Sprint Triathlon Nutrition for Boundary Breeze Tri 2014

Out towards the quaint little town of Knutsford is the Boundary water park which marked the venue of the Boundary Breeze Triathlon. Hosted by Manchester Triathlon Club, Sunday 13th July started off rather wet from the early morning rain.

My drive over was roughly 50 minutes and having prepared my bits and pieces the night before, I was all set for an early dart. This particular race fell at a nice time in the grand scheme of things, as I have been targeting the British National Standard Triathlon Championships in Liverpool this August. As this particular week was a heavy, high intensity training week, the boundary breeze has helped with my preparations for Liverpool. This meant, no carbohydrate loading, no tapering, and no easy saturday resting my legs.

The day started at 7am where I attacked a large bowl of Dorsets fruit muesli. With my wave starting at 11:10am, eating this high carb breakfast 4 hours before the race helps provide carbohydrates of two kinds; fast and slow releasing. This begins the task of filling my muscles with the required amount of glycogen for the race. I also took my regular supplements of vitamin B, C and D, folic acid, beta alanine, l-glutamine and omega 3 oil in a glass of beet-it beetroot juice (I will do the whats and whys of these supplements another time).

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A keen eye for organisation – The president of Triathlon England

I filled up my water bottle with 50g of SIS GO energy and 500ml of water and made sure I sipped it regularly on the drive over leading up to the race. Having arrived and parked up at the local village hall, I collected my race numbers (245) and timing chip, and then set my bike up before I went to equip my transition areas (there were two at this triathlon, T1 and T2). Before leaving the car park I ate half a High5 caramel energy bar at around 8:30am to kept the glycogen topped up. It did feel odd just leaving my running shoes in T2 because it gave me the sense that I had forgotten something. The walk over to T1 was about 1km and this was also next to the Boundary lake where the swim was to take place.Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 19.48.43

Nice and warm at 21 degrees.

I kept sipping my energy drink and placed my bike, helmet and sunglasses on the bike racks. At around 10:30 I downed a beet-it shot and took some more beta alanine and a caffeine tablet. Only 40 minutes to go and a few waves had set off already and it appeared as the though it was optional to wear a wetsuit as some people swam in just a trisuit. Having heard about the density of the reeds in the water I opted to go with the wetsuit and practice taking it off for the the British Champs. With 10 mins to go I necked an SIS gel (more glycogen and muscle fuel) and headed to the waters edge. I spotted plenty of Team GB age groupers and figured I could be in for a tough swim.

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Im top right of the picture

My plan was to go at 90% and just relax into it, which I did, but the reeds were exceptionally tough to fight through, and the water had kicked up the sludge from the previous waves of triathletes. Around the 3 bouys we go to complete 750m of swimming and the worst of the reeds were at the end before we ran out of the water. Instead of pulling the water, I had to grab the reeds to propel myself forward (some could call this cheating!!!).

I came out of the water in 13th place (just under 12 minutes) and my first transition went great. The wetsuit slipped off and I hit the bike in no time. I relaxed pretty quickly but soon spotted a few people to chase down and started to push myself. I held myself as best I could at about 40km/hr, but the wind and the odd rolling hills wavered my speed. I was happy that I was overtaking people and even threw out some encouragement as I passed a team mate from Tri Preston.Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 19.49.01

Wetsuit off and sprint out of T1 – I practiced folding my sunglasses in the wires of the bike in order to put them on once I was into a rhythm on the bike…it worked ok and probably shaved a second or two.

I got my feet out of my shoes in time to dismount my bike and ran over some pretty stoney road to rack the bike and get my trainers on. I finished the bike leg in little over 37 minutes The run was a simple 2 laps of an out and back dirt track on private land. Another little aim of mine to try and not get overtaken on the run, and today was the first time I managed to go without being overtaken :-). I had aimed to stay at 4min/km on the run but in fact went a touch faster overall to finish the run in 19:19.

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50 metres to go!!!

