Official Athlete Accreditation, Tom; 4 wks remaining

The week of the 17th of June was a busy one:

• Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday involved me going to work, 1 and a half hours of commuting each way. Getting home in the evening and making tea, and then packing boxes ready for a house move.

• Thursday involved an early morning commute on the train to Kettering for a Brain Injury conference – then getting home, having tea and packing boxes before an hour drive to Lincoln.

• Friday involved me moving boxes from both Lincoln and Nottingham to our new house that we’ve bought in Leeds.

• Saturday involved building furniture, moving boxes up 3 floors and registering my participation at YorkshireMan Triathlon up in Ripon.

• Sunday involved a 5am start, travelling back up to Ripon and then a 1.9km swim in a dirty river, a 90km hilly bike ride and then finally a half marathon run.

A busy week with no rest and plenty of stress. But a week where I finished a half distance triathlon. My biggest triathlon yet, one that [except the branding and price tag] is an half IronMan – something people often train for years to complete alone.

I certainly didn’t feel my freshest as I hopped into the murky river water, which given the last few days is understandable, but after sprinting across that finish line I’m the proudest I’ve been yet for mine and Massey’s accomplishment. We made the ridiculous decision a month back to enter this race because of the sheer size of it, it would be the event closest to the actual IronMan distance in July and a real test for how far we’ve come. It was a decent price for a triathlon (a very expensive sport may I add) and relatively local. And I’m pleased to say it’s filled us with confidence.

Without the 5am starts and late evenings of training we’d have never managed to accomplish what we have on this Sunday. Without the constant moaning to my other half, the travelling support from her and my family and the motivation from my fellow IronMan trainee and partner-in-crime We’d have never been able to complete what we now have. We’ve swam, ran and cycled together. We’ve supported each other through house moves, broken bones, tough hill climbs and aching arses. We’ve even lubed each other up and slid each other into our wetsuits (much to my grandads dissatisfaction). And now here we stand, half distance triathlon medal holders.

6 months ago I didn’t own a road bike, I hadn’t really cycled on the roads at all nor did I enjoy it. I ran (more of plodded) occasionally around a lake on my lunch at work and although being a comfortable swimmer, I’d only swam on holiday. I’d have rather shit in my hands and clapped than even thought about combining the 3 disciplines together. How far we’ve come.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still work that needs to be done. In fact, the actual IronMan distance is double what we did on Sunday, but we’ve already put 80% of the training in. I’ve planned to run an 18 miler, a 20 miler and maybe a 24 miler before the big race in Hamburg. I’ll do a few more cycles with one being a 100 miler and I’ll swim the 2.4 mile distance twice more in a lake or river. But these are all distances I’ve done before, that I can control and I can manage. The biggest difficulty now is the fact that the sun is finally coming and rather than training I want to be boozing, but after this weekends ale trail there’ll be no more of that for a month (I admit I have been saying this since January so don’t hold your breath). I do also need to work on the faces I pull for the camera during the races, I seem to look like a squirrel that’s had its anus probed.

We’ll continue to keep you up-to-date before the big day, we’ll be training hard and having a final push to raise money for charity too. And that reminds me to remind you, remember all of this sacrifice, this pain and this exhaustion is to raise money for Movember charity. If you haven’t already please do donate, it doesn’t matter how much or how little, it all counts!

And for those asking, or who haven’t read the previous blog, Marc did pick his first win up of the series. We both managed to complete the half-distance in under 7 hours, an incredible achievement as it is, but Mr Massey finished in an incredible total time of 6 hours 10 minutes and myself in a gentleman’s m 6 hours 49 minutes. That makes the score 3-1 to me, and don’t get me wrong, it kills me to say that, but to me the fact we completed this latest triathlon against all the problems and doubt we’ve faced overshadows any friendly competition that we have between us.

IronMan Hamburg – we’re coming for you.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg – our link for your donations!

And another huge thank you to our corporate sponsors who have donated to our cause and provided products that’s ensured we can succeed. Thank you Reynolds Associates, Minster Law, Premex Group and Mobile Doctors.

On the home run to Hamburg; Marc, 5 weeks out..

As I eat what feels like my 100th carb based meal in the last 72 hours, I’ve had time to reflect on what both Tom and I have achieved since we set out on the road to Hamburg.

Sunday was the penultimate triathlon in our race calendar, to be topped off by the bad boy itself on 28th July. And maybe just saying “triathlon” undersells the Yorkshireman Triathlon we competed in. The full distance event is the same distance as a full Ironman – 2.4 mile swim; 112 mile cycle; 26 mile run. To test ourselves we signed up for the “half” to gauge our level of training. As simple as halving all of the distances across the disciplines.

The Half Yorkshireman is the exact same as an Ironman 70.3, you just don’t get the credit or kudos as if you’d have competed in the branded event. But it’s just as hard and most definitely an almighty achievement for anyone to do one.

When we signed up for Hamburg last year, most people we told were quick to tell us we needed to train for a later event, “why don’t you do one in 2020? It’ll give you more time to train”. And we’ve had our fair share of awkward silences when we’ve told many an experienced athlete about the challenge we’d set our sights on.

I have to say the most memorable comment was at our first foray into open water swimming less than two months ago. As I turned up stinking of booze and drinking a red bull to ease the “flu”, I reckon we couldn’t have looked anything farther from Triathletes if we’d tried. When asked what we were training for and giving them the old “Ironman Hamburg in July” response, the chap from Wakefield Tri Club asked “oh so do you do half’s now then?…” – looking back, I don’t even think I responded. Maybe just laughed. Or the internal monologue answered for me in my head. Who knows.

But now, that response is a firm yes. Yes we do.

