Hello Speed, pleased to meet you.

It’s been a hectic few weeks as I’ve pretty much spent every waking hour when not at work finishing off my second book. It seems to have taken over my and my families lives for the past month or two. I’m pleased to report that the initial draft is done and ready to be edited. Phew. It’s longer than the first book, maybe a little darker in places, hopefully still lighthearted though – after all it’s about me and I don’t really take myself that seriously. I’ll be intrigued to read Em’s chapter as I’ve not seen it, it could be very interesting to read what she has to say about being an ‘Ironwidow’, so I was nice to her last weekend and let her have a lie in, might have been a case of ‘too little too late’. Guess I’ll find out like the rest of you in January.

So my training has suffered a bit really, I’ve been ticking over more than striving forward but that doesn’t mean I’ve been a lazy sod, unless of course you count the bike. I’ve not been on the bike for weeks, it’s too time consuming. I have however made significant gains in the other two tri disciplines.

First of all my swimming seems to have just come out of nowhere, everything just seems to have fallen into place. Granted I’m still no fish but I’m less of a toad and more of a newt these days. We did a time trial in the pool the other week seeing how far we could swim in eight minutes. I’d didn’t destroy myself completely but did try to go at race pace. I managed 16.5 lengths of the pool or just over 400m. Now take that in context of my previous performances, I have never swam under ten minutes for 400m yet I’d just swam it in under 8 minutes. I can’t tell you how pleased I am about that.

My running is also getting better, which I think is a direct consequence of losing some lard. Obviously the lighter you are the less you have to move from A to B. It’s the ‘free speed concept’. I’ve been doing a few time trial speed runs, basically just running home as fast as I can from work, a distance of just over 2 miles. I’ve managed to run back to back miles of 6.43 and 6.07, that second one is the fastest mile I’ve run as an adult. Again I was really pleased with that, and subsequently I’m now running at sub 8 minutes for most runs unless I consciously slow down and run’easy’.

On campus I have a lunchtime run that takes in two laps giving me approximately 2.6 miles. Back on July 31st when I ran again for the first time since the Outlaw and gave it my all I finished in 22.17. I set a short-term goal that day of getting round in under 20 minutes by the time I turn 40 in November. It seemed a reasonable goal to aim for. Well on the 31st August I achieved that goal by running 19.39. Granted I was knackered but I’d done it. So the goal post have been shifted and a sub 19 is now the goal, by the end of the year I want a sub 18 minutes.
With a new-found enthusiasm for ‘short stuff’ I decided to run at the Newbury 5km Park Run on Greenham Common. I was in that part of the world as a guest at a triathlon. I left Lancaster at 3.30am in the morning to get there, it felt weird getting up at that time for a 5k, after all I’m usually racing 140.6 miles if I’m up at that time. However there was the small matter of a 240 mile drive to get to the start line.

Contemplating a running race

Contemplating a running race – “left foot, right foot and repeat. I think that’s what you do, ahh sod it I’ll just follow everyone else”

I arrived bleary eyed but ready. It was a great event and I was happy to finish in 23.18 in my first running race for thirty months, the previous one had been the London Marathon. As I warmed up I tried to remember what to do, after all I usually have a swim and a bike as a warm up before I have to think about running. This was actually the first 5km race I’d done in 7 years, and the last one I’d actually won my age group in Florida. I had a great day, caught up with friends old and new and just loved the heart in your mouth feeling of running as hard as you can until you want to puke. It was such a change from Ironman.

Look I remembered how to run

Look I remembered how to run

So I’m hoping to put all of this new-found speed to the test this coming Sunday when I race in the Fleetwood Sprint Triathlon. I’m hoping to be a little quicker than I was last year when I recorded a time of 1:13:24. I would love to go under 70 minutes for the first time but we’ll just have to see how things go.

Mind you it will seem weird as my only other triathlons this year have both lasted longer than 14 hours….hmmmmm


18 responses to “Hello Speed, pleased to meet you.

  1. I am so excited for you! Even with all you have going on, and I’m sure lack of sleep, your training is still going phenomenally! To see such gains in the run and the swim is really rewarding. Keep it up!!