I managed 3rd in my age group, but the 2 lads above me were well oiled triathletes with plenty more laps, miles and experience in the bag than me. Nevertheless, I have 1 year until the European Sprint Triathlon Champs in Geneva where I can get in a solid winter of training before I go and put on my GB kit.

A huge thanks to Royles for the goodie bag, and also to Manchester Triathlon Club for the organisation. Thanks to Wallis cycles for cycling equipment and also a big thanks to the volunteer marshals and Triathlon England officials. Oh and don’t forget the wife for taking the pictures ūüôā



Winning a race to needing spinal surgery

A few months ago I was struggling with a bit of back pain. The only activities I could comfortably do were cycling and swimming. Running became difficult. So I rested a few weeks, headed out, and gave running a shot. It was safe to say, stick to riding and swimming for a while and see what happens.

Being the ‘competitive type’ that some people are labelled these days, I searched for an open water race close to where I live. A cute little organisation called SleekerSwim were holding a race in Lake Windermere. A small entry found its way across cyber space and then up popped my name on the ‘confirmed entrants’ list. They held two distances, a 2.3km and a 1.65km. Having only really raced and trained for 400m swims¬†predominately¬†associated with sprint triathlons, I favoured¬†the 1.65km race.

A good solid 3 weeks of following a training program was on the cards which I followed religiously. The diet however, started to take a hit as I found my appetite and hunger increased massively. The offers on Nutella at Waitrose never really help either, especially with a recovering chocoholic. My 3 days sober from chocolate did not last long and the 750g tub was polished off in 4 days. Despite this, and a few boozy evenings, one being my Wedding day, I cracked on with the pool training.

Through all this, I had a few visits to the doctor, which turned into a visit or two to the hospital and eventually a spine specialist.  I receive some contradicting pieces of advice, but continue to train as best I can anyway.

Race day arrives and I¬†didn’t¬†really have any nerves because I knew it would be the last race of the season for me. I go through the typical signing on and getting a new swim cap and getting my number drawn on my hand. Back at the car I get my wetsuit on in record time, then walk down for race brief, then get in the¬†surprising¬†warmer than expected water in Windermere Lake. I say warmer than expected, it was still cold enough to take your breath away. One guy even opted out of wearing a wetsuit, nutter!


We get about 2 minutes to¬†acclimatise¬†before the race kicks off, and oh my days, it kicked off. The pace was faster than what I had trained for, so i had to bare in mind that some of these guys were out and out swimmers. It felt like a lifetime untill we reached the first boy and I could feel myself backing off a bit and tried to pace myself through the¬†commotion¬†of everyone. I eventually reached the second boy, which i was told was the midway point for those on the 1.65km race. So I take a tun back an had to double check with the canoeist marshal who reinforced me that I was at the right turning point. The reason I had to ask was because I happened to be at the front (something I’m not that used to).


So naturally I continue, but I began thinking ‘maybe I’m¬†the only one doing the 1.65km’. Now that would be¬†embarrassing, yet to my¬†surprise¬†people were turning at the boy and chasing me down. For whatever reason, I was unable to relax throughout the race. I normally swim bilaterally which means taking a breath after every three strokes. In this race I was breathing every two strokes, but I didn’t want to stop to relax as I had people behind me, so I swam on and put some distance into the 2nd place swimmer. I finished the 1.65km in 20 minutes which some people may think is ok, but I felt I had so much more to give if I was able to relax and find a rhythm. I would like to think, with that time, that I may be able to get 2km in under 30 minutes in order to put me in a good position for some of the olympic distance triathlons¬†I’m¬†planning for next year.

However, with all this swimming, and being unable to run, and having a bad back, I found out that I need spinal surgery. I go under a week Thursday and really unsure what to think or feel ūüė¶

So, I may have to have a longer than expected off-season and a longer and harder than desired pre-season. Nevertheless, people have had worse and gone on to do more, so why not look to do a 70.3 ironman ūüôāImage