We are your average Joes if you have ever seen one. We eat crap. We drink pints. We haven’t followed a strict training regime to the minute and hour. But what we have done over the last 6 months is lived and breathed everything triathlon with Hamburg in our sights. I’m sick of talking about energy gels and bum butters. We’ve both had some ups and downs in 2019 so far, but we’ve trained every hour we possibly can in our busy lives.

We’ve squeezed in the long rides at 6am on a Saturday morning in the wind and rain.

We’ve dragged our arses out of bed on a Sunday morning to jump into a murky lake, our 3 balls retreating into the depths of our body for warmth.

We’ve got ourselves out in all weathers to fit in our 5k and 4 mile runs on our lunch breaks when we have an hour to spare!

We’ve laughed. We’ve fallen off bikes. We’ve broken bones. We’ve squeezed each other into figure hugging Lycra. We’ve probably cried at some point too.

I couldn’t have asked for a better training partner to share all that with.

We are average swimmers. We are average cyclists. We are average runners. But all in all, we are pretty damn good at this triathlon lark. But we have grafted to get there. If you’d have asked me 6 months ago if I thought we’d have a “half” distance under our belt at this point, I’d have shook my head. We not only finished it, we both had cracking times to boot. Mind over matter every single time. People train for years to achieve those medals.

Now we’ve got our own.

And we deserve it.

We’ve just got one more to collect come 28th July.

Me and Tom are fundraising for Movember, a charity addressing some of the biggest health concerns that men face; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention. By competing in Ironman we aim to raise awareness for the Movember and have pledged a target of £5000.

Check out our JustGiving page below👇🏻

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg

Hometown Glory; Tom and Marc, tick tock..

7 weeks; 49 days; 1,176 hours.. whichever way you look at it, the countdown is on to Hamburg!

It seems only the other day that myself and Marc completed the Wetherby Triathlon, yet just like Mamma Mia, here we go again…

Tom, sleeping beauty: It’s a moderately warm Sunday morning. I’ve had a solid 5 and a half hours sleep. I’ve had a cracking couple of days in London where I walked in excess of 30,000 steps per day, ate my body weight in an array of wonderful foods and drank far too many bevy’s. For those who have seen Love Island, the word ‘Bev’ will only refer to an alcoholic drink rather than a good-looking bloke… sorry Lucie but no Primark deal here. I feel bloated, heavy and lack the motivation to chuck myself in the lake.

Once again I spared a thought for our travelling away fans; my wonderful mother travelling from Lincoln and having being awake since 4am, and my other half who looked that morning like she wanted to drown me in the lake I was soon to jump into.

 Marc, wake up call: After a positive training week clocking up the miles in the pool, on the Watt Bike and on the roads, I was chomping at the bit ready for Leeds, especially as it’s our adopted Hometown! On top of that, I wanted to do Tom over after the Wetherby defeat.

Despite my training, I had a busy weekend to squeeze in before the race even began. A couple of friends recently tied the knot so it was a dash up north to the Boro for the reception and back in the same night after promising Tom and his better half a place to crash before the race. To maintain my clean eating race preparation I limited my alcohol intake to one pint of Blonde Ale and 8 slices of margarita pizza and chips. With pick and mix for afters.

As I pulled onto my driveway at 12:30am as Tom and Jess were fast asleep, I silently mouthed “Fuck My Life”.

As I laid awake at 2am, I contemplated whether the can of Red Bull was a good idea on the drive home. It wasn’t.

The sounds of birds chirping at 4:30am ensured I was up and about before my alarm even went off. A trusty coffee and meagre portion of porridge went down the hatch as I zipped up the Tri-suit.

Let’s do it.

Tom, in the drink: I’ve signed in and prepared my transition zone as best as I can. I’ve used the stinking portaloo to lose as much weight as possible before the race and I’ve even polished off some overcooked and very dry porridge. I’m race ready for my start at 7am so I take a steady plod down to the lake, keen to get going. My aim today is purely to get round the course and pee at some point in the lake. I wasn’t giving up on mine and Massey’s competition, but I know he’d trained hard this week, despite his ridiculously late night prior to the race.

Finally it’s too late to think and I’m in Roundhay Lake. 49 other swimmers around me begin to kick viciously and thrash wildly in an effort to propel forward and slaughter anyone in their way. I let the better swimmers swim off and find my tempo in the middle of the pack. No world records today, just simply try not to drown. About a quarter of the way in I realise I need to pee, badly. It’s something you should do once you’re in the lake to warm you up and make sure you don’t need to later on in the race but unfortunately it’s something I’ve struggled to do. I continue to swim with my mind focused on my bladder, trying hard to push what needs to be pushed but it’s just not happening. Not yet anyway. 1000m later I try again, this time breaking my front crawl into a steady breaststroke which I thought would give me more mental strength to pee. Despite my change of movement I still couldn’t get the river flowing, not even a steady steam, and I was tensing that hard I was beginning to get cramp in my foot. Finally after 1500m of swimming and 2 more attempts at peeing I gave up, looks like I’d be carrying a full bladder for the rest of the race…AGAIN

Marc, the swim: Fortunately I racked my bike up on the Saturday afternoon before my trip up north, so I didn’t have to mess around pre-race. After a quick fiddle with the brakes on my bike, I squeezed into the wetsuit. After dropping a few lbs, it’s getting easier to get into the seal suit. That or I’ve stretched it.. who knows!

As we were placed in age categories, Tom’s wave started at 7, and my own at 7:05. As we headed to the lake the butterflies kicked in and I tried to think about all the tips we’d learnt and open water training we’d done over the last couple of months. I stayed back and headed towards the side of the wave. I was more than ready. As the klaxon went and the other swimmers rushed ahead, I gave it two seconds and set off into the maelstrom. As I got into my own rhythm without kicks to the face and yanks to my feet, I was on my way as I overtook a good dozen of other swimmers.

