Budget Smugglers; Tom, wk 13

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The last week and a half has been steady. A constant mix of run, swim and cycle whilst eating too much (still). But the meals have been healthier, and given the amount of calories being burned more food is certainly better than less. Although it is concerning no more weight has been lost, I’d expected to be a ripped stick by now but instead I’ll be looking like a pudgy dwarf in that wetsuit.

Ive gained a couple of things since the other week that also makes it look more like I know what I’m doing. Until I bellyflop into the pool or fall off the bike at least. Having the right equipment is essential to be competitive so I’ve stepped away from a tee-shirt that blows up in the wind making me look more like an air balloon than a Brownlee brother for a budget cycling jersey that cost only a tenner! And I’ve moved away from my tacky amazon goggles for a pair of outdoor Speedos I’ve picked up from the designer outlet for £15. Ironman on a budget, and man I love a bargain.

What we’ve also gained is a considerable amount of sponsorship. Our justgiving page continues to climb steadily so please do keep sponsoring. Even fivers are massive boots and keeps us motivated to succeed! And a huge thank you to our employer Minster Law who very kindly donated £1000 towards kit in order to make sure that we succeed. As both of us are new to the sport, we had no kit previously and it would’ve stayed that way given the budget we’re on for the foreseeable period of time so now we’ll have the gear and unfortunately just no idea. In addition, Reynolds Associates, an architectural company that started in Nottingham but now has fingers in many pies across the country, has also endorsed us and allowed us to get more of the gear that we need, and promised to support us throughout our journey. In return, we’ll be sporting sponsors of both Minster Law and Reynolds Associates on our cycling jerseys, wetsuits and tri-suits. Whether we’ll look good in them is for someone else to decide…

What we’ve also gained is confidence too. I even attempted to go to a triathlon training event near myself last week but after days of psyching myself up for it I rocked up and found out it had been cancelled because of the half term holidays. A real pie in the face moment. Marc’s continuing to test his foot out on a run too with both of us hoping it plays ball and we’ve even signed up for Lincoln Triathlon this weekend (last minute decision, let’s hope it pays off). Hopefully we’ll have had our gear delivered just in time to try out but if not, we’ll be the two guys wearing jeans and a tee trying to compete…

What I’ve tried to do this weekend is get some more miles under my belt on the bike. Saturday I got up early and cycled over to a wonderful place called Sleaford (those that know Sleaford will appreciate the sarcasm), a 65 mile round trip that I competed in about 4 and a half hours. I set off well and for the first 30 miles hit an average pace of 17mph feeling pumped but unfortunately the sun rose far quicker than I can cycle and the last 20 miles were a struggle. For those that don’t know, the Ironman is a 112 mile cycle which should be competed ideally in 8 hours so I’ve got plenty of mileage to do in a far quicker time. What I do have on my side however is that Hamburg is quite flat whereas Nottinghamshire and it’s rolling fields are very not. In fact, I’m that fed up of plodding up 20% inclines at 3mph whilst being conscious of the family holidays I was ruining of those sat in the cars behind me that I decided on spending an hour and half on the bike and turbotrainer in the conservatory that I’ve previously described. Too summarise how bored I am of stupid hills I’d rather train hard in 24 degree heat in a closed off conservatory, dripping any moisture I have in my body than cycle up a damn hill. But the training must go in because that bike time is my main area of concern. If you don’t complete it in time, even though you might complete the whole course, you’re not an Ironman. And right now, I’m feeling more of a tinman.

I stop at Southwell Minster because it looks great, not because I’m dying…honest

The triathlon this weekend will be exciting and great test of how far we’ve come though especially given the fact I’ve polished off about 6 Easter eggs. It’s only a sprint format so it’s short and quick (probably won’t be for us) but it’ll be our first experience of transitioning from one sport to the other. We’ll be able to fully understand why people say it’s so hard to tie shoelaces after a swim and a cycle and we’ll be fully pledged triathlon members. What I am particularly concerned about is that Lincoln contains an awful lot of hills, one that steep it’s called steep hill, and I’m so fed up of p*****g hills.

