Sunday, 26 October 2008

A Week of Two Halves

It's been a week of two halves, defined unfortunately by my health. On Monday I got out for 1 1/2 hours on the bike, riding nice and steady, trying to stay below a heart rate of 145bpm. A good session. That evening I ran a nice steady 4 mile's. Tuesday I got out in the sunshine for 3 hours. I rode a route with a few climbs in it, repeated a small circuit a number of times to increase the overall climbing. It was a tough day, very windy. If you haven't ridden in the Vale of York come and give it a go. It is very flat, there are no hedges bordering any of the farmers fields, and any wind always seems like a hurricane. It's tough riding, theres no free-wheeling, and at times you can be doing 11mph (on the flat) in 39 x 19. When I first moved across from Leeds I didn't like the terrain, and found the riding tedious and boring, but now I like it. You finish every ride having turned every pedal revolution, the roads are super quiet and there are just enough rises to keep it interesting. Tuesday evening I put in 1/2 hour in the garage completing an upper body strength session.

Wednesday was a rest day, we had a great time at Robin Hoods Bay, nr Whitby. The weather was just fabulous, bright and clear. Unfortunately the marine life were keeping a low profile, all our best rock pooling efforts were in vain!!!

On Thursday I took Evie to Musical Kids, a music class that Sarah runs for little ones. Sitting in a circle singing songs with 10 mothers to their little ones was a new experience (my musical skills are very limited) Better than this though was seeing Sarah in action. She has put a huge amount of time and effort into her Musical Kid's group, and I can see why it is proving to be popular. She is great with the kids and gets really involved, each and every boy and girl there get her full attention, all the parents seem excited and pleased to be there.

I met my mate Tom for a Nando's, Coffee and a long chat about triathlon and training. Tom is also racing Ironman Lanzarote. We chatted about training principles and methods, our goals, and much more. I always feel excited and motivated after chatting with Tom, and guess when time passes so quickly the conversation must be easy and enjoyable. We were still chatting as we went back to the cars after 2 1/2 hours, I think we would still been chatting now. I completed one of my key training sessions before IM Switzerland this year with Tom, and will definately be riding and running with him over the coming months.

Motivated by chatting with Tom, and fuelled by a HOT Nando's Chicken Wings I went out for a 4 mile run later that evening. I felt rubbish, and as soon as I got home I realised I should have returned much sooner. I had a sore throat, and felt a bit achy. So begins the second half of the week.

I woke up on Friday with a sore throat and feeling like I'd done a monster gym session, my whole body ached. Although I wasn't really that ill, I was ill enough not to be able to train and thus not to be able to complete my usual daily activities. I joked with Sarah about Small Pox and Yellow Fever, she finds my reaction to illness amusing (and probably frustrating) So the back end of the week was spent loading up on Paracetamol, and Ibuprofen trying to rid myself of the life threatening disease that had taken residence in my body. It's tea time Sunday and I think I am pretty much good again.

Sarah has gone on a Muscial Instrument Repair Course in Wales learning how to repair Flutes and Clarinets. So my Mum has come up for the week to look after the girls while I am at work. It will be nice having my Mum around for the week, Ellie and Evie will be thoroughly spoilt and I will get a bit of a rest as well particularly around the bath time, bed time activities. I will miss Sarah, but I think sometimes a bit of time apart strengthens a relationship. I know when she returns on Friday we'll both be really excited to see each other, and will really enjoy each others company.

I have just started reading a book called "Mind Games" (Jeff Grout and Sarah Perrin) It's all about how the Mind has a massive influence over sporting performance. It's really interesting and captured my attention from the first page. In the foreword Sir Clive Woodward say's

"if we can improve 100 things by 1%, the total impact is huge"

This can be applied to everything we do. I straight away thought about my Triathlon Racing. I am in the process of compiling a list of 100 things related to my racing that I hope I will be able to improve by just 1%. I have read that Chris Boardman, Peter Keen and the British Track Cycling Personnel applied a similar thought pattern to their Olympic preparations. They looked at improving EVERYTHING. Even if it the improvement translated to just a few 100th's of a second, added together the impact is, and was devastating. I will hopefully have my '100' list in the next couple of weeks.

The clocks went back last night. So today just after 5pm, pitch black, BOO HOO. My commuter bike is fully loaded with lights and I'm set for riding in the dark. Have a good week, 100 things by 1%, I like that a lot!!