My confidence was short lived as the front swimmers in the Green wave which was 5 minutes behind my own caught me up at around 800m, pissing all over my dry porridge! Worse still, swimmers from the Red wave shot past me in the last 200m as we neared the lake exit. What did these buggers eat for breakfast?!

I was out and into the long transition before the bike, giving our supporters a wave as I moved onto the next leg.

Tom, easy rider: I was not prepared for the length of the transition periods at all. You had to virtually run a 10k with your bike before you could mount it. But finally I was on my bike and underway, keen to put as much distance between me and Marc as possible. The race consisted of 2 laps, so I’d spotted him 3 times around the course before my cycle was over. I thought that if he overtook me during this it was over, so I left it out on the course, pushing hard and getting round in 1 hour 27.

Marc, bike to basics: After a strong performance in the bike leg in Wetherby, I was quietly confident that I’d make up the 5 minute wave difference between Tom and I, as well as any distance he’d put between us in the water. As I pulled out of the mammoth transition I felt the tiredness in my legs and struggled to get into gear. Over training and no sleep were having their effect as I wolfed down Trek Bars and SIS gels to give me a boost. After spotting Tom during the course on the hairpins, I knew he was going balls out and putting more distance between us. My game plan was out of the window as I stepped up the effort too late into the cycle leg, glory in Leeds was slipping out of reach..

Tom, the running man: After another giant transition, I set off into the first mile which was all uphill out of Roundhay – just what the legs didn’t need. But all that was left was a 10k into the city, through the outskirts of Leeds before finally swinging into the centre that was full of support, motivating you every step of the way. The most annoying thing about this support was that there was literally no chance you could piss yourself without someone, or even worse the television cameras, catching you. I’ve come here for a triathlon, not a public humiliation. Each plod requires me to tighten my bladder more.

All I can do is keep running faster and faster knowing there was a medal, and more importantly a portaloo, at the end. I finished my 10k in 49 minutes and had no idea if I’d beat my IronMan partner or not. I’ll let him tell you all the result, not to rub it in or anything.

Marc, the runner up: As I began the final leg into the uphill run, I threw a wave at Jess and almost asked how far ahead Tom was. I refrained. I’m glad I did as I wanted to run the 10k without any pressure of trying to catch him up and burning out.

The temperature was rising, and the sun had made an appearance. My legs felt heavy and all I could think about was a cold beer. I wanted to cash out.

As I made it into the City centre, cries of “Go on Marc!!” filled the air as members and supporters from Wakefield Triathlon Club shouted out. Nothing can describe the buzz you feel when in your moments of need you hear those cheers. Pure elation. A couple of high fives later, I found some more in the tank and stepped on the gas to the finish line.

After a strong run in Wetherby, I clocked up a PB for my 10k distance at 51 minutes as I took to the streets of Leeds. Every cloud and all that jazz.

Tom had a great race and deserved the third win without a doubt. We go again next weekend as we take on the Half Ironman distance Yorkshireman in and around Ripon.

1.9km swim. 90km cycle. 21.1km run.

And remember, the days that break you, are the days that make you.

Now pass me the beer!

Me and Tom are fundraising for Movember, a charity addressing some of the biggest health concerns that men face; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention. By competing in Ironman we aim to raise awareness for the Movember and have pledged a target of £5000.

Check out our JustGiving page below👇🏻

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg

The Wetherby Whales; Tom & Marc, 2 months and counting…

So it’s exactly 2 months to go before the big day in Hamburg and we’ve just finished what the common triathlete would call a standard distance race. For us it felt far longer than standard. A windy struggle on an early Monday morning reminding us of the reasons to train hard.

The Budget Brownlee’s bringing you the step by step action from the Wetherby Triathlon…

Tom: My alarm goes off at the beautiful time of 4:30am. I’m out of bed and changing into my tri-suit and trying to freshen up as quietly as possible ready to leave for 5am. I can hear one of our fans and today’s taxi, my mother, pottering around the house downstairs. My other half throws a scowling look at me, clearly thrilled to be awake at this time on a bank holiday Monday. I don’t blame her though, she’s volunteering to get up at this time to support, I’m forced to be up…

Marc: I knew it was going to be an early start so naturally I prepared myself for an early night. Unfortunately the Radio 1 Big Weekender was up in the Boro, and my brother had got me tickets. I’d planned to stay off the booze and eat reasonably healthy to be in peak condition for the triathlon. As I washed the halloumi fries down with an icy old Dark Fruits whilst watching Khalid, the triathlon hadn’t even entered my thoughts. Luckily I was back in Leeds for 10pm, kit and bike all prepped by 11pm, and in bed looking at the ceiling by midnight. Those 5 hours of broken sleep were glorious.

My planned breakfast of a toasted bagel and smashed avocado turned into a can of Red Bull and a Trek bar at 6:20am after losing track of time trying to squeeze into my Tri-suit! I knew today was going to be a good day…

Tom: Half 6 in the morning and I’ve met Massey and we’re registered, trying to work out where we stick our numbered stickers. I’ve got too many stickers to go about and I’m unsure where to put them, I’ll just resort to sticking them anywhere sod it. One on my helmet, one on my bike, two on my left foot, four on my bottle, one on some blokes dog… and if the stickers weren’t enough, some lass scribbles 315 in marker pen on my arm. I crack a joke about feeling like prisoner 24601 out of Les Miserables but it was either too early or I’m just not very funny because she barely grunted and moved onto the next person.

