Superheroes!!

dazed and confused

 

Done!

We did it 😀😀😀.  Thank you for supporting us, sponsoring us, coming on the journey with us.  There have been ups and downs, a bit of sideways, laughter and tears, injuries, illness, recovery, a new bike, a resignation, a house renovation and an election.

It all started when the multi- tasker’s sister thought it would be fine for a couple of slow sprint triathletes to upgrade to double the swim length, more than triple the bike leg, nearly triple the run and add a bit of kayaking for good measure……  Safe to say, we had never been in a kayak before: although Meg was a rower at uni, she struggled with the concept of forward motion in the water!  We knew we had to do 6 months of training and we started off well.  We had a bit of injury and a horrible virus impeding progress, but we got back in the saddle (Meg literally did most of her training in the saddle – lesson number one, cross training is effective!)  

We were doing marvellously but then Meg had to move out of her house for it to be renovated and an election was called.  Other things were suddenly a priority.  The training schedule was abandoned early on – from the other side I can now report lesson number 2: you can still race without the training but it takes significantly longer.

The last supper

Yum!

We were both supposed to register and listen to the safety briefing on Friday 16th, but the hobbit was still saving lives in Beccles, so Meg had to freak herself out and have a panic attack on her own.  Luckily there was a carb-loading supper for her, unluckily, we found out there was a cut off for starting the run of 16.30.   Pressure!  The upside of lifesaving was a very civilised “last supper” with as many carbs as possible – two bread rolls!! – for the hobbit when she finally rolled up.

Good morning sunshine

burnham market

Saturday morning was beautiful.  A sleepy Norfolk village, a lovely hotel, beaches nearby.  And we were planning to swim a mile, kayak 3 miles, bike 45 miles and then run 8 miles.  Breakfast ensued!  What a dilemma.  Facebook came to the rescue –  More carbs and salt:

love


So far so civilised.  You can tell I was in denial, really.

The race

the competition: ironman and superman – gulp!

My bubble of calm evaporated when I got to the race site and saw ironmen and women setting up.  This is it.  The multitasker had her superhero t-shirt on, she’d picked us a kayak and some lifejackets and we had a spot on the bike rack.  

chaotic transition area – bad hobbit

The idea is you set out a coloured towel (to identify your spot) under your bike and lay out everything you need in an orderly fashion to swap between disciplines.  There was a lot of gear (and food – second breakfast!). The multitasker was flirting outrageously with a young lad with “thighs like pony’s” (and I quote).

We got our tatts done:


And our ankle tags.  Always a bit disconcerting to be tagged and enumerated….for ID purposes in case we were found drifting out to sea in the kayak…..?

Swimming – 1 mile

Next step was getting half in the wetsuit and being shipped out to a beach 1 mile up the creek from which we would swim back.  Being in the boat stopped the nerves as it was a gorgeous day and you could pretend you were going on a cruise. 😂😉😂🤔.  The other competitors had mostly done it before and were extremely helpful explaining how fast they could go😶.  We had a quick acclimatise in the (surprisingly pleasant) water, were corralled through a headcount and then off went the hooter and we splashed in.

Of course, everyone worries about the vicious tactics of the open water swim.  Certainly supergirl and ironwoman, our fellow Beccles superheroes, got kicked and pushed around.  The solution is to breastroke calmly at the back having a nice chat.  The multi-tasker needs calming and reassuring that there are no sharks or dead bodies coming to get her and the hobbit is incapable of doing freestyle.  It’s true that the RNLI kayakers and paddle boarders going alongside for safety got totally bored with us but on the brightside, the multitasker got to flirt with some more muscle-bound teenagers…….

Hilariously, there was a point at which we hit a sandbank and everyone stood up and walked, there were two jellyfish, one stung me a bit, but otherwise it was a glorious swim and by the end even the multitasker had stopped panicking and enjoyed it.

Kayaking – 3 miles

33 minutes after the hooter we were dashing up the quay to our kayak ripping off the wetsuit and wheezing only very slightly. (Big improvement on last year – shorty wetsuit recommended). The kayak was heavy and we had to go barefoot over gravel to get it back in the water.  Hope there’s no video 😱.  We had our very own safety kayaker beside us as we were last, but we motored down the course due to the engine powerhouse that is the multitasker.  

