Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Signing Off... an Outlaw

That's it then folks, it's done, completed, I am officially an Outlaw.

Let's get the race bit out of the way, as noted in previous posts my target was for my time to be under 13:00 hours, but after all the hard work I was really hoping for around 12:30 hours. Not bad for a rookie.

I'm pleased to say my final time was 12:15:10, undoubtedly I'm over the moon, but I wasn't that aware of my overall time whilst out competing. The longer the day went on, the more just finishing became achievement enough.

My Splits:
2.4 mile Swim - 1:18:31
112 mile Cycle - 6:21:51
26.2 mile Run - 4:12:56

The swim was great, really enjoyable, it was the first time I'd done a mass start and there was plenty of contact throughout the course but all part of the fun. As I kicked off I got a twinge of cramp in my calf, and also again in the first third, I thought it may come back to haunt me later in the race, but luckily it didn't.

The cycle was also great, I got myself sorted on the lap around the lake and then it was out on the roads. The course is well known to me which gave me great confidence, however I was conscious of how fast I was going very early on. I had told friends and family estimated times of where I'd be planning on going 16mph, and I was pushing more like 18mph. In fact I did the first 56 miles in 3:01. It was great to see people around the course however not where I'd estimated. Thanks to everyone for coming out on the bike course, especially Catherine and Rusty who stayed for both laps of the South loop. It was great to see some club mates out on the course too, I caught Lisa on the A614, and I caught a certain someone else trying to find cover to take a pee ;-). I also got swallowed up by Chris Bennett as he was flying round his second lap of the South loop. Those words shared with club mates and fellow competitors just keeps you going. The guys on the feed stations were great too, the pirates and the Absolute crew especially, cheers to @jimboc29 for his encouragement.

I was hoping to go sub 4 hours on the run but my bike time was so far ahead of what I planned, it was all I had left to go 4:15, I'm pretty certain most people would be proud of that without the swim/cycle first. Again the support on the run was amazing, friends/family, club mates on feed stations, coach Steve and everyone at the Absolute Triathlon tent gave me something to aim for. The second half of the run was like nothing I've known mentally, as I passed the finishing funnel for the 3rd and last time as I started the last lap I had to blinker myself with my left hand to get passed it and keep going until it was my turn. Forcing myself forward and to keep running, just keep running. But the feeling of relief when you have 4 bands around your wrist and you head for the red carpet towards the finishing line makes the whole 6 months worthwhile. Smile, put your hands in the air, you're an Outlaw!

We may have only been racing ourselves, but on July 1st we were all racing.

Some final thanks, Sam who was there from start to finish, Mum and Dad, Lummo and Gabby coming all the way from London just for the race, Paul Manningtons words of encouragement at the swim start, Ann and Dave for being there and sponsorship support, Marco and Vic and Marcus and Janice, Ella and family for making the effort to come and watch, sorry I didn't see you at the end, everyone from Absolute but especially the Eakring lot who gave me the initial belief, Brendon and John Budworth for beasting me on the bike during training early doors, Nick Bestwick for the constant advice over the last few months, Coach Steve and everyone else behind the scenes at Absolute, a great club with great people. I hope I haven't forgot anyone, but congrats to everyone who took part and everyone who completed. Not too mention the great organisation of the race and every single volunteer, marshall and helper.

The amount of money the Karen Green Foundation has raised has been amazing. Mick was followed by a film crew on his bike so fingers crossed we get some great coverage for the foundation. Mick did a great job finishing the race and crossing the line with his 2 daughters, well done Mick, we're all really proud to be raising money for such a great cause. Still not too late to sponsor me either ;-) A MASSIVE thanks to everyone who gave SO generously, I've all but hit my £1500 target.

So, where next I hear you ask? At the moment, I'm not sure I could commit to another Iron-distance, although the draw of competing in an actual Ironman branded race may be too much to ignore over time. Although I'm very proud to call myself an Outlaw, I don't feel I can call myself an Ironman, call it a technicality but that's how I feel. I think this years Outlaw will be hard to top, sharing it with everyone was so special.

For the rest of this year, I'll take part in the Absolute Club Championships at the Erewash Tri, I've got lucky and scored  great team in the Club Relays back at Holme Pierrepont (Absolute Outlaws - Karl Glendenning, Nick Bestwick and Dave 'Iron-Missile' Crossley), I'm entered in the Last Minute Tri at Southwell as I'd like to do it fresh and not the day after a 20 mile training run, then it's the Nottingham Half-Marathon where I'm after a new PB, I'm going to finish the season where I started my triathlon story last October at the Broxtowe Duathlon, I'll be interested to see how far I've come in a year. I still don't see myself as a Triathlete, but the rookie journey continues.