Big egg or small head?!

So thank you for making this possible Reynolds Associates and Minster Law and please please don’t be embarrassed of this weekends efforts! It and we, can only get better!

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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

Weather I can do it or not, Tom, wk.5

Storm Erik has came and hit the UK by, well, storm I guess… It also took my motivation, it took my desire and it took my passion to go for a long ride in one big Eric-like gush. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t put up much of fight, I woke on Saturday reasonably early considering I’d had a ‘couple’ of drinks the night before for usual £9 trim at the barbers down the road – something I convinced myself was crucial in order to make me more aerodynamic whilst training. 

Today’s 5k had those strong spring feels

Following my haircut and after braving the hurricane rattling round Rothwell in order to get back into my car I made the executive decision that I would be bottling the long ride today for my own safety. Cleats are hard enough to conquer on a tranquil Saturday let alone on a day where I’m forced to fight the elements. I did however manage to leave my excuses alone for half an hour and smash a 5k run out that evening and I was fortunate that the wind was behind me most of the way.

This last week or so has not brought many developments in my training, I’ve stalled a few times and contemplated whether I should treat myself to a rest day but I’ve realised now that if you can get yourself off the sofa and down the road, no matter how far or short it is, you’ll feel much better. I’ve forced myself into my New Balances 3 times over the last week and ran a 5k averaging less than 8 minute miles – something I’m seriously considering an achievement. Please don’t remind me however of the 20 miles extra I’ll be running when the day comes.

Lost in fog – how the weeks weather has changed

And although my running I feel is slowly coming together, the biking and the swimming continues to be the mountain in the distance that I’ll soon have to overcome. Marc highlighted the issues of swimming in leisure centre lanes in his blog last week (give it a read if you haven’t already) with most people treating the pool as either some kind of hydrotherapy session or just a large urinal – so we’ve come to the conclusion swimming will soon begin in an Olympic sized pool (we’ll keep you posted with how this one goes).

And for those interested in why the UK seems to have such un-intimidating names, the 2018-2019 storm season of which started in September has 21 names in total, one for each letter (except Q,U,X,Y & Z) and that alternates between genders in an effort to humanise them. The full list of this year’s storms are below.

My personal favourite is the ever intimidating, truly daunting storm… Wyn 

Falls, Injuries and Not-So-Neat-Cleats; Tom wk.2

Week 2 has certainly come with its challenges.

Our work, Minster Law, give us the opportunity to volunteer with a nearby charity and so myself and Marc spent our Monday building fences out of old Christmas trees. Everything was running smoothly, the fence was looking fantastic and some serious calories were being burnt (fence building is no easy thing to do!) until Marc decided to turn his ankle over mid-afternoon and unfortunately broke a bone in his foot. I’m sure they’ll be more to come from him on this, so I’ll save it for him to explain further as I’m wary of treading on his toes…

Last week I purchased a new pair of swim shorts, as I’ve been clocking up the meters previously in a baby blue pair of short shorts, something more suitable for Ibiza rather than open water swimming. I’ve opted for a pair of tighter, snugger red and black shorts that were on sale in Decathalon. I was excited to use them, to see if perhaps now I swam more like a Dolphin rather than a Dog but frustratingly my excitement was somewhat short-lived as the nearby pool was closed for several days for its annual clean… Perhaps another day, for now I’ll continue to dream.