Friday, 24 October 2008

A Day on the Beach

Wednesday 22nd October 2008; Robin Hoods Bay (near Whitby)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Cycling Faster

This time last year I wrote down some thoughts on how to improve my bike speed. Riding fast is a very simple, yet very complex topic. Bottom line, the more power that can be applied through the pedals the faster the bike will go. order to apply that power a host of variables come into play. The legs are the pistons, but can the carburettor (cardio-respiratory system) supple sufficient oxygen to the legs? What about the fuel supply, are we reliant on high octane F1 type fuel (glucose) that is rapidly depleted, or can we utilise the £97.99p unleaded (5p saving from Tesco) (fat), which might not make us go so fast but won’t leave us phoning the AA for an extra few litres to just get home. What about power to weight ratio? When the road goes up funny things happen to heavy powerful riders. Then there’s the bike position, could you get more aerodynamic? And still be comfortable enough to ride for 5 to 6 hours? (note, I didn’t say comfortable “full stop”, a leather sofa is comfortable, a Fisik Arione saddle is not) So if we are going to spend hours this winter freezing our toes, fingers and ear lobes off, and numbing our knackers (girls replace knackers with your equivalent down below area) then it better make us ride faster when the race season comes back around, (Lanzarote; 213 days) So here are some of my thoughts. Whilst I think I am fairly knowledgeable in Sports Science and Cycling I am not an expert, your comments are most welcome.

Maximal short distance Time Trial speed is not performed in a triathlon, however the greater this speed is the easier it will be to sustain triathlon speed, and the greater the possible triathlon speed will be. If you can ride at 30mph over a 50 mile TT (I wish) then I think it would be a safe bet to say that 23, 24 or 25mph (even over a longer distance) would feel quite comfortable. I think Michael Hutchinson, Kevin Dawson et al would ride a pretty quick IM bike leg!

How to improve bike speed

Increase power. Power increase will result if force or/ and cadence is increased. Unless you are riding at an unusually low cadence, then only small tweeks to your riding cadence/ style will be possible. It is probably unrealistic that we will be comfortable changing from 90rpm to 115rpm. It is also unrealistic that many of us can ride 5 + hours at 115rpm, therefore increased power will only occur if you can increase the force exerted on the pedals, ie push a bigger gear. Lance Armstrong had a high revolution pedalling style, but his gears were not that small. Lance however didn't pedal at this rate for 5+ hours. Pedalling bigger gears requires more leg strength. It is here where the water becomes murky. Chris Hoy has incredible leg strength, but I don’t think I’d pick him to ride in my relay team over IM distance. Chris’s strength is generated through his highly developed fast twitch muscle fibres, powered by his CP and Anaerobic Lactic Acid energy system’s, maximal capacity around 2 minutes. We still need more leg strength but we must be able to supply enough oxygen to the working muscles, and fuel the muscles with a mixture of glucose and fat. Wouldn’t it be great to be comfortable pushing the 53 x 14 all day long (without a tail wind) some people are? How can they? Well they have the muscular strength to push that gear, and they have the carburettor to deliver sufficient oxygen, and a highly tuned fuel supply that can utilise more fat than glucose. Now this is where the various training philosophies come into play. Gordo Byrn and Mark Allen stress the importance of “doing your time” in the low intensity training zones to develop the cardio-respiratory system. Without this in place addressing leg strength will be a little like putting a 4L V12 engine in a car and surrounding it with a Fiat Panda carburettor. Or for a sports specific example, putting Mariusz Pudzianowski on a Cervelo, plenty of leg strength here. So yes things are complicated, but here is why I think improving leg strength is the way forward this winter.

For Myself, and many of my friends aerobic conditioning is already high. We have been completing in triathlon for many years, before that we might have been swimmers, runners or cyclists. Our heart is well developed (how much lower will your Resting Heart Rate go, a good sign of left ventricle adaptation) Capilliarisation of the leg muscles is high, (yes it can be improved, but this also occurs through higher intensity training). In addition our aerobic condition is being further developed through every cycle, swim and run work out. My thoughts are that we can comfortably complete long easy rides, so a winter made up entirely of this type of riding will only consolidate this type of riding. It will make us great at riding at 16, 17 and 18 mph average, (remember its flat on these here Selby roads) but it will not address the 21, 22 and 23mph average that we desire on race day. When we then want to start riding faster in April/May/June we are sort of starting again on a different type of cycling. To use another simple analogy, a 100m sprinter will not spend the whole winter training at 75% his maximum speed and then come March start his 100% speed sessions.

How are we going to increase Leg Strength?