As for beyond that, I'd like to do the Vitruvian half iron-distance next year then I feel I'll know where I am come my 3rd season with good miles in these rookie bike legs. I have aspirations but lets see where this journey takes me and see if I can keep improving.

Thanks for everyones support along the way, I wouldn't have been able to do it without you and it wouldn't have been anywhere near as enjoyable... yes you heard me... enjoyable.

Matt_Outlaw xx

Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Outlaw... The Final Countdown

So that's about it folks, all the work is done, now just a few hours training this week, and this time next Sunday I'll be out there. I've been pretty relaxed about it all so far but it's starting to get very real. The thing with Triathlon is there is so much kit and so many things to remember, this is multiplied when it come to Iron distance with all the extra nutrition/hydration and the changes of clothing. I've made a list so fingers crossed I don't forget something, I guess it's not far to nip home if I do, but it's fair to say I'm pretty stressed about it all.

I've been so incredibly touched by how generous people have been when it comes to sponsoring me. As I'm sure you're aware by now I'm racing for the Karen Green Foundation, find the details of what they do by following their logo on the right hand side of this page. I just want to mention a few people who have helped me raise the money so far, I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to asking for money. Ann Lumley has been amazing in asking pretty much everyone to sponsor me, Ella at work has asked anyone who has come into the office, and Sally and Sue took my sponsorship form home to get people who I've never met give generously, thanks guys you're amazing. Everyone has given so generously, some of the individual amounts have been amazing. I also want to tag on a little extra thanks to Sue at work, she offered to cover for me so I don't have to work on Saturday. It may not sound much but I can't explain the amount of stress this has released, it also means I can get my mug in group photo that is being planned :-), thanks Sue.

A few more special thanks, Lummo, all your support and enthusiasm and words of wisdom are always appreciated (not to mention your Garmin) see you at the Nottingham half-marathon??? Sam, who has had to put up with triathlon 24/7, I have been incredibly selfish and I really appreciate your support. Whether it be that you don't see me for hours while I'm out training or that when you do I'm too tired to be much company. Thanks for humouring all my talk of triathlon, I can't imagine how boring it must be for you ;-). And finally someone as yet I've overlooked. Matt my housemate, he's kind of been there through everything I've been through in the last few years. He may be untidy but he does have very straight hair. Thanks for all your support (I think), and thanks for the amazing donation Gonzo.

I want to just quickly mention a club mate too, someone who inspired me to even enter this race in the first place. Unfortunately she has had to pull out due to injury, she will still be doing the bike leg of a relay but I know this is a poor substitute for her. It really affected me when I heard the news last week, I didn't know what to say, I can't imagine going through everything we've been through (winter and all) and then pulling out so close to the race. But needless to say she will be back fully fit and stronger than ever, I know she has set her sights on next years Outlaw. She is stronger and more determined than even she realises, when it's her time she'll be an Outlaw without doubt.

Finally a word for my Mum and Dad, I had a nice chat with them yesterday catching up after Dad had gambled badly all week at Royal Ascot, still they had a great time I think. After we finished the call Dad rang back, he often does this if there's something he's forgotten. Well this time it was just to tell me how proud he and Mum were of me. Thanks guys, brought a tear to my eye too Dad. We're not overly emotional when it comes to words as a family which is why I told him to stop being soft :-).

Some final race info for anyone wanting to come and spectate. My race number is 302.

I'd recommend checking out the info from One Step Beyond:


An estimate of my race day for anyone supporting:

06:00 - Swim Start
07:30ish - Swim Finish/Bike Start
14:00-15:00 - Bike Finish/Run Start
17:30-19:00 - Finish (hopefully)

NB: All times are subject to change :-/

Everything starts and finishes around Holme Pierrepont. You'll be able to track my bike splits after 40.2, 66.4 & 89.5 miles, and periodically on the run via StuWeb Timing website.

It'll be great to see some friendly faces along the way.

I guess that's about it for now, if anyone wishes to donated, please follow the link on the right to my Just Giving page, Matto_out xx

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Let the Taper Commence...

Today feels like a major battle won. For all those following the Fink training schedule or something similar then the last 3 weeks is the taper, the gradual decrease in training until race day, and that's where I'm at. My programme peaked at 20 hours this week and comes down to what seems like a breeze at 14.5 hours next. To put it into some sort of context that is the kind of amount I was doing 10 weeks ago around week 17. I'm delighted with my commitment and the amount of effort I've put in, since week 16, 12 weeks ago, I've only missed 2 training sessions. It's taken a large degree of effort and a huge amount of sacrifice but that's what it's all about. If you want something hard enough.

