SwimRun: How the champions do it!

Team Sportextreme.com: Winners at LochGuLoch!
Team Sportextreme.com: Winners at LochGuLoch!

There must be something in the water up in Edinburgh as following hot on the heels of our last post, we’ve got an all-female team from the same Tri Club!  This time its the winners from LochGuLoch 2015 sharing their SwimRun story so far. They’ve got masses of endurance event experience between them and unfinished business at oTillo it seems.
If you’re hoping to learn anything from these interviews – THIS is essential reading!

So between mouthfulls of noodles at a post-swim Wagamama’s here’s what they had to say….

Team name: sportextreme.com
Team members: Rosemary Byde / Izzy Joiner

medals

How do you know each other? 
We met in 2012 a week before the Celtman triathlon at a reservoir in the hills above Edinburgh. We’re in the same club, and someone introduced us. Then we got to know each other in intervals of 10 seconds as we passed and re-passed during the race. But we didn’t meet up regularly or get to know each other really well until this year. This was our first year doing swimrun together, and our first race was in June.

What do you do when you’re not jumping into cold water with your shoes on?
IJ: Lie on the sofa / get warm! Cycle and run, but there’s not been much cycling going on this year. Sit with my cat.
RB: In fact, we do both have respectable jobs as well. But they keep getting in the way of training! I like to call myself a high tech crime fighter. I’m also learning Italian, so I keep looking out for teams from Italy, though I haven’t managed to talk to any yet.

You were 1st female team at lochguloch, and finishers at the Ötillö world champs, what else do you have on your cv?
RB: We came 3rd at our first swimrun race in Borås in June.
IJ: We both did well at the first Celtman event. I’m an Ironman addict and my best result was 5th in age group at Ironman France.
RB: I love adventure racing and have done everything from 5 hour to 5 day non-stop events in all weathers. I’ve managed to get on the podium in a few triathlons as well. Izzy’s finished an ultra run, which I’m a bit jealous about!

crossing the line at ÖTILLÖ 2015
crossing the line at ÖTILLÖ 2015

And how’s your calendar looking for 2016?
IJ: There are lots of things on the ‘want to do list’, but the calendars empty!
RB: It’s because we want to try and get into Ötillö again. What we do depends on the outcome of our application. We’re definitely going to do some more swimrun though.
IJ: I want to do another Ironman if I can, in the middle of it all!
RB: If we don’t qualify for Ötillö, we’ll be spoilt for choice with all the new races here. I’d like to do some more longer running events as well.

How do the swimrun races you’ve done rank against other endurance events you’ve done?
IJ: Hard! It’s quite tough and relentless because of the number of changes between swimming and running. It’s harder to break it down mentally.
RB: I asked Izzy on the finish line of Ötillö how it compared to an ironman, and she said definitely harder! There was something about the emotion that went into it, and the stress we had at times racing the cut offs. In some ways I found it more physically draining even than multi-day events, because of the intensity (speed).
IJ: I don’t think anything can quite compare to the first Ironman I finished, which was also my first endurance event. But swimrun is very different, it’s more wild, and the swims aren’t as sanitised and safe. There are fewer rules and you’re not going to bump into a referee on a motorbike! The fields are also smaller which makes it feel more intense.
RB: I like doing triathlon, but I prefer the way you feel as if you’re going on a journey from one place to another in a swimrun.

LochGuLoch - Stunning surroundings (photo Steve Ahsworth)
LochGuLoch – Stunning surroundings (photo Steve Ahsworth)

How does it feel being at the front of a race, rather than chasing someone else down?
IJ: I don’t like it! It’s stressful!
RB: In triathlon, if I start the run in the lead I feel under a lot of pressure as it’s my weakest link. But in swimrun, the disciplines are more balanced throughout, so I felt more confident. I agree it can be stressful though.
IJ: If you all have the same colour swim hats it is harder to identify who you’re racing against. I mistook one poor guy without a hat and with long hair for a girl at Loch gu Loch. I thought a female team was about to overtake us!
RB: She did apologise to him though!