Start on a leg weights programme where the aim is to increase overall leg strength. I would include Squats (numerous variations), Leg Extension, Hamstring Curl (double and single leg), Lunges, Leg Press, Straight leg lifts and Calf raise. Choose 5 exercises, 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, progressing the weight, 1 session per week. Remember we are not trying to complete with Mariusz!! Ride once a week over geared. This is often likened to weight training on a bike, very specific. Ride a gear where cadence drops to 50 to 60rpm. Take it easy, and look after your knees, as you feel more comfortable increase the riding time. On false flats and gradual climbs resist the urge to change up a gear, instead accept a slightly slower cadence and “push the gears over the climb, really feeling the pedal stroke” Once a fortnight, complete an interval session 30 seconds to 5 minutes (vary duration) aiming to go hard/anaerobic, make sure the rest is at least equal (up to double) to the work interval. This is gonna be hard work, do it on the turbo, a short sharp session, now that sounds good. Once every 3 weeks insert a longer interval 10 to 45 minutes, could be during a long ride or you could finish the ride by going hard. The intensity is not ballistic, but should be hard, somewhere around your 50 mile TT pace.

When I re-read this last paragraph the time on the bike sounds pretty intense. However I think the key is to recognise that the higher intensity riding is not during every session, but that it is mixed into the steady state aerobic riding. Riding over geared, whilst tougher on the legs may actually lower your heart rate.

Historically, Winter riding has been about building a base, long, slow steady pedalling. Hang on a minute, isn’t it cold, wet and windy, with not much day light, and we want to ride long and slow? Are we completely mad? My good buddy and very good Triathlon Coach Ben Bigglestone writes a good article on an alternative training emphasis. When spring arrives, we can change the emphasis, making the training “duration specific” to the race distance.

I think there are additional benefits from gaining leg strength. Running up hill requires additional leg strength. Improving the conditioning of the major leg muscles helps to protect your knee and hip joints. Swimming 4000m in a 25m pool will require 120 pushes off the wall (good training in itself). If you plan to run or bike latter that same day a little extra leg strength may just lessen the impact of the swim turns. Finally, having a bit more leg strength may even win you a few more village sign post sprints!!

A few other points that may make you think about your current cycle training style. Riding in the hills is great, but what do you do when you descend. Most cyclists I know go too hard up the hill, heart rate 160bpm + (assuming max is approx 190bpm), then think “glad that’s over” and free wheel down the other side, Heart rate plummets to 120bpm. You may have sat in the saddle for 3 hours, but how many hours did you pedal for? Will you free wheel for as long in your race? On the flat this Yo Yo style riding is not evident; if you are out for 3 hours you’ve probably pedalled for 3 hours. This winter don’t be lazy on the descents, ride over the top of the hill and ride down the other side. Do you ride in a big group? If “Mr Type A” personality sits on the front for the whole ride he will get a great training effect, will you get the same effect 6 wheels back? There’s no group when you are riding your race (theoretically, if there is they are cheating!). Get on the front, or split into smaller groups where you can all do some work.

I am convinced that for many good age group athletes doing the same sort of riding every winter will just reinforce what you can already do. Don’t get me wrong I will not be nuking myself all through the winter, but I am going to make the most of the time on my bike. I don’t want to surface in March having just maintained my current cycling level, I want to feel stronger and thus I hope faster. There’s not much point in being able to run a sub 3 hour marathon, if after the IM bike you’re legs are wasted and you can hardly hold onto 9 minute mile pace.
My friends, the bike is where it’s at, hope to ride with some of you this winter.

Monday, 20 October 2008


The pupils finished school on Thursday for their ½ term break, our last day was Friday. For the staff Friday was a teachers training day. Now we have had our fair share of Sh** e training day’s over the years, but Friday made up for all of them. Roy Leighton from Independent Thinking came in to school to deliver a day of thought provoking lectures regarding teaching and learning. He was very dynamic, and clearly an expert in his field, at times he was controversial, however he was exciting, enthusiastic and I found him motivational. “Learning for the Individual” was his focus, however much of what he said could be applied to all of us, teachers or not. As he said, those that think they have reached the goal, or are done with learning are clearly wrong. Learning is a life-long skill and to be better at it is surely an objective for everybody. I intend to summarise some of what I took from his visit in a later post. Whilst most of what he said was aimed at teachers a lot of what he said can be applied to many working and life situations. A quote he left us with was this one from the Buddha,

“to know and not to use is not yet to know”

This week I have been looking at my training and racing aims, and this quote is a timely reminder that there are many things I know that will help improve my training and performance, but yet I fail to apply them. I will be making a conscious effort to put more of what I know into practise.