Now I'm under no illusion. Race day will be something else altogether. So far I've swam 1.9miles, I've ridden 100miles and I've ran 22miles. I've done as much as 7.5hours in a day. But July 1st will really be into the unknown, just to remind you I'm aiming to do 2.4miles swim, 112miles on the bike and 26.2 miles run all under 13hours.

Whilst doing this challenge to become an Outlaw I'm raising money for a great cause. The Karen Green Foundation is a new charity raising money for organisations and individuals researching, treating and fighting leukaemia and cancers of the blood. Please follow the link to there website on the right or if you like you can sponsor me via the link to my Just Giving page.

Thanks Matto_w xx  

Saturday, 2 June 2012

4 Weeks To Go...

Not long now folks, 4 weeks tomorrow to be precise. Just over a week of peak training before the taper begins, and to be honest I can't wait. I really love training but for the last few weeks it's just been too much, 19.5hrs this week, and 20 next. It's starting to take it toll. Thanks to all those around me for there support, especially Sam who gets the short end of the stick more often then not, and often can't do right for doing wrong. I'll make it up to you soon I promise.

So this week, I was way too tired to get up for the early morning Tuesday swim session with Absolute Tri Club, so I stayed in bed. Got back from work as usual and did a decent hour run. Wednesday is my usual tortuous day... up at 5am to do a brick session before work, an hour on the bike followed by a 30 min run, it was distinctly average and as with most of my sessions of late, I've felt tired. Finished work in time to make it to open water at Holme Pierrepont, thanks to Steve's instructions I managed 3000m, a bit of neck chafing but all good. I love the feeling of swimming open water. Thursday, pool session after work followed by a 1 hour 30 min run, not keen on finishing training after 9.30pm, but needs must at the moment. I had Friday off work so did my long ride, 5.5 hours at 16.5mph with an hour run off. Trying to get the balance right as I don't want to leave my marathon on the bike course. Today keeps it real! I did 1 hour 45 mins on the bike at a steady Z1 16mph, the long run off was really tough for the last 2.5 miles, I have at least got through the psychological barrier of 20 miles, but it's hard to keep the mind straight. I'm still daunted by the fact I've got to run another 6 miles, not too mention the rest of the bike first. I finish the week tomorrow with an hour in the pool and a 1 hour 30 min ride (probably in the rain looking at it), before spending the rest of the day with my closest friends and family. I'm not especially up on the news as I'm so busy, but I think it's something to do with the Queen.

I want to tell a little anecdote if I may? I've always been a decent runner, but at school I was always second best, there was this other guy, and for the sake of this story we'll call him 'Tom'. He was a great runner and way better than me. Year 11 at the end of term was the whole schools cross country run, I was already resigned to come second, and second I came, behind 'Tom'. So.. the following year... I was in Lower 6th Form, and 'Tom', he'd left to do A-Levels at some other college. This was my year. As we set off this young undetermined runner set off at lightening pace, I followed and awaited him to blow up and burn out. Needless to say he didn't, he won and yes you guess it, I came second :-).

The moral of the story isn't that I'm going to lay this demon to rest and win Outlaw, you may laugh at this, winning is finishing :-). It's to highlight the support I received from all areas. I've not seen 'Tom' probably for at least 10 years, but via social networking 'Tom' has been keeping up with and 'liking' stuff, and has sponsored me, for which I'm very grateful. Not just him but to everyone. It's going towards a great charity with great people involved. The great thing about the people behind the charity is the basic mentality. When something tragic happens, the thought wasn't who/what is out there to help me/us, it was how can I/we use this to help others. I think this mentality is amazing and inspirational, and it's why I'm getting behind the Karen Green Foundation. Hit the KGF link on the right to find out more, better still hit the Just Giving logo and pledge your support.

Thanks for your time y'all, I'm off to pretend I have a life. It's not even 5pm yet the evening is my oyster :-) Matto_out xx

ps I wouldn't call myself a Coldplay fan (at all!) but this is one of my favourite songs, and has a special meaning to me from way back. The lyrics suit how I feel right now...

"Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard"

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Journey So Far...

Time to recap and find some perspective. The Outlaw is just under 6 weeks away, when people ask how much training I'm doing and what I'm doing they all seem confident I'll do it and be fine. My personal opinion varies, not even day to day, but minute to minute at times. After work last Saturday I did and hour on the bike followed by a 16 mile run, 2 hours 15 mins. It was a real mental battle. Why am I even doing this? My friends all think I'm pretty much mental, and I can't disagree, all I know is, that when I start something, I see it through. Life feels like it's on hold at the minute, everything I'm planning etc is "after July 1st", it's kind of a catchphrase now. The last few weeks have really hit home, 16 hours a week training was just about manageable, but there isn't enough time in the week to do 19/20. I survive, go to work, eat, shower and sleep, otherwise I train. 3 more weeks before the taper, and honestly, it can't come soon enough.