Hawaii 5-0 ?


And then there was an unexpected snag – the creek ran out and we had to push the kayak 100 yards across a mudbank before getting back in to finish the course.  Spoiler alert – this was not the only time I was nearly lost to the mud…..

By the time we finished (49 minutes) we were no longer last.  More kayak manhandling, with the help of an elderly lady (respect!) and we were back in transition, squirting on sunscreen and ready to bike.  We even saw supergirl and ironwoman dashing off just ahead of us, so we knew we were doing OK.  The multitasker has decided kayaking is her next sport – I have to concur, it was a fabulous addition to triathlon.🚣

The bike leg – 45 miles

muddy but elated

We started riding at 12.50, anticipated a time of 3.5 hours so it was going to be a close shave to get on the run before the 16.30 cut off.  This didn’t really make us go any faster but we absorbed gels and flapjacks and rehydration drinks for good measure.  The bike leg is extremely undulating.  Great road surfaces compared to all the potholes in Suffolk, but it was all up, down, up, down.  We never quite managed to draft each other very well as the hobbit could get up hills quickly and the multitasker could get down them quicker.  However, we stayed together and did more chatting.  There was a banana and water oasis at mile 20 by the Sandringham stud where we found other cyclists, saw various people with punctures and learned someone had already broken their collarbone falling off.  Undeterred we pedalled on.  At one point the multitasker got ahead and two nice “sweepers” picked me up and let me draft behind them to catch her up.  I swear we were doing 60mph! 🚴😁.  We made it to Holkham Hall where there is a little “out and back” round the obelisk.  This was the only time we could see who was behind or ahead of us and I was grateful to be able to say “we’re not last!” As I realised the person 200 yards behind us was supergirl.  This was extraordinary.  Supergirl is a top cyclist averaging 18 mph.  She had set out on the bike ride a minute or two before us.  What had happened?  Turns out, supergirl and ironwoman’s team name was the prescient “wrong direction”!   There were moments on the bike ride when the multitasker was flagging.  But like a true superhero she didn’t moan about her creaky knee or agonising sacroiliac joints, she just pedalled.  I hadn’t taken on quite enough hobbit nutrition so by mile 43 there was a loss of momentum (understatement for grinding halt) but a gel soon sorted it and then suddenly we were back in transition, more sunscreen and off on the run. (3h32mins on the bike – just made the cut off!)

The “run” – 7 miles sand dunes 1 mile mud

The first bit of the run goes past the finish line where loads of finished superheroes were basking in their glory – so we had to run past them really fast to look as though we were trying!  But then we got to a raised bank where the heat was radiating up off the ground and it felt like an oven and we just had to stop and walk.  At this point, the small voice of supergirl was heard and she came running up behind us, with ironwoman trailing behind.  They had got lost, had to stop at a bike shop and ask directions, then lost each other again after a pee stop.  Ironwoman did not look well, but she was absolutely determined to carry on, so we agreed to stick together and walk.  But then we reached the sand dunes and almost ground to a halt.  Even just walking across the sand was hard in that heat so we struggled on slower and slower.  There was a curious mirage in the sand of a tropical cocktail bar with grass skirts, Hawaiian Lei & pina colada.  The multitasker had one (pina colada) & perked up considerably!

Eventually we got to the wooded area off Holkham beach and tried a bit of jogging but ironwoman suddenly felt faint and got goosebumps and looked really poorly.  Luckily there was a Marshall station so we took on water and poured water over her and just walked on – no more running.

Finally, we got to the last bit which involved crossing all the creeks to get back to the start over the muddy marsh.  Getting wet feet was initially lovely but soon we were meeting deep creeks which we had to jump down and crawl up trying not to lose our trainers in the mud.  I failed.  The multitasker hauled me out but the trainers were unable to come with me.  Actually it was better barefoot.  By this time I had lost the capacity to make any decisions and nearly got stuck on one side of a creek with sheer sides wondering if I would ever make it out of the mud.  The multitasker was clearly enjoying herself – times like that you need an army Major sorting out the troops:  luckily, the great thing about Norfolk Superhero is you have your superhero buddy to egg you on (or drag you through the mud!) whenever you are flagging.  I think we even ran a bit towards the finish and then stumble-waded through the final creek to cross the finish line – all 4 of us hand in hand. (2h 34 min)

……and we beat number 77 & 78 who got the wooden spoon!