Endurance races are about mental strength as much as physical strength, how do you help each other through the lows?
RB: I tried singing to cheer Izzy up a few times, but I might have made it worse!
IJ: When Rosemary’s having a low, I like to check she’s OK and chat to her.
RB: Yeah, that helps, I like some chat! The right food proffered at the right time can also work wonders.
IJ: In a long hard run at Ötillö, Rosemary broke the run into smaller chunks by checking how fast we were running every 8 minutes.
RB: I love thinking about numbers and statistics. I think Izzy might have switched off to my ramblings after a while though!

Which one of you breaks first?
IJ: Neither of us breaks, we might just have a little paddy and then move on!
RB: I agree, it’s a team event so you’re always working together and helping each other. It’s so long that you’ll both have ups and downs. I only chose to race with Izzy because I knew she was tough enough.

Before we go any further, I’d just like to point everyone towards these 2 articles you wrote for LochGuLoch. If you’re new to SwimRun and have any questions on kit or tactics or pretty much anything else – these articles have it covered.
http://lochguloch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/toptips.pdf
http://lochguloch.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/toptips2.pdf

 

The tips articles you did for lochguloch are brilliant and I’m finding them really helpful for creating my own kit list and training schedule. Did you get much feedback from other swimrunners on those?
RB: it was funny as we kept bumping into people when we were out training who had read our tips and knew us!
IJ: At the start of Loch gu Loch we got loads of comments from other racers around us.
RB: I was surprised how many people had read them. It was great to get such positive feedback.
IJ: When we got off the boat that takes you to the start at Ötillö, one of the race directors told us he liked our transition video: ‘very British humour’, he said!

What did you have to learn the hard way?
IJ: To put superglue on the back of my neck! I was getting bad wetsuit rash. We worked out it was better if I did my suit up a certain way, but it had got so bad it never really healed. You should also be careful which tri shorts to use if you want to avoid chaffage!
RB: I stuck with running shorts. I don’t think we made any major mistakes because we did a lot of research into kit and spoke to people who had raced swimrun before.
IJ: It wasn’t as bad as I was anticipating!
RB: One thing we did learn is that if you’re going to race on rocks, you should train on rocks. We had a very tough time at Ötillö on some of the unfamiliar terrain. I’d also mention it’s a good idea to bring running shoes with you to a swim run training session …

Most racers at UK events next year are going to be first-timers. What are your 3 top tips for success?
IJ: Practice doing swim and run together, practice transitions, practice in your kit!
RB: Learn how to wee whilst swimming, make sure your food wrappers are waterproof, never give up.

You’re in a wetsuit for a long time during the race so you must be faced with 2 choices: do you wee on the run or the swim?!
IJ: On the swim – much easier!
RB: I tried to master that skill but I still need to practice some more 😀 . I mostly went for the in-between moments.

Does everyone around you think you’re mad?
IJ: Yes!
RB: It depends who’s around, but yes! We’re in good company though 🙂

 

If you want to read more about Rosemary’s adventures, you can follow her exploits at www.planetbyde.co.uk – it really is an inspiring diary of an endurance athlete.

Once again, if you made it this far then you must be keen! Give me a shout if you’d like your team featured in an article. Experienced or first-timers, we want to hear from you. We’ve had no-one who did the BrecaSwimrun race in 2015 yet, where are you? Get in touch!

If you liked this, you might like our other SwimRun Team Profiles

The Grande Rouge
Tri Energy Mums
Tuff Fitty

 

 

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Winter Training – Benchmark No.1

image
Tuff Fitty track squad. Blurry even when they’re standing still!

To complement our winter training at the track and to benchmark our progress, we’re doing a series of 3k time trials.
The first of these was last night and comes as a bit of respite after weeks of gruelling 400m reps.
Turnout was good, 23 members out testing their mettle. It will be interesting to see how these times compare with a 3k race they did a few months back, and the next one in about 8 weeks time.

Personally, I was pretty happy to go under 11 minutes and still felt comfortable. I might try a 5k out at the same pace over Christmas.

