which is why I have nowhere to go), took a few weeks off and over the next few month’s I am going to get myself fit.  A fitness sabbatical, if you like. It’s going to hurt.

I have time on my hands (and a beard that is getting bushier by the hour) so I may even blog a bit more.  Shakey is busy pumping her gums about doing a half ironman and wants company.  We have a potential new recruit, lets call him “TrouserShoes” who is targeting Aberfeldy half ironman – after he has had his swimming lessons.  And got a bike.

The aim is to get training fit in January and to get Iron ready fit in February.  By then I may be bored with full time training.  If you are feeling a bit of a chubby after Christmas feel free to join the pain, share in the comments.  Please amuse me, I have time on my hands.

Back to the point of the blog.  Today I swam 1600m (thats a mile!), did a spin class and a body pump class.  I am hurting already.


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4 Responses to “A fresh chapter”

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Hi Mate!

Thanks for the update. Glad to see you’re still out there! Will be in London for the Tri World Champs in September. Any chance you’ll be there??

Gery Gerald Auman, VMD Chester County Equine Associates Kennett Square Veterinary Hospital 619 North Mill Road Kennett Square, PA 19348-1611 Telephone: 610.444.4460 (CCEA) Telephone: 610.444.6141 (KSVH) Facsimile: 610.444.6141



Hey Gery. Haven’t planned that far ahead yet. I’m not even sure what I am doing tomorrow! I’ll keep you posted.


Dougie, Happy New Year. Could well be joining you at the gym for the unemployed if corporate Coke have their way. Been missing the updates, you and the wee Bolton Boy inspired me to the Aberfeldy Half last year and I’ve now signed up for Challenge Barcelona next October. If your looking for a couple of long rides or a swim partner give me a shout, I may have a load of time on my hands come March!

All the best


Sent from my iPad


Hah I actually felt a little bit sick just reading that! Did make me chuckle though. Swimming lessons will defo be the order of the day for “trousershoes” it may be prudent for you to take some first aid courses – just in case! Hope your doing well and had a great Christmas and New Year!


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