Marc: To help settle my nerves, I’d followed the Red Bull with a Starbucks coffee on route to meet Tom. Caffeine overload resulted in my jittering fingers fumbling to squeeze myself in the wetsuit. Despite a little weight loss, I still resemble a used condom filled with ice cream! 15 minutes later, and covered in Vaseline, I’m in. As I scoff Soreen and butter, I’m ready. Bring on the cold water!

Tom: 8am, I’m in the middle of river, the klaxon has just gone off and there’s just limbs flying everywhere. I’ve took an elbow to the face, someone’s groped my left thigh and I’m sure my toe got tickled at some point. It’s carnage and all you can do is swim out of it and keep going. 1500m to go, that’s it. And at the back of me head is the fact I’m dying for a wee but for some unknown reason and despite all the advice I’ve received I just can’t let it flow.

Marc: Whilst the water wasn’t as cold as Pugneys lake two weeks back in our open water session, my remaining testicle is safely hidden inside my abdomen not to be seen for the next half hour!

After we’d attended the triathlon training camp a week ago, I really thought I’d absorbed some tips when it came to the open water swim… “To avoid the mad panic at the beginning of a race, stay towards the back and sides of the melee as the klaxon goes and swim at your own pace to be comfortable”. All of that sound advice was obliterated from memory as I somehow gravitated to the front of the pack just as the sound went on the start. Within 5 seconds my goggles had been ripped off by a flailing hand, and I’m sure I had a date lined up after another hand copped a good feel of the marble! Out of breath, gobfulls of murky water and I watched as hundreds of swimmers breezed past me.

1500m to go and counting.. it took a good 10 minutes to get into my rhythm and I spent the next 20 odd minutes thinking I was actually the last person in the river!

Tom: 31 minutes later and I’ve clambered out of the river and took my wetsuit off whilst running in the least “Hoff” style way possible. I’m on bike and away in under 2 minutes knowing I’m slightly ahead of Massey but fully aware of how much better he is on the ride. My lead only lasted about 15 minutes when just as I was getting relaxed and sipping some water whilst admiring the views someone screams SHAGGERRRR as they whistle past me. I panic, let out a squeak and narrowly avoid ending in the ditch. Unfortunately it didn’t make me pee, but I desperately needed too. In fact my focus was not keeping up with Massey (he was going to quick) but instead I was trying to piss myself. That’s right, I wanted to cycle and pee, without hopping off. But no matter how hard I tried, I got stage fright and it just wouldn’t release. I got that desperate I even lifted my shorts a little to give some air down there and a gap to pee through like some glorified she-pee. Despite my efforts my bladder remained full over the 25 mile cycle.

Marc: As I climbed out of the river and headed into transition, I already knew Tom was ahead. Big thanks to his mum on shouting “he’s already out and in front”, just to kick me whilst I was down.

After a sloppy change into my cycle gear I was out on the bike, finally. 5 or 6 miles into the 25 mile distance I spotted my marker up ahead. I wasn’t sure if it was Tom or not as there were a few other finely tuned athletes all rocking the HUUB Tri-suits. As soon as I seen those pathetic chicken legs attached to white cycling cleats, I knew it was him.

In the words of the Tractor Boy Racer from Soccer AM fame, “I had his fuckinnnnnnn pants darnnnnnnn” as I flew past him whilst howling SHAGGGGGGGER! I chuckled for a good 3 minutes after hearing him shriek and nearly fall off his bike into a grassy verge.

Karmas a bitch, and I knew I’d regret my actions in due course. Whilst I’m not the best cyclist, I maintained a steady 18mph pace despite the wind and got back into the second transition well ahead of Tom and Mark. I was in good spirits for now.

Tom: Within 47 seconds I’d dismounted my bike, changed into my running shoes and began the 10k with a full bladder shaking up and down. I thought if I can just let it go now, my tri-suit would soak it up and I wouldn’t look like I’d clearly peed myself in the photos at the end. I ran hard and tried to pee harder but the tap was jammed shut. 3 miles in however my focus changed, I’d be hammering out quick miles and finally had Mr Massey back in my sights, albeit on the horizon and I did everything I could to knock it up a gear and catch him.

Marc: Running shoes on. Bladder now empty. I was on the last leg. I knew deep down this is where Tom would catch me up. The cold wind on the bike leg had made my recently healed broken bone ache as I made my way into the 10km distance. My confidence was waining..

I got into a steady pace, looking to run at least a sub 9 minute mile to keep the distance between me and Tom to the finish. As I reached the hairpin 5km marker and headed back, 40 seconds later I seen him. The quick little shit had caught me up and was fast on my heels.

I put a little more gas on it and pushed on into the final 3 miles, knowing he was right behind me…

Tom: 1 mile left to go, Marc knows I’m behind him, breathing down his neck, but he’s travelling at some decent speed and I’m struggling to gain any more distance. Finally and on the home straight, with only a couple of hundred meters to go I knock myself into 6th gear and break into a sprint. I’ve given it my everything and small amount of remorse crept into my mind as I squeaked past him, but thinking of the SHAGGERR he screamed earlier made me remember he deserved this and I pipped him to the post by 4 seconds. A second victory in the bag and I could tell this hurt. It hurt me more though and my bladder genuinely felt like it was going to burst.

A special thanks to our travelling away fans, my mother and Jess, my better half. Your cheering kept us going and the photos have given us something to post on Insta every day for the next 3 years.

Marc: I’d resisted for the last 2 miles, but I turned around at a junction and spotted his fat head. He was a mere 50m behind me at best. I had nothing left in the tank as I carried on.

As we closed in on the last 400m I heard an excited squeal from behind as he gained ground on some steps we had to run down. I knew I was doomed.