Track 3k No.1 – 10:52

Show Us How Its Done: The Grande Rouge

I’ve been thinking about my biggest concerns about Breca SwimRun.
At the moment, its wetsuit choice (and affordability!) and getting in some specific training sessions. Some others I’ve spoken to are worried about which shoes to choose? Paddles or no-paddles? And I’d imagine there are people reading this who want to enter who don’t even have a partner yet!
So I thought this would be a good time to hear from a team who have been through all this, who probably had the same concerns in the build up as we will. Hopefully it will reassure us that we’re on the right track so far, or give us things to think about that we hadn’t before, maybe give us a chance to learn from their mistakes.
Their experience might even help to persuade others to enter their own team.
So whilst “The Grande Rouge” won’t be at Breca next year, this interview should help us all with our own preparations….

Team Name: The Grande Rouge
Team Members: Richard Frickleton & Erin Beveridge

The Grande Rouge - Richard & Erin
The Grande Rouge – Richard & Erin

Who are you, where are you from and how do you know each other? 
We are Boyfriend & Girlfriend and live in Edinburgh – We met through the triathlon club we are both members of. (you can read more about Richards adventures over at his blog)

What do you do when you’re not jumping into lakes with your shoes on or running round in wetsuits? 
Over the past couple of years we have both been trying to get to grips with triathlon! So you’ll usually find us swim/bike/running about Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. As we come into winter we abandon the roads for the hills and do lots of mountain biking & cross country.

What had you done in the past?
RF
– I was a xc-mountain biker for a long time but ended up getting roped into doing a few adventure races. Loads of these guys were triathletes and they planted the seed for getting involved in triathlon and since then I’ve been hooked.  I’ve only done a handful of short course races each year mostly because of injury & work but I love splitting my time across all the disciplines, I say I love it what I mean is I tolerate the swimming but love the rest.
EB – I was a sprint hurdler at school but unfortunately my legs didn’t grow as quickly as the height of the hurdles did (plus I was competing against Eilidh Child). Played hockey while at university in Glasgow gaining a coaching qualification before leaving to work in France & New Zealand. Once I was back I was talked into cycling 1000 miles round Scotland for charity, some of the guys doing it were triathletes and since then I have done a handful of short course races each year before I decided it would be a good idea to try and swim 8k in a SwimRun race.

Which SwimRun race did you take part in?
Loch Lomond Inch by Inch – its a good one for spectators!

And how did you get on? What can you tell us about your experience?
We finished 10th out of the 40 teams and 2nd mixed pair so its safe to say our first experience of swim run was very good. Because this is still a relatively new format a lot of the other competitors were also doing it for the first time so the atmosphere pre-race was different, there is a lot more chat mostly about how you have been training for it and how you made your kit. (ahh, we’ll get onto that in a minute)

How competitive was it?
It appeared to attract 2 particular types of people, none of which we fitted into. #1: Good/confident swimmers (obviously) & #2: Multiple Ironman finishers.  We did find however that fitting into either of these categories didn’t guarantee success because none of these involve swimming and running multiple times in one day while wearing a wetsuit and carrying all your gear. We were amazed that people we had talked to the days/weeks/months before who were looking forward to an event which focused on their strengths (swimmers), finished after we did. A lot of them underestimated how much the running would affect their swimming and how much the wetsuit would affect their running and generally how preparation for a triathlon is different for preparing for a swim run.

How does the saying go, “fail to prepare…?”
We also found that no matter what race strategy people had decided on, in the heat of competition you’ll always do what’s quickest. For example quite a few people had decided to take their shoes off for the swims but that quickly changed when they were sitting trying to get their shoes off & on while others just ploughed in and out of the water without stopping. I guess what I am getting at is that because this is still a new concept in the UK it is possible to do well even if you are not the fittest or fastest (it helps) but as long as you have put some thought into your preparation you can do quite well.

Why Swimrun? Why not a normal race/triathlon?
It all came about because Richard was looking to raise money for charity and thought this would be ideal. We needed something different, something which wasn’t a hobby and something people could clearly see was out of our comfort zone – Had it not been for that I don’t know if I would have ever attempted to try this, never mind wanting to do it again!