On Monday I had a great training session with my mate Paul. Like me Paul has turned his garage into a gym so that he can be time effective with his training. Paul tries to juggle work, his own hobbies, Nikki (his wife), Nyah (his 18month old) and now Ciara (his 1 month old) also like me he’s outnumbered, and he’s getting good at juggling! We did a 15 minute run as a warm up, followed by 45 minutes of weights and body exercises, super setting to maintain the intensity. My weight sessions are usually as predictable as the England Football Team, Bench Press, Flys, Shoulder Press, yawn, yawn, Lateral Raise, yawn, Bicep Curls, a few crunches etc, etc, 3 sets of 10 or 12 reps, yawn, yawn, yawn!!! So with a multitude of whole body exercises in our minds we shook things up a little. Shoulder Press with upper body lateral rotations, Squats with the 15kg weight held above your head, Bent Over Barbell rows, where the weight is powered up and at the top of the movement the bar is released and the hand grip is quickly changed before lowering, Lifting a 15kg weight disc from your left foot up and across your body, finishing over your right shoulder, the Plank and Abdominal exercises on the mobility ball. After an hour we were both cooked, but pumped with adrenaline and keen to repeat in 7 days time, come on.
My training week has been a good one. Here it is in summary,

Monday: Bike work 1hr, Weights 1hr
Tuesday: Interval Run, 6 x 1 Lap Rugby Pitch on 90sec recovery
Wednesday: Bike work 1hr, (Referee U16 Rugby match 1hr)
Thursday: Bike work 1/2hr, Bike 3hrs (51 miles)
Friday: Bike work 1hr, Weights Upper Body 3/4hr
Saturday: Weights Upper Body and Legs 3/4 hr
Sunday: Run 1/2 hr, Core Stability 1/2 hr
Total: 11 ½

Sarah celebrated her birthday on Tuesday. By 7am she had opened her presents, and Ellie was keen to get on with the game of Pass the Parcel. I had come up with a nice little surprise present. My brother and his wife will look after Ellie and Evie for a weekend in November, so Sarah and I will jump on the train and head down to London watch a Show, have a meal and then head home. This will be a great opportunity do something different, will be fun. Sarah spent much of her Birthday surfing the web and reading show reviews, I think we will try to see Billy Elliott. I’ve been troubled by Birthday Cake this week. Everybody knows Mr Kippling’s French Fancies, any colour for me, although I do like the chocolate ones. Well you can now get a French Fancy 12” x 12” a pink one of course. Sarah had a little piece of cake and I spent the rest of the week working my way through the rest of it, lovely.

The week ended with a nice walk in the Woods and a picnic. We went to Skipwith Common, an area of Woodland and Heathland between Selby and York just off the A19. It is great to get out into the Countryside. There are no distractions from home, which means we are all more focussed on each other. Our picnic site was a Bird Watching Platform 5m up in a tree, which Ellie decided was our Wooden Castle. Picnic food for us is nearly always the same, Heinz Tomato Soup (is there a better tasting soup when you are outside?) and bacon sandwiches. Needless to say the combination of fresh air, exercise, a soft comfortable sofa and central heating knocked Evie and Sarah into the wonderful world of zzzzzzzz’s While 2 of the princesses slept, Ellie and I did some sticking. We make a Fairy Picture using the Fairy Cups (Acorn Cases) that we had collected, and then Ellie helped me make some meat balls for dinner.

It’s nice to be looking forward to a week of holiday, however if I am honest it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was returning from a long summer break. I have a few jobs around the house and garden to do, I want to fit in some training, and I want to spend some quality time with my girls.

This week’s quote was amusing. Some of you will know Sarah is a massive Kylie follower. A
mania I actively encourage, she gets a Kylie calendar every year (nice) and we have been to see her in concert 3 times (nice) so I put a Kylie DVD on for Ellie and Sarah (ok, and me) Ellie treated us to some cool dance moves, Sarah platted Ellie’s hair like Kylie’s and then Ellie said,

“When I grow up I want to be Kylie”

I’m not yet sure who I want to be when I grow up, I’ll think about it this week. Have a good one, enjoy yourselves.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Face Painting Fun