Finally, when the weekend came I decided to make the investment that would hopefully turn me from the amateur 30 mile rider to the slick and quick century cyclist. The one piece of equipment that was capable of doing this was a pair of cycling shoes and some cleats. For those that have not used cleats before, or know what they are, they are triangular shapes of sin attached to the bottom of your flimsy shoes that ‘clip’ into the pedals as you ride and allow you and the bike to become one. Unfortunately I learnt that getting ‘unclipped’ was a lot harder and me and bike remained as one for far longer than I wanted. This Sunday I had my first cycling fall. I had my second cycling fall. In fact I think I had 4 falls off my bike in total, all of which were on or around my drive. I decided after 40 minutes of getting on my bike, ‘clipping in’, trying to ‘unclip’ and then eventually falling off I decided to pack it in as a bad job. My knees were cut, my nice white top was covered in blood and dirt and my missus was crying with laughter. These cleats had humiliated me. I had my sights set on a 50miler today, unfortunately I barely made it off my drive. I then spent the next 2 hours watching YouTube videos of how to detach yourself from your own bike. I aim to try again later today. Maybe.

And for those hanging in suspense wondering how on earth I got on when I eventually was allowed in the pool, I managed to hop in and do 1000 meters front crawl in a relatively quick time. In fact, I swam probably the best I have ever swam, but I’m sure this was more because I’d eaten ‘tea’ prior to my swim rather than my new non-restrictive swimwear. I am however far warier of hopping out the pool with these bad boys on though now as I don’t want to give those swimming a fright since they are particularly ‘figure-hugging’.

Reflecting, I’d like to think I’ve got more gear but certainly no more idea than I had the week before.

We do want to thank those at Natural Balance Foods who sent an array of fantastic tasting Trek Bars over to me and Marc to help in our training for the next few months. These taste great and each packet or bar has between 10-12g of protein. If you haven’t tried these before, get some to make sure that when you’re snacking you’re snacking the right way!

The hard work starts now.. Marc, wk.1

Current weight: 16st 9lbs

Amount of calories consumed over Christmas: Trillions

Items of clothing that currently fit: N/A

So the idea of signing up for an Ironman came up last year, around the sizzling summer time. We were the care free, bronzed Gods of Pugneys Country Park, running our 5k distances over our dinner break. (Yes it’s dinner, we speak proper up North). We thought we could take on the world.

I remember when I signed up in September, casually saying things like:

  1. “I’ve got almost a year to train for it”;
  2. “Well if I’m going to do an Ironman, I might as well do a full one”; and my favourite,
  3. “I’ve ran a marathon so I’ll be fine I reckon”

Well we live and learn. So that was 3 months ago, and in typical fashion, I’ve done little training so far due to a few niggling injuries. And obviously consuming my bodyweight in Quality Street didn’t help either, but less said the better.

But it’s January now. 2019. New year, new me. So that means the journey has begun. The Road to Hamburg starts here. A journey that will be hard, but rewarding all the same. A journey we’ll document through our blogs and Insta, @theroadtohamburg, from food to saddle-sores. So follow me and Gilesy, as we set out to become an Ironman come July!

Doughnut Underestimate Us.. Tom, wk. 1

Image result for doughnut joke 6 pack

Approximately 32 minutes after tea (or dinner for those that say it wrong) and I’m hungry. I’ve treated myself to what’s meant to be a filling Thai green style cod with rice and veg but I’m already raiding the cupboards for the remanence of a Thornton’s Seasonal Selection or even contemplating finishing those unwanted strawberry’s in the tub of Quality Streets.

That’s the main issue, I’m a proper foodie. I make these special blueberry oat cookies in the morning to replace breakfast but I can’t help myself to a bowl a cereal for starters.. I have large lunches, normally some kind of leftovers if there’s any from tea the night before, about 8000 snacks to see me through the day and I’m constantly thinking about what I’m eating that evening. Even now I’ve got tonights pulled pork on my mind..

The main selling point of Ironman is the amount of carbs I’ll need to eat. Believe me, I don’t need to train to eat. But then there’s the oppurtunity of competing in this crazy event with zero experience in order to raise money and awareness for Movember motivating me to get out of bed and try burn those 9 and a half thousand calories I’ve destroyed the day before. It wont be easy, but it’ll certainly make me appreciate my food even more.

So give us a follow and join me and my fellow foodie Marc on the road to Hamburg to complete Ironman this July!