Talking of which, are you going to put yourselves through it all again? 
We do want to do it again but next year it all depends on having enough time & holidays to do it. Annoyingly all my friends are getting married and the stag doos & weddings at the same time as a lot of the events. If we are going to do one it will be the Snowdonia swim run event in August.

Team Dynamics: What do you each bring to the team? 
In the build up Richard dealt with the coaching, planning all the swim sets and swim run sessions and Erin did a lot of the research into kit (I.e cut up an old wetsuit or buy a specific sim/run wetsuit). On race day we were all about trying to enjoy ourselves & making sure we both made it to the end in one piece.

"In one piece" - 2nd mixed pair! Loch Lomond Inch By Inch
“In one piece” – 2nd mixed pair! Loch Lomond Inch By Inch

Did teamwork make the dreamwork? Or had you fallen out with each other by the end?
We maybe weren’t the quickest but as a team we worked well and managed not to fall out and just generally had a good laugh as we went round – we’re quite good at telling when one another is struggling.

Have you got any equipment tricks/tips or hacks you can share with others? 
The one tip we were given which I wish I had done was putting some kind of floatation down the front of my compression socks. As I tired I found even with my pull buoy my legs were sinking and a little bit more floatation would have been helpful.

What are your 3 biggest tips for a successful race?
#1
: Train for the specific demands of the race – it’s not a triathlon get used to getting in and out of the water and get to know what effect running has on your swimming and vice versa. Plunging back into cold water after a long run is something you need to prepare your body for!

#2: Plan when you will fuel yourself – It’s going to be a long day and the only time you can eat and drink is on the run (which isn’t easy). Look for sections of the run where it may be just as fast to walk rather than run and take on some nutrition at that point, it’s better than attempting to wolf something down as you fly through a feed station, you’ll be grateful later in the day if you do.

#3: Trial and error – Experiment with kit & tactics don’t just do what everyone else does. E.g paddles – these were not for us, we found the extra effort we had to put in did not make us any quicker & killed our shoulders but then again loads of the teams found it made them swim more efficiently

What would you say to someone thinking of signing up?
Go for it, be one of the first to say you tried swimrun – but don’t underestimate the physical challenge its completely different to a triathlon.

And there we have it, some great tips to take away there. Big thanks to Richard & Erin for taking the time out to answer these questions. If you made it this far, thanks for reading too! 
If you liked this, you might like the team profiles we’ve done so far for Breca 2016, Tuff Fitty & Tri Energy Mums
Finally, If you’ve got experience you’d like to share, or if you’d like your Breca SwimRun team profiled then get in touch. 

TEAM PROFILE – TRI ENERGY MUMS

No. 2 in the Breca SwimRun team profiles – this week we have our first female team. We got in touch via twitter last week which gave us the chance to fire a few questions over.

Team Name: Tri Energy Mums
Team Members: Sam Anderson & Lenka Moore
Team Motto: UNITED WE SWIMRUN!

3 word foreword: THIS IS EPIC!

Who are you, where are you from and how do you know each other?
Hi – we’re Sam & Lenka from Stourport on Severn near Worcester. We met through our Tri Club and in turn set up a Kids Tri Team (Tri Energy Kids) where we coach together every Monday night. Lenka’s 2 children come to the kids tri club too. We’ve known each other for 3 years and always have a good laugh!

Sam & Lenka
(L) Sam Anderson sporting GB Kit (R) Lenka Moore showing off her trophies and children!

What do you do when you’re not jumping into lakes with your shoes on or running round in wetsuits?
SA –
I’m on maternity leave at the moment! So I can be found shaking maracas, drinking tea and talking to other Mums about feeding, sleeping and nappy changes! I’ve also started local buggyfit classes for Mums in the area which we do three times a week.
LM – I am an accountant running a business with my husband. This allows me to work from home a lot so I can be there for the kids. And I like running round in shoes and swimming in my wetsuit, I have just never done it all mixed together so it should be fun.

What attracted you to Breca SwimRun?
SA
– I’ve raced close to 100 multisport events and was looking for something different. I had my son Bobby in June of this year and knew time would be limited in terms of being able to train on the bike etc so I wanted an event that had a bit more running in as I can get out running with Bobby in the buggy anytime I like. We live near Wyre Forest which has some lovely hilly routes – not quite the Honister Pass though!!!
LM –  I have done triathlons for about 4 years and fancied something different so when Sam asked me to be her partner I jumped at the opportunity.

