Friday, 17 July 2009

How to turn a Triathalon into 4 events

Having suffered at the hands of a Welsh mountain last week, Mrs B decided to further prolong my agony and signed us up for a Triathlon (although I seem to have managed to add a fourth element to the event - more on that later). Since the Triathlon is not for a couple of months I thought to myself "No problem - loads of time to get over my rock burns and get my body fit enough to at least survive the ordeal". At this point Mrs B admitted that she had booked us in for a Triathlon training session on the coming Saturday. Great - Break out the banners, big celebration time...... This necessitated some serious pre-training, training to try and ensure that we did not look like complete Muppets.

I can't say that things went all that well. Although I have been doing a fair bit of cycling (sometimes even managing not to crash at high speed) I have not been swimming for almost a year or running since I left school (which wa s rather a long time ago). I was always a short distance sprint specialist - almost unbeatable at any distance under 5 metres but invariably stuffed once I had travelled much further than that. I fear that the intense effort that I put into those 5 metres burnt out my energy. It's probably why I decided to go in goal for my school football team. None of that senseless running around for me. I just stayed at the back and let the shots in. This impressive inability to not save very much soon led to a very public sacking by my team mates. I vowed never to play for the team again, which at the time did not seem to bother them. Their attitude soon changed however. Whilst I would regularly let in 9 or 10 goals a game, and my worst game saw me concede 11, in the weeks after my sacking the team managed to let in 15,16, 21 & 24 goals. Remember this was football, not rugby or cricket. A deputation arrived at my doorstep and the team asked me to play for them again. I pointed out that I had told them I would never play for them again and was sticking to my word. Even at such a tender age I was an obstinate git. To be honest, I don't think it affected things in a major way. After all, once you have let in 6 goals, the next 6 or even 18 don't tend to make that much difference.

As well as me, Mrs B has rounded up another two victims for the Triathlon. Although we have yet to hear from Diane about how she is getting on I can report the following updates from the Kirsty, Mrs B and Mr B training camps:

Kirsty(who seems to be having a range of conflicting emotions over the whole thing - the foremost being regret................)

"I've registered for the Triathlon now and set-up my just giving page, and just registered for the training day on Saturday. All I need to get now is a helmet for the cycling part and a wetsuit. I also need to do a bit of training. Mainly swimming and running.

Help, I'm scared. I have anxiety over the whole thing, I think I had a nightmare about it.- I'm particularly worried about the running bit " (Personally I would have been more worried about the cycling helmet she got. Kirsty's managed to find a helmet with all the aerodynamics of a Maclaren 2009 F1 car and not much lighter......)

"It's all your fault Mr B. Well actually thinking about it, it's Mrs B's fault. Well anyway it's the BLACK's fault".

Instead of body pump I'm going to do swimming now. Yesssssss, I have an excuse not to do body pump any more. That's one thing to thank u and Mrs B for."

Kirsty is that a hat or a nuclear
fall out shelter,for a family of four?

Mrs B - "I went for a "run" last night (well, I call it a run, it was more of a late night stroll round the development, interspersed with something that vaguely resembled a lame two-legged horse trotting..................anyone peering out of their living room window at about 10.45pm last night might have seen a woman in distress. No one came to my aide though................and my quads were shot afterwards!) Help, I'm going to really struggle. I'm a bit embarrassed that the subject line of this email refers to "Athlete info" (Athletes - us?!!)"

Mr B - "I went for a swim, well, to be honest it was more of a float. My body was still smarting from last week's biking and after 20 lengths I dragged myself out and laid, elegantly sprawled, on the side of the pool. At this point a rather vindictive Spanish lady swam up and viciously asked me if I needed any help. I know it was vindictive because I do the same when I see someone crash when they are skiing..... I guess you might call it justice."

I can only imagine what any onlookers might have made of our pitiful efforts.........

Imaginary onlooker - "I watched a deranged woman flopping around the estate with such heavy breathing that small children and family pets were left
traumatized. Police warned me not to approach her. If anyone sees her they should call the police who will send out the tortoise squad to round her up. If you find yourself in her way don't panic. You should have plenty of time to finish reading a reasonably-sized book before having to step out of her way......"

Spanish swimmer - "Hi saw hay badly beaton perrrson dumped in thee pull.
Eat look like he head bin -how you say- left forrr deed. Eat was terrrr ible, he only just managed to crawl hout. Eaf I had a gun I would haff put heem out of his miserrrry.... "

Training day including the appearance of a 4th event for our, now inaccurately, named Triathlon

How to develop the 4th event:-
1. Preparation
Put a bike rack on your car
Lock two bikes to the bike rack - to prevent them being stolen. How silly would you feel if the bikes were stolen so you could not take part in the event?

Now this part is vital to the 4th event - use Mrs B's car keys and not your own - make sure you don't take your car keys with you.

2. Implementation
Drive to the event
Get out of the car
Go to get the bikes of the rack...........

3. Now the 4th event starts
You have to figure how to get the bikes off the bike rack when you have left the only key to the bike lock (that loops elegantly around both bikes and the bike rack) on your car key ring, which is over an hour's drive away back at home......Doh!

Event 4 of 3 Mrs B and Kirsty fail to extract
the bikes from the back of the car

You can imagine how delighted the girls were, especially as my bike had gone inside the car and so was still accessible. So that was one bike between three and one wet suit between three - Since Mrs B and I were in a separate training group from Kirsty, Kirsty could at least use my bike.