7h38min27seconds all done.

What’s next?

Massive thanks to everyone who has put up with us, massive thanks to the organisers and the amazing marshalls who were SO supportive and a massive rest.  Before we started the multitasker said – “do it again next year?” the answer was NO!  But now it’s – “can we do it every year?”

If we keep going, we could win the zimmer cup (combined age of superhero team > 100) in 2024 – so we’ll keep you all posted!

 

Sport on Sunday

Week 16

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

superhobbit, second breakfsat goings on in hobbiton
Sunday Easter Sunday – a day of rest!  Surprisingly got 10k steps in walking up Dover’s Hill.
Monday Slow 5km run but at least I did something
Tuesday Work – official rest day.  Snap General election announced. This means the justice crusader will be standing for parliament and my training will take a backseat.  Clearly we must get rid of the current government so this doesn’t happen again 😂
Wednesday 21 mile bike ride very slowly.  Apple crumble Torq gel is delicious and putting hydration tablet in water bottle meant I actually peed when I got home.  Neither of those things made me faster, but I definitely recovered better…….
Thursday Rest day – lego exhibition of superheroes! 24,000 steps, 3 godsons in a state of perpetual over-excitement and SUPERHEROES!
Friday  Election- related tasks
Saturday Election related campaigning.

So it is with sincere apologies that this is the last blog post. Hope you’ve enjoyed it and got something from it. Electioneering has taken over until June 8th and then I will need a rest.

If I recover I will post a report from the actual event, because I will need to moan about how much pain we both went through!

jongleur-de-vie, super-bad multitasker Multi-tasking major activities
Sunday  Easter Sunday – must be a day of rest?
Monday  

24.95km on the bike and the wonder that is new watch app feature 🙂

Tuesday  

3km run including dog collection.  (that’s the red splodges indicating slowness)

Wednesday probably horses were involved
Thursday Work, resting up!
Friday Work, so rest day
Saturday Lifesaving activities

Sport on Sunday

Week 15

What have we managed this week?

superhobbit, second breakfsat Goings on in Hobbiton
Sunday 33.65 miles on the new bike in glorious sunshine!  1343 kCal burned – more than my daily intake…….lesson one – take more fuel, had to walk up one hill due to exhaustion and Kendal mint cake had not yet kicked in.
Monday  Rest day – working

We’ve decided real superheroes only train 3 days a week! (see below)

Tuesday “active recovery” day (yes, I did make that up!)  a bit of treadmill at work at 3km/hr which I’m counting as active recovery.  Oh, and a mad dash over to a heart attack on the ward……which wasn’t!
Wednesday 6km run in 40 minutes, which is OK.  Didn’t have time for more as had leaflets to deliver for the justice crusader. 23091 steps in all today!

Bought a range of energy gels and hydration tablets for training bike ride tomorrow with super-bikegirl (the competition) – learning from my mistakes 😉

Thursday 31 mile bike ride with super-bikegirl in unexpectedly good weather – have tripled my average bike mileage this week!  I like riding with girls – we do civilised things like stop for coffee and stop for lunch!  No walking up hills this time.

Did try the Torq rhubarb & custard gel which was addictively delicious & highly recommended and also the mango chew which saved me from shaky legs after a 9 mile top speed dash for the train home!  However, then I got a sugar crash 2 hours later despite milk and nuts for protein.  More fuel testing required!

Friday Rest day – with leaflets which don’t seem to deliver themselves 🙁
Saturday Ran 11km of a 12km loop.  Orange-banana torq gel during the 1km walk – effective but not very nice!  It was hard work in the Cotswolds: hills don’t really feature in Suffolk.  Had a rehydration tab after which was great and an Ote protein bar which I wouldn’t have again (a bit like a milky way…..).  Need to start thinking about a hydration belt……..
jongleur-de-vie, super-bad multitasker Multi-tasking Major activities
Sunday It’s official.  Running and biking hurts my knees.  Real superheroes only run once a week and train 3 days a week.  Overtraining syndrome is a thing, right?  So we’re avoiding that!
Monday New routine – 30 minutes biking and running on a Monday
Tuesday Rest day – spoiled by having to shout at children
Wednesday Walked 20km (that’s 12 of your old -fashioned miles!)
Thursday Shouting at kids instead of cycling with the hobbit & super-bikegirl – a bit cross.
Friday Good Friday – an hour’s cycle
Saturday Horses, so a Good Saturday 🙂