Team Dynamics: Whats going to give you the edge over everyone else?
SA – The bike is my strength, which is a bit of a problem! Ooops! Other than that my strength is doing things for other people. I love helping and supporting and encouraging others and even if I was on my last legs I’d tell Lenka I was enjoying it to keep her spirits high! I’d hate to let her down and so I think that loyalty to each other will really boost us and keep us going.

LM – I am quite chilled and level headed so I am hoping to feed off Sam’s enthusiasm and keep us on the right track. We will definitely be there for each other when the going gets tough.
We are both mums and I think that gives you mental strength you never knew you had.

Are you happy with your teammate?
LM – Sam’s original choice of a partner changed her mind (I wonder why??) so I was really chuffed when Sam asked me!  She is a better swimmer than me so I am hoping for a tow and I will definitely be in charge of the map!
SA –
We are very similar swimmers actually, so that’s an advantage. We live really close to each other too so hoping that being local means we can drag each other out to train! I’m hoping Lenka’s sense of navigation is much better than mine – I ended up waddling through the River Severn at 38 weeks pregnant trying to get home as I’d taken a wrong turn!

Waddling through the River Severn?”
SA –
I’d walked for 2 hours at 38 weeks pregnant to get to a group called ‘Bumps and Babes’. I had totally underestimated how long it would take me. On the way home I was convinced I could find a quicker route but got totally lost and when I saw the river I knew I should be the other side of it! I started wading through it but then came to my senses! When I eventually got a signal (I was in the middle of nowhere) I had to call a friend to come and rescue me!

Have you looked at the course map yet? Is there anything making you nervous?
SA – errr…not really looked at that yet – ignorance is bliss!
LM – I am with Sam on this one. Lake district is beautiful so I am looking forward to the views.

What have you done in the past? Give us a bit of background.
SA – I’ve raced triathlon since 2009. I won British and European Age Group Gold in 2013 and then 2 more European medals in Duathlon and Aquathlon in 2014. My claim to fame was spotting myself on TV after doing a few of the British Elite Super Series races (I was being lapped!) This year I’ve done absolutely nothing and struggle to run 5km at the moment! I’ve not swum since April and my bike is still in the bikebox from the 2014 Canada World Champs! I’m hoping this epic race will scare me into training sooner rather than later!
LM – Sam is my claim to fame. I am racing with a European champion!! I started doing triathlons to keep fit and I wanted a challenge. My children were quite young so finding time to train has always been a problem for me. I have won a few local races and got to represent GB in 2013 in my age group. But now the kids are growing up, they started joining in with Sam’s tri club so I feel ready to take on something epic and this is where Breca swim/run comes in.

Proving to the kids that Mum’s still got it eh? Or just setting an example/Showing them what can be achieved?
LM
: A bit of both!

Are you planning on any particular races in the build up?
SA
– we’ve seen some random orienteering races that are close to home. I’ve also entered some off road trail runs through the winter; and we’ll keep chipping away at our local park run – that killer hill at the end with a buggy has got to count for something?
LM – Our local park run has a few hills in it and the whole family can join in. Cross country races are always good training, the Gloucestershire league is fab. And I am sure we will find some longer off road races in new year.

Will you be making a weekend of it or is it a splash,dash & grab?
SA – I’d go for a week if we could!!! We’ve persuaded friends Sophie and Caroline (Team Mad Chicks) to race too – we’ll be competing with them to avoid the wooden spoon! So the plan is for us all to go and stay in a big house together and drink wine and talk about how good we could have been if it wasn’t for x, y and z!
LM – Funny we have organised the weekend and the party, invited friends, planned the food and wine and haven’t even looked at the race details! We must sort out our priorities!

Lenka & Team Mad Chicks
Lenka, Agnetha, Anni-Frid & Caroline (Team Mad Chicks) The SwimRun afterparty looks like it might be fun!