Swimming training :-
Mrs B and Kirsty at least had the use of a wetsuit. I, on the other hand, had the joys of dipping into a freezing lake with just a skimpy pair of trunks to protect me from the cold. Mrs B pointed out that they are so old that they were wearing rather thin at the back - further reducing any thermal properties. I was not the only one without a wetsuit in our group and it was rather noticeably the two others who slowed considerably as the training session went on. At the end, when a mini race was organised, two of the semi-naked individuals and Mrs B trailed in last. The third one, not me, got so cold he dropped out. Pheww! Mrs B did not finish last.

Running training:-
Lots of nice, short training exercises which we could both manage. I had spotted a rather rotund individual (we'll call him Fat Boy Slim) in our group who was struggling with the warm up, so again thought we would not finish last.

After the warm-up came the training run which involved:-
4 minute fast run
2 minute recovery
3 minute fast run
3 minute recovery
2 minute fast run
4 minute recovery
30 seconds sprint
30 seconds recovery
30 seconds sprint
30 seconds recovery

Off we set - Mrs B at the back, me mid-pack and Fat Boy Slim setting a relentless pace at the front.

"Ha!" thought I. "What a fool - he'll never make it at that pace."

By the time we got to the 2 minute run Mrs B and I were both walking - possibly swaying from side to side and there might even have been some crawling. I had managed to open a half lap gap on Mrs B and concentrated on maintaining that.

Fat Boy Slim was still pounding away and lapping us both frequently, along with the rest of them. I now believe we were in a group of ringers, all of them being experienced runners or triathletes. Fortunately one of the girls in the group hurt her leg and so dropped out. Much relief all round - we were not going to finish last!

As we went around the track, the instructor would breeze up to each person and give encouragement and a few minutes of running tips. When he got to me all he managed to say was "I like your running style. I'm sure the rest will come!" I think I heard him snigger as he sprinted off. As for his advice to Mrs B, I'm not sure he actually managed to speak to her because her blistering pace made her look like a spectator and so he kept missing her......

Cycling training:-
Obviously, it could have gone better. Mrs B was sidelined through failure to accomplish my cunningly introduced 4th element in the Triathlon .i.e get her bike off the back of the car. This left me to pick up a few tips on cycling. The most useful pointer being that my expensive mountain bike was absolutely rubbish for Triathlon.....One major problem is that it has very low-set pedals so if you try and pedal while cornering you grind the pedal into the track with the result that the bike attempts to buck you off. While this is certainly entertaining for anyone watching, it does not fill the bike rider with confidence or speed. I'm putting my poor riding performance down to the after-effects of hypothermia and the appalling injuries suffered last week..... I at least got some revenge over Fat Boy Slim whose bike seemed to take on a strange shape once he got on board. The combination of his large size and his strangely-shaped bike even managed to make Kirsty's cycling helmet look positively sleek in comparison...

Transition training:-
We were told that this was the area where valuable seconds could cost you the race..... Personally I think an inability to swim, run and cycle quickly is where I am going to lose it. I could do the fastest transition in recorded history, but I am still never going to scare the leader board. I did work out a strategy to slow Mrs B and Kirsty down though. For Mrs B, all I have to do is set up a little table with a mirror and some hair styling products next to her bike station. Once out of the water she will take at least 25 mins to get past this obstacle. As for Kirsty I noticed that she got a bit upset when my trainers and bike shoes were not set out neatly at my transition station. All I have to do is make sure all the stations around Kirsty are a bit messy. She will either recoil in horror, unable to pass them, or spend half an hour organising them all. (OCD? I think so.) Now all I have to do is work out the weak point of the other 997 competitors and the race is mine, mine I tell you..... queue dramatic manic style laughter to fade "Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, cough, cough, weeze, weeze, splutter.....

The transition training did help us with one thing however...............On returning from the training Mrs B and I had only an hour to get washed, dressed and out of the house as we were heading into London to see Lily Allen perform at Somerset House. By laying out Mrs B's clothes and make up I managed to shave valuable hours off her personal best and got her out of the house in a world record time........

For the record, Lily was on good form, except for her excessive smoking on stage which kept setting off the sprinkler system.
Lily It's not smart it's not clever
- I'm really not looking forward to
your song about fighting lung cancer....

Sorry, I've just been corrected. It was not the sprinkler system - it turns out that we were outdoors and so it was, in fact, rain. Shed loads of it......A big thank you to Mark and Lisa for getting us free tickets to a sold out concert. All you need do next time is disable the outdoor sprinkler system and it will be perfect.

By Sunday morning Mrs B and I were completely wrecked but as it was my Birthday, instead of sleeping and relaxing, Mrs B had planned a full day of entertainment for us. So once again, it was up early and off to Woburn Safari Park for a bit of a Safari and then four hours of relaxation zip wiring in the trees. I'm sure you have already suffered enough for one BlackLOG so you can wait till next time to hear how that went.


  1. "Imaginary onlooker"? Hilarious. :-)

  2. Clever ruse using Mrs. B's keys so you wouldn't have the key to the bike lock... She didn't catch on? Amazing.

  3. LiLo I'm sure they were for real but as they were hiding from a flapping Mrs B I have to give them the benifit of any doubt ....

    DouglasShe knows but is far to forgiving to make me pay the full price for my mistakes....


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