 

 

Sport on Sunday

Week 14

Have we recovered?  Have we taken our own advice about retraining slowly?

superhobbit, second breakfsat goings on in Hobbiton
Sunday Well, I did actually manage a yoga session and a 30 length swim last week, in the end.  Today I ran a circuit which turend out to be 4.57 km at an average 6.36 minutes per kilometre.  So far I am taking my own advice and retraining slowly.  I even had a multivitamin and mineral afterwards!
Monday  work day so rest day
Tuesday  work – did manage the desk treadmill slowly
Wednesday Cycled to the swimming pool for a 1km swim and back with a lunch stop.  Not exactly training, but definitely gentle!
Thursday  another rest day – taking own advice!
Friday  Kettlebells session
Saturday  Muscle pain after kettlebells – totally deconditioned.  Managed a 6.48 km run at an average 6.39 minutes per kilometre.  Slow progress, but progress!
jongleur-de-vie, super-bad multitasker Multi-tasking Major activities
Sunday I’ve been team chasing today: four horses thunder round a (huge) cross country course together. Fastest team wins. I’ve never done it before but it’s been on my bucket list for a good twenty years. I was worried it might be the last thing on my bucket list if it didn’t go so well.

Anyway, it was amazing, one of the most exciting things I’ve done for years. So now I’ve done that I can get back to focussing on superheroes!!

Monday  galloping
Tuesday  galloping
Wednesday  galloping 🙂 

yes, I know I’m not really focussing on superheroes……

Thursday  work, so rest day
Friday Lighter mornings = run before work = joy
Saturday  horse – related exercise.

Sport on Sunday

Week 13

unlucky for some?

superhobbit, second breakfsat goings on in hobbiton
Sunday  Still have a fever!  Taking my own advice is VERY hard.  No training this week, no duathlon next sunday.  Only reassured by knowing another superhero from another team has had the same thing for 4 weeks.  The end is in sight!
jongleur-de-vie, super-bad multitasker multi-tasking major activities
Sunday Feel better! went running 🙂 3.5km run with four kids and four dogs
Monday 6.4km run with four dogs and the sunrise
Tuesday  my knee hurts – running is bad 🙁
Wednesday  horse-related activity. 37000 horse steps. Horse was pretty tired too.
Thursday work, so rest day
Friday Went off to save horseriders from certain death, so managed a run round the course before hand
Saturday Bit of running, bit of life saving – all in a day’s work

Sport on Sunday

Week 12

Is it the end of the road for our trusty superheroes?

superhobbit, second breakfsat goings on in hobbiton
Sunday poorly hobbit.

Sadly, there is nothing to see here 🙁 tune in again next week when normal service should resume! 

jongleur-de-vie, super-bad multitasker major multi-tasking activities
Sunday exciting training course – welcome, come in, what’s your name? this person has collapsed can you start resuscitation…..eek!
Monday  Still not up to much after illness
Tuesday  just horse-steps, lovely horse-steps
Wednesday  Did some crazy horse charging/jumping/chasing stuff
Thursday  Work – that had better be a rest day.
Friday Can’t walk! My psoas muscles have seized up after Wednesday
Saturday  OWWWWW!  When will I  feel better?

Sport on Sunday

Week 11

Disaster has struck – the snotmonster has stopped play this week.  It’s panic stations: we’re nearly halfway through the training regime!

superhobbit, second breakfsat goings on in hobbiton
Sunday Banned by the justice crusader from attending the sportive, mostly spent recovering after a bit of gardening
Monday  work
Tuesday  work
Wednesday Still feeling rather fragile – best solution is gardening in the sun.  Yes, no exercise for ages.  Feel too rough to care!
Thursday Aha! The snotmonster strikes.  Can’t believe such a long prodrome
Friday  Managed a seaside walk with the students
Saturday  Supposed to be cycling 30 miles around York………..
jongleur-de-vie, super-bad multitasker multitasking major activities
Sunday half an hour on the rollers, exhausting!! And an hour on horse, cantering. Heaven after a tedious overnight shift. 
Monday Monday evening (thank god it’s getting lighter) I took five kids and four dogs for a run. They cycled. Only two casualties : pretty good. 
Tuesday  Last serious horseride of the season
Wednesday  I haven’t done very much
Thursday  work, work, work
Friday  work, illness, no exercise
Saturday  rest day!