As Tom’s mum cheered me on as I reached the last 200m, she warned me that he was right behind me.. Tell me something I don’t know. I reached the final stretch and I could hear him just behind me as he went full Usain Bolt and darted past me in a blur of colour over the finish line a mere 4 seconds ahead of me. My cries of “PRICKKKKKKK” drew a chorus of laughs from the spectators and photographer who captured our run in, similar in fashion to that of Rocky and Apollo as they raced on the beach ahead of the Clubber Lang re-match!

Told you karma was a bitch!

Whilst it was another loss, I’m working towards destroying him at Leeds Triathlon in two weeks. I need to.

But whilst I didn’t come first, it was a fantastic event to partake in. Even on a bank holiday Monday, taking us that one step closer to Hamburg in July.

And remember, The Wetherby Whales are fundraising for Movember, a charity addressing some of the biggest health concerns that men face; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention.

By competing in Ironman we aim to raise awareness for the Movember and have pledged a target of £5000.

Check out our JustGiving page below👇🏻

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg

Triathlons, Thongs and Tribulations; Marc, wk.16

Current weight: 15st 11lb

Triathlons completed: 1

Wetsuits squeezed into: 1 with 2 assists

Miles ran: Lots and lots!

So it’s been two weeks since my last blog and Tom has took the reigns telling you all about our first triathlon in Lincoln. And whilst Tom did come in 40 seconds ahead of me, let’s not forget I broke my foot a mere 4 months ago. But I’m over it.

Since my last blog I feel both me and Tom have really turned a corner when it comes to our training. After weighing in at an eye watering 17st 3lb a few months ago, I’ve finally shifted a little timber so I’m under 16st – FINALLY!

And this is all down to being able to get back running after the broken foot, squeezing in the Runch runs with Tom and the guys at work over lunch. It’s great to be back, and feeling my mood improve has given me a great boost.

We’ve both upped our training regime too. As well as running I’m squeezing in pool swims and strength sessions most days. Swole is the goal, we’ve gotta look good in these skin tight outfits after all…

And we even signed up with Wakefield Triathlon Club, dipping our toes into the first open water session of our training at the nearby lake which we usually run around rather than swimming in. I mean I’ve had better Sunday mornings, usually involving a lay in followed by a late brunch. This one involved launching ourselves into freezing cold water before 9am. I have to say the beers from the night before weren’t the best idea. But why change the habit now eh?

And let’s not talk about the bloody wetsuit. Once I was in it (after being lubed up and stuffed into it with help from Tom and Shaun) I looked like melted ice cream. Definitely an incentive to lose some more weight ahead of Hamburg!

Having all of the right kit including the wetsuits is courtesy of some fantastic sponsorship from Minster Law, Reynolds Associates and Premex Group, and of course Victoria at Pennline for doing the branding!

Whilst we certainly don’t have the bodies of Triathletes, I feel we can at least pass for one. From a distance. In low lighting. And a Hefé filter.

On top of completing our first triathlon over the last few weeks, my appearance on The New Monty, thong and all, went out on ITV. It was amazing to get to meet the wonderful “Monty Army” let alone share the stage with those amazing guys. #1Love.

I’m still humbled to have had the opportunity to be on the show and share our message in raising awareness in support of testicular and prostate cancers. To receive so much love was amazing and to have messages come in from friends telling me that the show has prompted them to get themselves checked out is the sole reason I got my cock out for over a thousand strangers and the cast of TOWIE and Love Island!

And keeping on the theme of awareness, this week is Mental Health Awareness week. Our employer, Minster Law, has been doing different activities and sessions each day to support with improving and supporting the mental health of our colleagues. I even had the opportunity to facilitate a “Tea and Talk” session with some of my colleagues from across the business, and even tried yoga for the first time!

I say it every year, but awareness of mental health isn’t just a one off. It’s great to peak the focus and interest, but it needs to be long lasting and ingrained to make a difference. We need to capture the moment and continue the momentum to change the culture, and the stigma around poor mental health.

It was eye opening in the “Tea and Talk” sessions to hear about other people’s experiences of stress, anxiety and depression. From their own experience, or that of their families and friends. And what I’ve learnt this week is that you don’t know what other people are going through and the challenges they face. Whether it’s their own struggles. Or if they’re supporting a loved one through theirs. So just be nice, and listen. I’m a firm believer that just being there, listening and talking about it is getting over the first hurdle, and then it is progress from there.

To those that I’ve talked to this week, and those that have listened – thank you!

Having someone there to open up to with stories of my Dad, who took his own life when I was young, has made me realise that I need to talk about him much more than I do. Poor mental health shouldn’t be stigmatised and maybe I’ve been guilty of reinforcing that stigma by not being open and honest about how it affected my Dad, and ultimately me and my family over the years since his death. But I’m going to make that positive change going forward.

So remember, talking can save lives. Be available, and give someone those 5 minutes of your time. You don’t yet know the difference you could make.

Much love,

Marc

And remember, the Budget Brownlees are fundraising for Movember, a charity addressing some of the biggest health concerns that men face; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention. By competing in Ironman we aim to raise awareness for the Movember and have pledged a target of £5000.

Check out our JustGiving page below👇🏻

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg

It is hereby certified that having passed all of the conditions you are a Triathlete; Tom, wk 14

In case you don’t know already, we’re training for an Ironman. 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and then a marathon (26.2 miles) to run. We’ve told everybody, in fact it’s all we really talk about at the moment.

Back before we started training we were 2 guys who ate too much, drank too much and occasionally ran round a lake called Pugneys near work. Some 2 months on and now we’re 2 guys who still eat too much, still drink too much and occasionally run round Pugneys.

But there’s a subtle difference.

We’re Triathletes now. As of last Sunday.

Now I’m not sure what you have to do to technically be deemed a triathlete but I’m self-certified now that we’ve completed our very first triathlon. It was a 400m swim, 25km cycle and a 5k run to finish – in fact a baby compared to the BEAST in July – but it was the required step up in our training. We’ve been swimming, cycling and running further than that distance but never straight after each other and all in one day and the legs could certainly tell the difference.

