When I seen Alice Hertor's Facebook post asking for someone to do the running leg of a local triathlon I jumped at the chance. She is one of the best triathletes in Britain.
Alice is a few weeks away from a major ironman contest. So was entering the Fugitive half ironman distance triathlon in Marlow as a training run! Most people spend all year getting into good enough condition to complete these mammoth races. Alice is entering this as a bit of training.
Alice Hector, endurance super star.
Her plan was to do the swimming and cycling leg and instead of just pulling out; let someone else do the running leg.
Luckily for me, she was after a enthusiastic amateur (hyperactive idiot) so she would not feel pressured with placing.
I had problems getting to sleep saturday. I've been playing with numbers and think i can really smash my half marathon pb. Training has been awesome, my speed is getting better and i'm on a high from all the pbs. At One am, I resorted to trying to knock myself out with ben and jerry's.
Race start is seven am. My alarm was set for half four. I was in trouble.
Half three in the morning and our 8kg kitty "Louie" aka "tons of fun" decided to launch her chunky arse off our wardrobe onto my sleeping carcass. I was utterly dead to the world. I awoke screaming, looking for mike tyson. Thinking he had just chucked me a massive body blow.
There was no way i was getting back to sleep now so i got my arse in the shower. Some of my best ever powerlifting contests have been after sleepless nights. so i was not really concerned. i decided to start loading up on coffee while warming up my fingers with the xbox.
As normal i was ready but lost track of time and forgot to wake em.
Em is going to help Darren; alice's other half get some photos. Darren is a very talented photographer and wanted someone to drive his car while he hung out the back and took some photos.
Small problem Darrens car is a 400bhp S3 and Emma is as big of a idiot as me.
Darren hanging trying to get some decent shots while Emma drives.
After a lot of sleepy bitching and moaning from both us us we got to Marlow just in time.
We got to say hello to Alice, seconds before she got in the water for the swim section. They start everyone in waves. Elite men first then the men then the women. The orginisers had Alice start with the elite men. They didn't want anyone still in the water slowing alice down.
She was unreal. I'm fairly sure there was only a couple of elite guys ahead of her when she got out the water. This was only a training session for her. A warmup!
Alice was out of the water and away on her bike in silly time.
As normal I've no idea what the fuck i'm doing. The swim was about half hour so i thought the bike would be the same. I've never even watched a triathlon before.
I started warming up. The atmos is electric and i was getting excited. A little light warm up pace quickly turns into a pretty fast "look at me, i'm a nob" pace.
After about half hour of short runs and swinging my junk around in the name of stretching i felt ready. I went to wait by Alice's bike in the transition area.
I had no idea she was doing the best part of 100kms!!
I had warmed up far too early. Most of the bikes there are worth more than cars. I was standing around the transition area trying to look innocent.
Em has returned, a little shaken. photo by thatcamerman.com Darren Wheeler.
Before i realised Emma and darren returned. Emma looked shaken but smiling from ear to ear. Emma had been driving Darrens 400bhp s3. Fast really does not do this beast of a car justice.
Darren opened his boot and perched out the back trying to take pics of Alice on her bike. Daz was giving Em instructions, speed up a little, slow down that sort of thing.
She had managed to almost chucked Daz out the back with a little enthusiastic acceleration. Then slammed him into the back of the seats with some harsh breaking.
When Alice was on the home stretch and Darren had got all the pics he wanted Daz drove. He had her squealing as he "flung it about a bit" for a little revenge.
Alice putting the tracker on my ankle. Bike worth more then our car!!
Alice came storming into the transition looking happily exhausted. Pleasantry's were a bit of a blur. All of a sudden the blood was pounding in my ears and I was off. My watch started bleeping right away. "Too fast.... too fast!" I tried my best to calm down and stick to five min kilometers.
Photo by thatcameraman.com Darren wheller.
The five kilometer laps started on the soft grass of Marlow's riverside park but quickly turned onto one of the Thames paths more rugged trails. Then uphill on a quite road to the out skirts of Marlow. The last K was all brilliant downhill section through a housing estate, back to the park.
The first lap was on pace. What i lost on the Thames path i gained in the last downhill bit. Apart from the muttering and swearing on the trail section i was having a blast. I even managed a nice camp pose going through the lap counter.
Darren Wheller, thatcameraman.com again. Not my normal crap selfie.
The second loop, my hamstring started to cramp and my ankles were screaming. I may have twisted one of my ovaries too. I really need to do more running on trails. Or not be a massive dick and try pacing for once in my life. I was two minuets off.
Lap three was annoying the shitty Thames path was wrecking my ankles. I could not make up the time on the down hill bits as my hamstrings were cramping the second i tried to accelerate. Worst of all i was getting ready to throw my toys out the pram.
As i was approaching the lap tracker; things started to fall into place mentally. I had had an amazing week running. I had set another big pb at parkrun on saturday. Tuesday i sliced another twenty seconds of my five K PB around Dorney. Thursday I got a 10;30 two K in the club race; My fastest mile and kilometer too!
It was a absolutely stunning day and the route was fantastic. I really should just enjoy being alive and able to run. I slowed down a touch and tried to soak up the atmosphere. Over the tracker for the last lap i give a little wave to Emma, Alice and Darren. I can't describe how uplifting it is when people are cheering for you especially when it's friends and loved ones.
Me and my amazing better half seconds after finishing! photo by Darren Wheeler, Thatcameraman.com
The course was filling up now. It really helped to be pulled along with some of the other runners. Seeing the elite guys come blasting past was awesome they were running sub nineteen minutes after all of the swimming and cycling.
The Thames path was agony but the beauty was a real distraction. Now that i was going slow enough to enjoy it. I hit the uphill road section and my pace was practically a crawl. I was still moving forward and i could feel that smile growing.
The downhill part was the best bit. I was sore as hell, sunburnt and dehydrated but absolutely loved the barely controlled stumble down to the park.
Alice was waiting at the park gates; to run me in the last few hundred meters. For someone so talented and driven she is wonderfully down to earth and supportive.... and funny as hell.
Exhausted and struggling to breath I could do nothing but smile at her. What a great way to finish... Thank you so much Alice and Darren. I'm not sure who's idea it was but we did a little camp jump together through the finish line.
All of the amazing photos in this blog were taken by Darren Wheeler, That camera man check out his stuff on facebook and web page thatcameraman.com
The rest were stolen from google.