Sport on Sunday

Week 10

The multitasker’s last week of regular rides and hilarious bike/horse bricks.  Next week we start team training!

superhobbit, second breakfsat goings on in Hobbiton
Sunday Hampstead Heath is rather hilly!  I ran 10.66km up hill, down dale, through muddy puddles and I was very slow.
Monday usual rest day
Tuesday unusual rest day – oops.  Work doesn’t half get in the way of suffering!
Wednesday  A little bit of gardening……not quite on the schedule!  Feeling below par.
Thursday Distinctly below par.  Managed some yoga and a short bike ride on the new bike.  Extraordinary lightness of bike uphill is great, but it was quite windy so on the flat I kept getting blown off course which was alarming.
Friday Still feeling dreadful.  A 1km swim helped, short term.
Saturday Really feeling rough – it was sunny and warm so finished weeding the garden.  

at least spring has sprung!

Have not managed a long run this week or a quick run.  Supposed to be doing a 50 mile sportive tomorrow…….

jongleur-de-vie, super-bad multitasker multitasking major activities
Sunday Extreme wakefulness: after driving back from Newbury and getting home at half ten Saturday night I did an overnight shift, 90 minutes sleep, then went riding, mucked out four horses then went back to work for five hours. Hideous. Haven’t seen my kids since Friday morning except for ten minutes this morning. All my family cross with me as a result. Not keeping all the balls in the air with the juggling this weekend. Must try harder. If only I could exercise in my sleep.
Monday 4km run around the fields with four dogs: they make any run more fun. The Labrador checked out all the ponds. 
Tuesday 1 3/4 hours in the gym – bike-run brick.  Fasted so fat burning.  Excellent.  I was tired but feeling pleased to have done a longer training session(finally)
Wednesday Bike/Horse “brick” workout.  Satisfying.  26000 horse steps. Exhausted by the end of this. 
Thursday Good swim, 1400 metres. 
Friday Went out for supper. Very tired. Drank wine. 
Saturday 11000 steps walking round a cross country course working before driving back to work for another 12 hours. After 26 hours of continuous work I’m a bit tired. 

Sport on Sunday

Week 9

Did we get a brick in?……read on:

superhobbit, second breakfsat goings on in hobbiton
Sunday 12km run done.  Surprisingly legs and brain coped at the time.  I am going to lose a toenail though…..
Monday rest day
Tuesday extra rest day – 10k steps done but otherwise body too tired.  Obviously the extra running distance has knock on effects.
Wednesday Brick number one in the bag.  10 mile bike and 5km run straight afterwards in a PB of 29.06 – every km under 6 minutes.  

Not sure what got into me!  Amazingly, this was actually on the schedule.

Thursday Swim – feels like recovery.  This week garmin said I had done 70 lengths so I believed it.
Friday Sufferfest time (violator !) – so enjoyable on new bike, can’t wait for cadence and speed meter for power stats *geek face*
Saturday Strength training: sufferfest has lots of amazing yoga videos, no suffering involved!
jongleur-de-vie, super-bad multitasker multi-tasking major activities
Sunday  

This week: recover from cold. 
half hour bike ride, faster than last time but shorter only 13km, and an hour on a horse.
Monday 20000 horse steps, not riding my horse (he’s got heat rash which is really sore) and riding in some horrid hard saddle which gave me a blistered bum. Nice.
Tuesday 16000 horse steps. And some looking after ill daughter. (Bad multitasking in action)
Wednesday 7000 steps, looked after ill daughter but made her come and look at kitchens which was a bit mean. Actually she was feeling better and enjoyed opening and shutting every single door/drawer she could. 
Thursday Hideous 13 hour day at work. Returned home from work at half eight and couldn’t face swimming. Felt guilty. This neither got me fitter nor made me healthier.
Friday Supposed to finish work at two, finished at half five, drive to a course in Newbury.
Saturday Got up early. Ran round Newbury racecourse. 5km. Felt smug all day that I’d managed to run before the course. And learnt lots on a really great course. Had to spend the afternoon kneeling in the mud and rain getting pretend casualties onto stretchers. I fear I’m turning into a trauma pervert, like all the trauma doctors I’ve despised over the years. I will be in an orange jumpsuit before I know it (HEMs rather than Guantanamo Bay).