Pre-race piccy, sporting the Huub suit courtesy of Minster Law and Reynolds Associates

We stayed in Lincoln the night before to make sure that we were at the start line on time, but it didn’t quite go as well as planned. I had a curry that Saturday night, only a Korma to prevent any ‘issues’ during the race followed by a couple of obligatory Cobras (what’s a curry without a Cobra). I then met Marc in Lincon and we looked for a few places for him to find some grub and of course had a pint in each place we searched. Unfortunately the pubs weren’t serving food this late on in the evening and more unfortunately for us they were of course serving booze. After a ‘few’ beverages as we made our way down Steep Hill we grabbed a meal (McDonalds, like true athletes) and then struggled getting back up the hill.

We woke 5 hours later, popped a couple of paracetamols, got changed into our new tri-suits and cycled the short distance to the start line. Here, our inexperience was plain as day. Transition is where you park your bike and prepare your area for when you go from swim-to-bike or bike-to-run. The idea is you set it up in a manner that makes it easy and quick for you to transition. I was number 104, Marc was 106 and our transition neighbour was number 108. Mr 108 knew what he was doing. Mr 108 was lean, determined and prepared. Mr 108 could crawl a triathlon quicker than we could complete it. What Mr 108 did not need as he tried to get his head in the game was Mr 104 and Mr 106 asking him questions every 2 minutes;

 

“do you wear socks when you cycle”

“which way do you hang your bike”

“where you putting your towel”

“how do I get out of this area”

“do you get a swimming hat”

And every other amateur FAQ that we could muster up. Without Mr 108 we’d have been lost, we owed him a great deal. I’m just not so sure we had the same positive impact on his performance though.

We managed to finally get set up and headed pool side 5 minutes before we were due to start, no time to even get nervous. Next thing I know we’re in the pool doing lengths and I’m making good progress. Swim, kick, breathe, swim, kick, breathe. 8 minutes later and I’m done, trying to pull myself out of the pool like a seal hopping out for fish in the nearby zoo. I run over to my bike and then begins the slowest, most unsmooth transition period you’ll ever see. I’ve struggled to put my socks on, my shoes certainly aren’t as tight as they should be and I’ve mounted my bike because I’m keen to get going. I head out wary of my shoes flying off holding my energy-gel in my teeth and gloves in my hands. I had this idea that a smooth transition period would include me putting my gloves on mid ride and sticking the gel in my back pocket. It wasn’t as smooth as that at all. In fact, it was that un-smooth I had to pull over about 2 meters into the cycle to put my gloves on, finally admitted defeat to the gel and stuffed it up my lycra-style shorts-leg. The ride itself went well, I was steady over the first 5k and then picked the pace up after that, averaging a modest 17mph throughout and more important keeping on the tail of Mr Massey, a budding cyclist, or certainly more of a budding cyclist than me. 

 

Looks can be deceiving, this is actually not a profession transition..

The second transition was smoother than the last, but I almost fell off as I took the final corner at too much speed and then almost failed to stop in time for the transition line. I ran alongside my bike slow enough to make sure I didn’t tangle my feet in the chain, hung it up on the rail and chucked my running shoes on. I headed out onto the run route only 2 and a bit minutes after arriving in transition and in front of Marc. I felt good, I felt moderately quick and more importantly I wasn’t feeling any of last nights Cobras. Then the shoes decided to mess me about and undo, forcing me to stop and do my shoelace for far longer than I wanted to. I set off again quick and keen to make up lost time. I even saw our friend Mr 108 go past us on his returning run and was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with an encouraging smile rather than a smack in the face.

About half way into the run the other shoelace came undone. Evidently these shoes had conspired the night before and were intent on ruining my life. I mean it couldn’t be my fault that during my transition I’d failed to tie my shoelaces up surely?! After a few plods of trying to resist the urge to tie it, I bent down to try lace them all up and at that point all the blood rushing round my body decided to go to my head. Now I’m not sure if it’s because my head is small, or maybe there was just a lot of blood, but I felt like I was rocking about on the wavy canal next to me rather than stood on dry land. I struggled to tie my lace, fighting the need to faint or letting my head pop when luckily a hero emerged. He had a small, fluffy halo above his head and 2 delicate wings. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think a Triatha-angel helped me. I noticed his high vis vest bearing the words “assistance” in what I’m sure were neon, dreamy letters. He bent down and undid the knot that I’d stupidly made, tied my lace and then encouraged me to get going. I even managed to finish with a sprint finish and a ‘bus-driver style nod of the head’ to my hero as I passed him and came across the line in a respectable total time of 1 hour 28 minutes and 40 seconds. 

A flattering sprint finish

The event itself was great, a scenic cycle and peaceful run (bar the laces angel). It was well organised, well supported and good value for money. My mum and sister made the journey to support us, getting up even earlier than we did (although I’m guessing they didn’t drink as much..) and cheering us on during the swim, bike and run. Their encouaragement made sure we carried on going and a huge thanks for coming!

 

Massey coming over the line (shortly after me)

Our first Triathlon certainly gave us some lessons to learn from and areas to improve. Come the big day in Hamburg we wont be as concerned about the time but instead just making it round. This race has also filled us with confidence too though, we’ve both trained for distances longer than this one so we felt relatively comfortable and we know that in the swim and run we should be okay. It’s too late to back out of the BEAST anyway now. Plus we’ve just signed up for Wetherby Triathlon, a slightly longer version than Lincon including open water, to put those lessons into to practice…

Winner winner chicken dinner

And remember, all of this hard work and training is to raise money for Movember, a charity for male cancers, depression and illness. If you could spare any money, no matter how little, please do on our justgiving page;

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg

All the gear and no clue; Marc, wk. 12.5

Miles cycled: 137

Kilometres swam: 6.8

Miles ran: big fat zero

So it’s been two weeks since my last ramblings. And I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, just like my boy Tom!!