A bit of friendly rivalry? Lets just set it out now in writing, lay down the challenge, so everyone can see it – Are you going to beat them?
Well let’s just say the beauty of an endurance event means anything can happen! We’re secretly hoping that Caroline spots a pub on the route and gets sidetracked to go and have a glass of red vino; and that just the one will turn into her retiring from the race!!

Are there any questions you’d like to put to other teams/organisers/experienced swimrunners? Anything you’re curious about?
SA – would anyone like to donate us some kit??? 
LM –
 I have loads of questions! I would like to know what kind of food will be provided at the feed stations. And what kind of shoes are the best to swim in? How to prevent chaffing and blisters? Socks or no socks? Are the lakes quite cold? What if I need a loo?…..

Good questions, I’ll be putting some of these questions to experienced swimrunners and to the race director in the near future.
Brill, thank you!

If you’d like to have your team featured, or maybe you’ve done a SwimRun event before and want to share valuable experience with others. Get in touch and we can fire some questions at you.

Team Profile – Tuff Fitty

In the first of a series of team profiles for Breca SwimRun 2016 I’ve kept things close to home, starting with our own team. We took a few minutes to answer a few questions…

Team Tuff Fitty - working on our pre-race nutrition
Team Tuff Fitty – working on our pre-race nutrition – Tom (left) Marchy(right)

Team Name – Tuff Fitty 
Team Members – Tom Goddard & Dave March

Who are you, where are you from and how do you know each other?
TG:
This sounds a bit like blind date. ‘Hi I’m Tom from Worthing and I’m looking for a brummy with killer glutes and triceps’. I know Marchy from the local tri club (Tuff Fitty) as the member who has done the fewest triathlons (1 I think!).
DM: one and a half actually if you count the relays.
TG: He is also my running coach at the track and makes me run round in circles really fast.
DM: I’m Dave, better known as Marchy. I’m from Birmingham originally and moved to Worthing about 6 years ago after a short stint in France. It’s nice here but it means travelling huge distances to all the really interesting races.

What attracted you to this race? Why Swimrun, why not a normal race!?
TG
: I normally like to go fast and find endurance events a bit boring but I feel with the varying, challenging terrain, epic scenery and having a buddy along for the journey I might just about be able to tolerate this one. Plus I’m sick of racing triathlons where I come out of the water in the lead, everyone overtakes me on the bike and then I have to overtake them again on the run.
DM: I like to do 1 big daft race each year and it didn’t take much to persuade me to do this one. The scenery for Breca SwimRun looks stunning and if I’m honest, the bike part of triathlons is the bit I like least, so I’m more than happy to race a multiple aquathon.
I also like the fact its on a Saturday, which means chip shops should be open for glorious post-race nutrition.

What do you each bring to the team? Give us a SWAT analysis.
TG
: I’ll bring a tow rope for Marchy on the swim, the possibly delusional belief that I can win every race that I enter, and the ability to still crack bad jokes in a race when most people are struggling to breathe. Marchy brings an amusing accent, even more amusing hair/ facial hair and some pretty tidy running skills.
DM: Cheers Tom, I’ll get yow for that. Strengths: Tom, Weaknesses: Me. Threats: Toms air of supreme confidence? Our ability to not take it very seriously? Our potential to get a bit carried away the night before?

Are you happy with your teammate? Or is it more a case of being the only other idiot you could find?
TG
: Yeah we’ll definitely win.
DM: He’s definitely an idiot.

Have you looked at the course map yet? Is there anything causing you to wake up in the night in a cold sweat? 
TG:
It is a fairly hefty distance to run but hopefully the interesting terrain will occupy my mind rather than how far it is until the next swim. I also hate the cold so it would be nice if the next one we did could be in the Med or somewhere nice and warm like that.
DM:
The hill at the end is worrying me, there’s escalators right?

Elevation Profile
Elevation Profile

I’m also terrified of getting lost. Roaming the peaks in half a wetsuit. Whats that film now? Sightseers….have you seen that? There’s nutters out there in the wilderness.