Before anybody asks "yes I am available for Children's Parties" Just to clarify, Evie is a Lion, and Ellie is a Rabbit, without the ears she a closer to a 'Clownabbit'. I like this photo, taken today during the afternoon play session in the garden, two happy girls and a happy photographer. Sarah had popped up to Newcastle to see her Dad who was in hospital for a few days, and to spend some time with her Mam, so I was in charge. This morning I put the computer in the cupboard so there would be nothing to distract me from spending time with my girls. Usually on a Sunday the day is interspersed with the odd internet session, totally un-necessary and an interruption to spending quality time with my family. Last night was a good one. I took the girls round to Paul, Nikki, Nyah and Ciarra's house for a meal. By 7.30pm all 4 girls were bathed and in bed, and we were sitting down to the last 20 minutes of the England game. Nikki cooked a lovely meal, which was spent chatting and enjoying each other's company, I missed Sarah, but there will be other occasions soon. Paul helped carry the girls home and they were soon deposited in their beds. I booted up the computer and logged on to and settled into the coverage of the 2008 Hawaii World Ironman Championships. I watched some great racing from Kona, and witnessed an awesome performance from Chrissie Wellington to take the Ladies title a second year on the row. In the men's race the top boys were all very fast on the bike, so it came down to the run. Eventually after 20 miles of awesome short 6 minute/mile pace Craig Alexander looked certain to take the win. At 2am I called it a night. No need for an alarm clock this morning, 5.30am Evie woke up, 6.30am Ellie woke up wanting her breakfast.
We started the day wrapping up Sarah's Birthday presents, Ellie is excited and wants a game of 'Pass the Parcel' so we found some prizes and got wrapping. Ellie's quote of the week is related to Sarah's Birthday.
"When Mummy's had her Birthday she's gonna be even taller"
The rest of the day was spent playing in the garden in the lovely weather.

Earlier on in the week my Garmin Forerunner 405 arrived. I have done a couple of short runs to test out. Its looks like a fabulous piece of kit and I know it will make me really focus on my run training this winter. I have had a steady training week, just ticking over. On the bike to school and a couple of short runs. I repeated my Tuesday lunch interval run myself, no show from any of the boys who ran last week!!!

I am looking forward to the week ahead. It should be a good one, Sarah's Birthday, some solid training, and session 1 (of many) with Paul in his garage, hitting a circuit/weights/core stability session hard, Oh yeah, I also break up for 1/2 term on Friday, a week's holiday yipee. Only seems like yesterday I went back to work after the summer holiday.

I will leave you with one of my favourite quote's from Dean Karnazes, book, 'Ultramarathon Man'.

"If you're not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you're not constantly demanding more from yourself expanding and learning as you go you're choosing a numb existence. You're denying yourself an extraordinary trip"

This week I will have this in my mind......

Saturday, 4 October 2008

"The Opportunity to Fly"

'Ellie in Switzerland July 2008'

Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the one you miss. ~Author Unknown

So far my life has been full of opportunities, I'd like to think I have taken as many of them as possible. Opportunities arise all the time. Some opportunities are easy to grasp, some require a bit of planning, some are financially more difficult to take, some require a change in your routine, some just require a bit of get up and go. The opportunity to go out with some friends, the opportunity to go for a extra training ride, the opportunity for a weeks training camp in February in Tuscon, Arisona with my buddy Ben (I hope I can make it mate) the opportunity for an early night, the opportunity to help somebody, the opportunity to spend some time with people you love or the opportunity to pursue an activity you enjoy.

As a PE teacher a large part of my job involves providing sporting opportunities for the kids at my school. This term I am providing the opportunity for 100 boys to play Rugby matches against other local schools, by being part of either the U13, U14, U15, U16 or 1st XV team's. All the boy's have to do is show commitment to the training session's, and turn up on match day. This week most of my players have really grasped the opportunity, we have had 5 fixtures and all the teams have played, we have won 4 and lost 1 match. Unfortunately this week I have had to remove the opportunity to play Rugby from one of my 1st team players. The particular lad should have been a regular starter in the team, he is strong, athletic and has a good array of skills, however this season he has failed miserably to grasp the opportunity given to him. After a couple of poor performances on the training pitch he was replacement for the first game of the season, his response, quite unbelievably was "not to turn up for the game" He was given another opportunity to prove himself but rather than grasp it with both hands he made a rather feeble snatch at it. He came off the bench for the second and third game, but to me and his team mates he appeared to be "going through the motions" The end to his season came on Wednesday. Changed and warming up with the team he was told he would be a replacement (although he is a better Rugby player than some of the starting XV, the commitment and desire to play shown by a couple of the boys got them the nod) When I left the pitch to sort something out, he decided to leave it as well. To my disbelief when I returned he had gone and got changed, stating to the captain, "he didn't want to play if he was going to be a replacement" After much reflection I could only conclude that the lack of commitment, enthusiasm, effort and honesty to his team mates, meant he really didn't care much for the opportunity to represent the school at 1st XV level. The following morning I asked him to return his 1st XV tie and not to come out to any training sessions. This was a sad morning. I am very inclusive with regard to team selection, if a boy shows positive character traits he will be given a chance, regardless of his skill level. I have given this lad plenty of opportunities to prove himself, Oh well, I hope he will realise his mistakes, and learns from his actions.