First up – a big thank you to Minster Law and Reynolds Associates!

After submitting a proposal to our employer, Minster Law, to support us ahead of Hamburg, our charity committee approved an endorsement and donation of £1,000 to cover our kit in support of the Movember Foundation. We already have our wetsuits, tri-suits and cycle jerseys on order which we’ve got tailored to show their support. And also a big up to Reynolds Associates for the endorsement too on our new kit!

It won’t be too long now until me and Tom hit the open water and test the new gear out, covering all aspects of the Ironman. So watch this space..

I for one can’t wait to look like the seal out of Planet Earth as he’s dragged off the iceberg by the killer whale! Nothing urges weight loss more than ordering a XXL tri-suit when you’re deemed “Big and Broad” under the sizing. I haven’t seen that many X’s on something other than on a Burger King order and my internet browsing history!

oh yeah, the training..

After reading George Mahmood’s Operation Ironman the other week, I feel a little more reassured that my injury (Marc, wk.2) won’t hold me back too much. I’ve always thought that my running ability, pfft, would see me over the finishing line. But legs after a 112 mile cycle won’t be much use to me. So I’ve decided to throw myself into the cycling leg. As well as hitting a peak 70 miler last week, regular watt bike sessions and strength training has given me hope.

I also swam the Ironman distance last night in the pool. It felt great to get the distance under my belt before we hit the open water sessions in the next couple of weeks.

So it’s 3 months and counting to squeeze in some long cycles, swims and events to get us used to transitioning between the legs. Any suggestions on events would be appreciated as we are already eyeing up Lincoln, Leeds and Birmingham triathlons in the upcoming months.

Whilst Hamburg is looming, I’m definitely bricking it. But shit, I’m excited!!

And remember, me and Tom are fundraising for Movember, a charity addressing some of the biggest health concerns that men face; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention. By competing in Ironman we aim to raise awareness for the Movember and have pledged a target of £5000.

Check out our JustGiving page below

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg

Cycling in a sauna; Tom wk 11.

Another week complete and a couple more minor achievements under the belt.

Swimming continues to feel strong, or reasonably strong anyway. I smashed off the IronMan swim distance of 4000 meters at the weekend in a half decent time. I’d been doing some calculations in my head during the lengths and somehow thought 2.4mile was about 4.5k. I was swimming away, pool slowly emptying when the lifeguard shouted to me to say that the swim session was finished and I almost begged to stay in to finish off 500m. I hopped out and googled the distance, soon realising that 2.4 mile is actually 3862 meters. A small embarrassment avoided but there were certainly bigger to come.

I’ve also invested in some smaller, tighter swim shorts to really show off those chicken legs of mine. The main reason I’ve made the investment is because I decided to leave my swim shorts in the changing rooms last week and had to call up cringing and beg for them back. These new shorts though are something else. They feel quicker in the pool but not so quick getting on and off. As me and Marc was chatting and getting ready for a midweek plunge in the pool, something got trapped in a way very similar to when Ben Stiller got his junk stuck in his zipper in “There’s something about Mary”. Another embarrassment behind me, and with a slightly higher pitched voice, I limped down onto pool side…

1st April was also DEADLINE DAY for myself and my habit of eating anything that fell into my path whether it be crunchies, roast dinners or even small children (the latter not so often). The issue is that I enjoy cooking and the food we eat for tea and lunches may be healthy and full of veg but the snacking in between is something else. I use the excuse “carb loading” fairly loosely as I’ll scream it when I’m chomping down on Easter eggs, chocolate cake, ice cream or cereal bars. Unfortunately my better half has explained that this is not so much carb loading but instead crap loading. So the newer IronMan diet is underway and there was no better way to see off the old diet than a large curry, rice, Naan bread, chutneys and poppadoms the night before. Like an exotic version of Jesus’ last supper. Although it quickly went downhill as I visited my lovely mum on Mother’s Day and she gave me a fantastic looking (and tasting) triple chocolate cake, vanilla icing and Nutella frosting. Obviously small slices of this is some form of carb loading so I’ve excused myself to finish the cake off.

“I’ll just a slither please”

And then due to delays with the house move and the bog standard complications in the life of Tom Giles, me and the other half have moved in temporarily with the mother-in-law. This I’m sure she’s delighted about. She’s aware of my training regime and mammoth task that I’ve took on and been a saint helping with it. The mother-in-law is also very quiet, and likes the house very quiet, of which I am not and certainly neither is my half turbo-trainer half Apache gunship (I’m on about the loudest cycling training aid known to man). In order to combat the 900wattage of screeching that it delivers I’ve been placed in the conservatory, door shut, to rattle off the miles. It’s very similar to when you shut the dog in a separate room when it’s shit on the carpet or tried humping the tv stand. Except this dog has been placed in a glass furnace for 2 hours. To say I came out of there dripping is an understatement. I looked more like I’d been for another swim.

But I guess that’s what IronMans about for me and Marc. It’s about fitting in a ridiculously large challenge into our already busy lives. And don’t get me wrong it’s not been easy, but we’re committing our spare time to the open road at the weekend, the pool in the early AM and the evenings cycling in the sauna to make sure we succeed – all in aid of Movember. A charity that truly is brilliant, and if you haven’t donated yet we beg that you do, even if it’s the smallest amount.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg

I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, BICYCLE; Marc, wk.10

Metres swam: 4,000

Time on watt bike: 3hrs 30m

Miles cycled: 60 miles

Strict diet: IGNORED

So we are 10 weeks into our blog ahead of Hamburg in July, and this instalment is all about reflection. And the size of the challenge ahead.