Its still early days, but have you thought about race tactics yet?
TG
: I’m sure we can devise some sort of tethering system which could also prove useful for tripping up our opposition when exiting the water. I think we are fairly evenly matched on the run and I see this as the key area of the race as we’ll spend more time running.
DM: My plan is simply to try and keep up with Tom, If I can do that then the race might look after itself.

What have you done in the past?
TG
: I used to race mountain bikes and be a swimmer and water polo player. I now race triathlon and have represented the GBR age group team. I have done a marathon and swam the channel before so I have a history of agreeing to stupid challenges.
DM: I used to smoke and drink and play records to others who were smoking and drinking until 5 years ago. Since then I’ve done Brighton & London Marathons, the Red Bull Steeplechase and the Downslink Ultra – some of it anyway.  Our team looks a bit mis-matched here doesn’t it?
TG: You must have some sporting acheivements?
DM: I won a set of tyre levers at Southwater Tri Relays for having the Best Moustache. I’m hoping to better that to be honest. If we come away with a trophy, the tyre levers will definitely be relegated from the mantlepiece, but maybe we should grow tache’s just in case. Other than that, I recently beat Tom in a cross country race, he must have been having an off day. Maybe he wanted to give me a confidence boost, either way after that result I’m confident we can win this.

Are you planning on any particular races in the build up?
DM:
I’m going to do the 3 Forts marathon as its on my doorstep and takes in the toughest terrain we’ve got on the South Downs. What about you Tom?
TG
: Nothing specifically to prepare for this. I am doing the Darth Mannion Beach and Swamp ½ marathon (DM: tagline, “A run for idiots” – I rest my case) in Wales and the olympic distance ETU champs in Lisbon before but most of the prep will be long hilly trail runs over the south downs, a lot of sea swimming and some specific swim-run-repeat session with the wetsuit and soggy trainers. When did you last swim Dave?
DM: About 18 months ago. unless you count standing in a cold pool with my 4 year old boy as his lips turn blue.
TG (starting to look worried): Are you going to do any swim training?
DM: Nah. I’ll just rock up on the day. Although building up to that I’ll probably keep promising to do some. At the moment, I don’t even own a wetsuit.

Would you like a crack at oTillo if this goes well?
TG
: Yes. How do we qualify?
DM: I anticipate this might be our first and last race together. I’ll be amazed if we return in the same car.

Assuming you’re going to travel up together, have you got any must-haves for the soundtrack?
TG
: I am loving Benjamin Booker, Alabama Shakes and Teleman at the moment but I know Marchy is a boy of the 90s so we’ll need to chuck some Stone Roses and Massive Attack in there too!
DM: You can take the boy out of the 90’s…. I’d like a bit of Chemical Brothers, LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip too. In my world, new music stopped being made when my son was born, it got replaced with things like The Gruffalo, and The Hungry Caterpillar, I could bring those?

Have you got any SwimRun equipment on your Xmas list?
TG
: If Santa’s reading this a Zone3 Evolution wetsuit would be ace! Other than that I have a pull buoy and hand paddles and can drill some drainage holes in my trail shoes.
DM: I’m going to have to get handy with a pair of scissors to create a budget swimrun wetsuit, will have to do without pockets though. Must remember to take feet out of shoes when drilling holes too.

 

Now you’ve got to know our team a little bit more, maybe you’d like to have your team featured. Or maybe you’ve done a SwimRun event before and want to share valuable experience with others. Get in touch and we can fire some questions at you.

I want to know who we’re racing, lets make this personal!

Calling All SwimRunners!

As you may know, I’m doing Breca SwimRun in 2016 (here’s my previous post on it) and I got to thinking about the other teams involved. The entry list has been doubled from 50 to 100 teams due to demand which means there could be 99 other teams out there on July 2nd that me and Tom will be racing against.
If you’re reading this, that might include you?

In my initial excitement of entering the race I searched for race reports, reviews, equipment tips and other articles. And unsurprisingly, I came up with very little. SwimRun is very much in its infancy. 2015 saw just 3 UK races – The Lake District, Loch Ness & Loch Lomond.
However, its definitely growing, 2016 sees races in Snowdonia, and in the outer Hebrides too. And in addition, established races are introducing shorter distances, SwimRun Sprints if you like, which makes it more accessible to first-timers. I’ve also found LoveSwimRun which looks like it might become a valuable resource for UK SwimRunners.