  2. Well done with the speed!

  3. keep up the good work holgs glad your speed is picking up might just nip to the bookies and see if i can put a tenner on you getting to kona in the near future.Looking forward to fleetwood itll be my 1st tri and ill be wearing i bright pink http://www.isabellarosefoundation.co.uk T-shirt so feel free to shout some abuse/encouragement if you see me before your wave sets off

    • Good luck for Sunday, have a great race. Don’t think the forecast is going to be too kind to us. I’ll look out for a bright pink t-shirt then. Likewise if you see me in either the usual pirate top or a white COLT tri top. I’m such a girl, haven’t decided what to wear yet.
      Kona remains a dream, but you have to dream big πŸ™‚

  4. Good luck on your race. It looks like all the stars are aligning.

  5. It’s a good feeling when the speed picks up, maintaining it is the killer….


  6. Hi Andy,
    I just wanted to say, that I loved your book and it inspired me to start running in races (I don’t like cycling too much so no triathlon for me) running my first half marathon next month and I’m planning to start my own blog about becoming a marathon runner.
    Looking forward to your next book.

    • Hi Slowgirl,

      Glad that you enjoyed the book and cool that it inspired you to start racing. Good luck with the half marathon, a really fun distance to run. I should do more of them.
      Have fun with the training and the blogging.


  7. Hey Holgs (if I may as I feel like I know you after reading your book, not in a stalker way of course)

    Anyway, just wanted to say your book has given me confidence in my Ironman journey that I’ll be OK even if I’ve got a knee injury stopping me from riding and running. Good luck on your next book!


    • Hi Glenn,

      ha ha you can call me Holgs, nice that you feel like you know me after reading the book. Basically what you read is what you get πŸ˜‰
      Good luck with your own ironman journey, hope the training goes well and you achieve everything you set out to do.


  8. Hi Andy

    I’m currently enjoying your book, and will get your next one when it’s out. I’m just starting out on my own IM journey and loving the newly rediscovered energy that’s come from it. It helps to read how a regular bloke got stuck in to make something become reality because that’s my own position.

    Unlike the writers of many books I haven’t god a childhood sporting pedigree to fall back on (my best achievement was winning the “Person who most looks like his Dad” award at my local rugby clubs Colts dinner one year) so hearing about your exploits is great stuff.

    Hope you get a chance to have a look at my own blog http://www.wannabeironman.com!



    • Hi Dave,

      Glad that you are enjoying the book. Good luck with the Ironman training and the blogging, I’ll check it out when I get a spare minute.
      If it helps at all I’m the spitting image of my Dad.


  9. Hi Holgs, I read your book last month when I decided to enter for a sprint triathlon in May 2013. The truth is when I registered I haven’t learnt to cycle yet, I can barely run for the bus and I like to swim leisurely. But reading your book has made me feel that the impossible is actually possible if I set myself to it and take it one step, spin and stroke at a time.

    So far I’ve been practising my cycling on those Boris bikes in London (still haven’t found a bike in my price range yet) and my running and swimming have seen improvements.

    I’m the world’s biggest moaner and unbeliever, threatened to give up every other 4 days. But I keep reading a few chapters here and there from your book and it has given me some support to not give in.

    Thanks for writing a book about your experiences and for its’ encouraging effect it has on myself. I look forward to your new book in 2013.

    • Hi Katrina,

      Well done on entering a sprint triathlon. They are great fun. I love sprints.
      Ha ha sounds like you have more experience than me when I started. Keep at it over winter, we all have dark days when we want to quit, it’s more common than you’d imagine. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve thrown the bike in the garage in disgust, or got out of the pool in a mood because I was making less progress than a stone BUT the good days far outweigh the bad, and just keep visualising how sweet it will feel when you cross that finishing line next may to become a triathlete πŸ™‚
      Just keep making small improvements and come next May you’ll smash it.
      If you have any questions along the way get in touch.
      All the best,

  10. Ah speed, the holy grail of ironman training for first timers. Been hitting the intervals in a vain attempt to get faster, no luck yet. http://www.fatdanironman.com

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