I think I have grasped some training opportunities this week. Monday 1 hour on the bike and a 7.30pm a 45 minute run with my new head torch. A strange sensation but perfectly acceptable, making the canal tow path, woods and quiet, unlit roads run-able. I have decided to use the Rugby players at school to increase my commitment to a weekly run session. Keeping it simple on Tuesday, we did 6 reps of the Rugby pitch (approx 350m) with a 2 minute static recovery. Writing down lap times helped everybody stay motivated, I ran 59 to 61 seconds. As the weeks progress I'll change the interval distance, rest times and number of reps. I then refereed a Rugby match for 1 hour, riding in to work meant I also clocked up another hour on the bike. Wednesday another hour cycling and an un-planned 30 minutes of refereeing after our RFU referee pulled a muscle. Thursday I have a 1/2 day so have the opportunity for a long ride. I knocked out 2 1/2 hours in bright but windy conditions (perfect Lanzarote conditioning) add in my ride to school, a good 3 hour day. Friday I just rode to work. Saturday I refereed for an hour. Sunday I raced the Cleveland Relay Triathlon.

I am Newcastle at Sarah's Mam and Dad's house, staying tonight thus making for a much shorter drive to the race tomorrow. Ellie loves to spend time with her Grandma and Grandpa, or as she calls them "Ra Ra and Pom Pom" We try hard to see them as often as possible, and do take the opportunity to leave the girl's for a week at a time. This gives Ra Ra and Pom Pom the opportunity to spend some quality time with Ellie and Evie, Ellie and Evie a chance to have fun with their Grand parents and me and Sarah with a chance to spend some much sought after quality time together, every ones a winner!!!

Cleveland Relays, the opportunity for one last triathlon (albeit a relay event) in 2008. Meeting at Acklam Sports Center we decided on our team configuration. My team consisted of Chris, Pat and Simon from the LBT Tri Club. Now, I haven't swam since IM Switzerland, not that that would be a problem. I find it hard to fit in much swim time, so tend to keep my upper body strong, then get some specific swim training done during the open water season. I still swim pretty consistently and can usually hit 1.45 per hundred. Today I swam 6.42, and felt good in the water. The bike consists of a 4 man Team Time Trial. I knew I'd be the strongest in my team so was prepared to drag the boys along, and back it off if necessary. We wont be challenging for places in the GB 4 man pursuit team, but we kept it together for a good ride. After an hours break it was time for the run. The run is a 5km relay. I went off first and soon went seriously anaerobic, realising how hard a 5km race is. On a slightly short (0.25km) route I clocked 18.42, so was really pleased. Cleveland Relay's is not really about the times, or the finishing position, more about having the opportunity to spend a day racing with your team buddies, and doing a different format of racing. It was really good fun, and a great way to finish the triathlon season. Hat's off to the Adwick Tri boys who raced as Batman, Spiderman, Superman and Captain America (they were pretty quick as well, must be the super hero powers!)

Ellie's quote for the week, setting the scene; it's getting close to bed time and Ellie is trying her best not to have a bath or a go to bed;

Dad "right Ellie, time for a quick bath"

Ellie "or a quick shower"

Dad "or a quick shower, it doesn't really matter"

Ellie "or a quick nothing"

Great stuff. On the subject of kid's providing fantastic moments congratulations to our good friends Paul and Nikki who welcomed Ciara into the world to join big sister Nyah. Well done Nikki you were a superstar last Sunday. Paul, me and you are now seriously outnumbered, 4 little girls and 2 big girls! surely we should get thoroughly spoiled?
Big congratulations to Tom and Helen, who both nailed Great North run PB's, 1.20 and 1.33. Well done, a great season from two friends who rarely miss an opportunity.

Another week draws to a close, its been a full one. Have I missed any opportunities? I am sure I have. I think it must be impossible to take all those that come your way, however I have made the most of those that I have taken. Lets see what next week brings.....