So I thought I’d do my bit to keep the momentum building. I’m excited about this race, I’m fascinated about the other participants, I’m curious as to how it all works on race day. I can’t wait to find out what it will feel like at the top of the fells looking down on Lake Buttermere. And I might develop all this at some point into a dedicated SwimRun Website.

So via Twitter and Facebook, I’ve started getting in touch with some of the teams and running some interviews. If you’d like to be involved then please get in touch. If you’ve taken part in a SwimRun event in the UK, or if you’ve got one booked in the calendar then I want to hear from you.
Lets build the sport together, and grow a community with it.

I’ll be kicking things off very soon with a profile of our own team. We’ll be posing questions to each other and I hope we’ll still be friends by the end of it.

I look forward to hearing from you.

10 things I think about when I’m not running

I’ve had almost 2 weeks off running. I miss it a bit but as I’ve got no imminent races looming large in the calendar, its a good time to have a bit of rest and let my body recover.
It’s given me some time to do other things, and to think about other things too.
I thought it was a good excuse to do one of those “10 things….” blog posts that’ll give you a bit more of an insight about me.

Here’s what’s been on my mind this week:

1. Ocean Colour Scene
I went to a gig, atom promotions are putting on some great gigs in Worthing. I’ve seen The Charlatans, Grandmaster Flash and now OCS in my hometown this year. And this gig took me back to being a 17 year old mod in Birmingham. A lot of loudmouth idiots at the back but Simon Fowler gave it a good “… and if you lot at the back could just shut the fuck up!”

2. Whitstable
A few days over in Whitstable this week, the high street is amazing, great cafe’s, independent boutiques,vintage shops, micro-pubs, cheesemongers, charity shops galore and a thriving book shop.

3. Sports Massage
Weekend No.2 of my course in Brighton. Learning a lot about the muscles in the legs at the moment, and thinking about how they work in relation to running.
My new favourite phrase “hmmm, thats interesting” when finding a knotted muscle or odd structure when massaging.

4. Don’t believe the Hype
I discovered this blog recently via a competition for OCS tickets, its a great read, especially for the Dads out there. Looking forward to meeting the owner Dan soon. His writing is inspiring me to take this blog forwards, to keep posting regularly and letting it find its own direction.

5. London Marathon 2016
Thrown my “You’re IN” magazine in the recycling bin. Can’t do the date unfortunately and don’t have the money to burn to defer for a year.

6. Punctures & Bike lights
Picked up a puncture on my bike and had to repair in pitch black darkness, between 2 bodies of water where it was freezing cold, next to a dead shark. Or perhaps it was a dogfish.
Also had my bike light fall off in the middle of the road on another day. I watched helplessly as a stream of 20 cars rolled over it before finally, it exploded under the wheels of the last car.

7. Things beginning with I
My son is learning letters at the moment, he’s doing really well. We repeat the sound each letter makes before saying a word that it begins with. “D….d….dog,” “B…..b…..banana,” “i……i……errrr……..insect.” Its harder than it sounds.

8. Catch Up TV
In particular, The Walking Dead and The Returned (the proper one, in French, on channel 4.) Slight obsession with the undead? Maybe.
Oh, and Kung Fury. If you’ve got 30 minutes spare, this film is ace.

9. Them
I’ve bought a new book, “Them” by Jon Ronson, He also wrote “The men who stare at goats.” I heard him interviewed on Scroobius Pips podcast Distraction Pieces and it sounded like a fascinating book about who really rules the world.

10. Cloaks
Today, as well as working, I’ve been thinking about why cloaks aren’t more popular? Why they’ve never made a comeback since Victorian times? What’s the difference between a cloak and a cape? (Is it to do with hoods?) The consideration that needs to be given to the brooch? How many cloaks warrants a cloak room? How long should a cloak be? Is it mandatory to carry a dagger when wearing a cloak? (can of worms)

There we go.
That didn’t descend into madness as much as it could have. And got away from the subject of running for a bit too.