The first thought for the day:

What have we done?!

Now don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was signing up for. And I’m sure Tom did too. But the days are going quick, and my weight ain’t going down. So we need to get serious here. This isn’t just a fun run on a Sunday afternoon before we enjoy a roast. This is big time. Now is the time to turn it up a notch. Get focused. Go big or fail.

The second thought:

What has gone well so far, and where can I improve?

Well, week 10 has probably been the biggest training week to date. And whilst the size of the challenge is still daunting, I have to call out the positives. Now I’m certainly not Aquaman, but the last few sessions in the pool have given me a boost in the swimming department. I know my form isn’t perfect, but I’ve achieved a 3km distance with a time that is comfortably within the cut off ahead of Hamburg as we up the distance to 2.4 miles. I’m looking forward to getting some open water sessions scheduled in now that the weathers looking up.

And now we get to the bike. I’ve always known this leg is where I’d have to put the most effort into when it comes to training. As a result I’ve been getting on the watt bike as many times as possible to build up the hours on a high resistance. What the watt bike can’t do is replace the hard miles in the saddle, no matter the setting you choose.

So this weekend marked the longest ride to date clocking in a whopping 60 miles through God’s Own Country. Yorkshire as it’s known to the uneducated and uncouth. The ride out was aided with fantastic weather and a new whip to try out. See the below Boardman which was a fantastic change up from my heavy Giant Defy, and will be what I ride in Hamburg all being well.

It was a solo ride owing to Tom’s standard life dramas (I’ll let him tell the tale), but I enjoyed it nonetheless considering I almost stayed in bed instead of donning the Power Ranger outfit. I’m glad I did. Over 4 hours in the saddle and getting those gains really did give me another boost.

Do I think I could clock another 52 miles on top of the distance and run a marathon?

Answering honestly right now, no. But I will. And it’s only pushed me on further to get my head in the game. I’ve got the bug.

So week 11 is going to be a big training week. And so is next week. And the week after that until me and Tom are crowned IRONMEN!

And whilst I’m feeling confident and in the zone, what better time to test out the foot with a light jog??

Watch this space..

And remember, me and Tom are fundraising for Movember, a charity addressing some of the biggest health concerns that men face; prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health and suicide prevention. By competing in Ironman we aim to raise awareness for the Movember and have pledged a target of £5000.

Check out our JustGiving page below👇🏻

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg

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Small swim hats and stupid noises, Tom wk. 8

WHAT A WEEK. 

We’ve bought a house and we’re having issues with completion date. The current house got burgled and my car got pinched. And to top it all off, my hamster died (rest in peace Beanie). But unfortunately, the show really must go on. 

Marc’s been an absolute saint, he’s taxi’ed me to the swimming pool twice this week in return for an overpriced £8.20 soya milk hazelnut cappuccino since I’m currently without a car. Now we’re getting in the habit of swimming a couple of times, with 2000 meters each time, I feel more like a fish in the water. Unfortunately, I’m more of a Beluga Whale than a Dolphin. The pool we now practice in is far more realistic too. It’s deeper than a meter so I can’t touch the floor once I’m in and you don’t spend half the time planning an overtake on somebody doing breaststroke stinking of piss. I’ve also been on the hunt for a swimming hat smaller enough to fit my pea head. The closest I’ve found has been one of those plastic bags you get your meat wrapped in at a supermarket until I discovered this tiny laundry basket in next home..


finally a hat small enough for my head, a laundry basket for mice…

My running has continued to flourish, with 10k’s now being the regular running distance and I’ve had every intention of doing another half marathon one morning but unfortunately it’s either been to windy or I’ve been hungover. 

Biking is, as we knew, our biggest problem. We’re looking at 8 hours on the bike during Ironman, at most we’ve currently managed 3. But we’ve had our fair share of (valid) excuses. Marc obviously bust his foot and I can’t be arsed. My intention for a 50 miler has been there don’t get me wrong, but each weekend I’ve been going out and 2 hours in I remember how boring and lonely solo rides can be. Plus my gears are knackered so the baby’s in for a service this week. I took the opportunity to head down to the gym this weekend and complete a warmer, drier 50k ride. I say drier, I needed a wet floor sign next to the bike because I was dripping. I’ve also invested in a turbo trainer meaning I can now cycle in the comfort of my home whist watching Mrs Browns Boys or whatever other twaddle is on tv. It doesn’t matter what I watch because I can’t hear it over the racket of this turbo trainer. It’s a sound very similar to that of if I’d trapped the cat in the front door, except it lasts for as long as you cycle. As you can imagine, the other half loves it as she tries to concentrate with the sound of a nuclear power station beginning operation. If you live within a 30 mile radius of me, you too may have possibly heard it. 

cycling certainly burns this weekends roast dinner and ales

But progress is being made, despite it being slow it’s positive. I keep saying that once life has settled back down I’ll be able to train harder and longer, and I’ll stick to that promise. But similar to the Brexit deadline, it continues to be postponed. 

We have also got the fundraising set up, and received some sponsorship already from friends and family – for this we are very grateful. This is, after all, the reason we’re putting our bodies through all of this stress. We’ve set a target to raise £5000 for the Movember campaign, and we’re currently in talks with a couple of companies to obtain their support. We ask though, could you please sponsor the both of us to help us reach this incredible target. You even get to the opportunity to leave a message with it, I’ll let you choose whether it’s encouraging or abusive. Just give the link below a clink and select an amount your happy to donate towards us. Even the smallest donation means a huge deal to the both of us. 

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/theroadtohamburg