Sport on Sunday

Week 8

Our final week of messing about.  Into a higher gear as of next week with “bricks”.  Or at least, that’s the plan……

superhobbit, second breakfsat goings on in hobbiton
Sunday Oof.  I am pooped! First 10k run in 1:07:14 at 5.6mph (0.1 mph faster than last week’s “long slow run”!!!  Proof that my interval training works??)  I’ve got my  flight socks on for compression and I have foam rolled my legs into a pulp.

The legs and the distance were not the difficulty – the psychology was.  Got round this two ways – one, knowing I had to tell you what I had done made me tell myself “I can & I will”, two, I got hot & left my hat on a post in the “loop” at what would be 9km when I came back round – no 9km run no hat.  (favourite hat!)  There were 2 teeny bits of walking – once when the hill was just too steep for words (it probably wasn’t!) and the other time collecting aforementioned hat.

Chuffed 🙂

Monday Bought a new bike! (hopefully will go faster…..) awaiting delivery

Wonder woman is here, we are having a holiday so rest day & dog walking, too.  Happy days.

Tuesday Oh dear, wonder woman has turned into boot camp commandant.  She made me go to a spinning class!  She loves me enough to let me hate her……

😉

Wednesday It’s full on boot camp! swimming 1km in the morning and a 5km tempo run in the afternoon.  Feel remarkably perky, now, considering how I thought I was dying at the 4.5km mark….
Thursday Wonder woman and poppy dog had to leave.  Accidental rest day.  (Storm Doris stopped play)
Friday Kettlebells, spa and picked up the bike – happy Hobbit
Saturday It rained on my new bike so I took it home & created a new pain cave with new turbo trainer instead.  Sufferfest ensued.
jongleur-de-vie, super-bad multitasker multi-tasking major activities
Sunday Everything hurts!!! Legs, neck, back, ancient creaky knees. God this reaching my forties is tedious. I’ve still got my stupid cold/cough. I didn’t get round to reading whether I should exercise when ill so I still don’t know whether I’m supposed to or not, so have erred on side of caution and just done moderate amounts.

I worked overnight, had less than two hours sleep and had horrid red snotty eyes and a sore throat when I got home at eight fifteen in the snow. So husband one made me go running (6km!).  The upside was that his trousers fell down twice without him noticing.

We ran home, lit the wood burner to dry out the wet plaster in the holey house, then ran home in the snow. The three dogs were sooooo happy. Lurcher, collie, Labrador. They were so pleased to be  out for a run. I was cold and achey with a sore leg.

Then I went riding in the snow. Then I went out for lunch. Then ten pin bowling. Wow. I’m like a superhuman. Only with red swollen eyes.

Somewhere in there I spent some time with my kids, saw my parents and step parents and slept for ten minute intervals in the car. 

Monday It’s half term. I’m trying to be a good mother for a few days. So we are going to the “cold hell-tell” (a campsite) for three days so I will take my trainers but there is a good chance I won’t do any ‘exercise’ as such. But it will be fun. 

20000 steps and 113 minutes of exercise, i.e. I rode two horses (not at the same time obviously, even I’m not that dumb).

 

Tuesday  meg's half term run

16000 steps. A really fast 3km run along the coast track near burnham deepdale after a very slow walk with six kids.
Wednesday  

14500 steps of wandering about with kids at very slow speed. And I slept on a sofa for an hour. It was lovely.

 

 

Thursday  

11500 steps of walking on brancaster beach. Very slowly. Pesky children with their short legs. Good for the soul though. 
Friday  

11000 steps, wandering again. But at beautiful walsingham. 
Saturday  

35000 horse steps. Five and a half hours on a horse, exhausted. Couldn't move Sunday morning