I read a great article about why people do Ironman, it asked people anonymously to comment and say why they did it. There was all the usual stuff like to be fit and healthy, and to be able to eat what you want. But why go to extremes? For me it's simple, everyone wants to be noticed. I generally don't talk about myself, but it's really great for people to ask you about what you're doing and why, people seem generally interest, they may be just assessing the crazy guy, but hey I'll take it. It all means nothing though, unless you see it through.

So I've come along way... I can ride my bike without falling over, this definitely took longer than expected. I can swim 400 metres without stopping, which I couldn't when I joined absolute. I've been over 80 miles on the bike, swam a couple of km and can run 5km (ish) in 17:15. I done a couple of Triathlons, all be it sprints, I've been half iron distance 70.3. And I put a tick in the box for open water swimming last Friday. There's still so much to do, but I'm going to do it, 3 more heavy weeks, then bring on the taper. I keep reminding myself this journey is Rookie to Iron-distance. I met up with some of the guys on Sunday to do the cycle leg, well I did and hour and they did the route, which was just as well 'cause at that pace my legs may well have fallen off.

In all seriousness, I've got an opportunity to raise money for a great charity, where some great people are involved. I've already been blown away by peoples generosity, so please keep giving if you can. My target was £1000, but I'm hoping to raise more so every little helps. You can get more details about the Karen Green Foundation by clicking on the logo to the right, you can also go straight to my Just Giving Page by hitting their logo too.

It's now about 8.30pm, the training starts again tomorrow so I'm settling down for the night. Early nights are a regular occurrence, including weekends, one of the many sacrifices along the way. I just want to say thanks to my Mum and Dad, they have come to both my races so far and despite the fact I'm age group 30-34, it's really good to have them there. They will be there on July 1st hopefully with a lot of other people willing me to the finish. 6 weeks to go, put it in your diary and I'll hopefully see you there.

Matto_out xx

PS Another old Biffy song today, tbh I always thought the lyrics were "the message is... to see this through", they're not but they should be :-)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Tri, The Gig and The Baby.

Today I completed my 2nd ever Triathlon, and my last race before the big event. One Step Beyonds sprint Tri at Southwell, 400m Swim, 17.6km Bike and 5km Run.
Swim: 08:34
T1: 01:19
Bike: 34:44
T2: 01:10
Run: 17:13
TOTAL: 01:03:00
A well run event and great conditions, plenty of work to do if I want to be fast but enjoyed it. I've just received the text confirming I came 121st out of 600 and 22nd in my age group (Male 30-34). Great turn out and great to see so many Absolute Tri Club mates.

My band are playing the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham on Tuesday, check out our latest song on the YouTube player and follow the link for detail http://www.rescuerooms.com/gig-guide/186/love-ends-disaster--foreign-office.

I also just want to say congratulations to Helen and Howy on the birth of their daughter, good work guys, look forward to seeing you soon :-).

Thanks to everyone so far for sponsoring me, your generosity has been amazing, but still along way to go to reach my target. Check out the Karen Green Foundation link to the right to find out who I'm raising money for, and follow the Just Giving logo to sponsor me online.

Short and sweet but time is limited! :-)

7 weeks to go :-/

And out.

Monday, 7 May 2012

It's been a while!

Hey all, so I've been pretty busy, and I've really struggled to find time to even sit down and write a blog. The good news is I haven't missed a training session in the last 6 weeks... approximately the same time since I wrote my last blog.

A quick overview then, otherwise I'll bore you senseless :-). As I said, training is going well and I've remained committed, work is ok, but the old social life has suffered, and my house looks like a bomb-site with kit everywhere. Importantly I did my first triathlon, I started training in October so it seemed strange that I was no longer a newbie at Absolute Triathlon Club, but I had no race experience. And what an experience it was... wet, windy and cold... therefore slow... but as I said afterwards, if that didn't put my off nothing will, as soon as the shivering had stopped and I was able to make sentences I was looking forward to my next event. It feels like I've hardly stayed dry in the last few weeks of training, hopefully some better weather is on the way.

Yesterday I did Half Iron-distance:

Swim 1.2miles - 00:40:04 (target 00:45:00)
Bike 56miles - 03:18:03 (target 03:30:00)
Run Half Marathon (13.1miles) - 01:44:34 (target 02:00:00) 

Needless to say I was pretty happy, the thought process change from feeling confident to the realisation I have to go twice as far in just 8 weeks. The last couple of miles on the run were pretty tough. I was pleased though with my race strategy and fuelling.

I'm looking forward now to next Sunday when I'm doing a Sprint Distance Tri in Southwell. It should be a good event with lots of club mates there, and the weather can't be any worse than my first one. After that it's just time to focus on the main event.

I'm pleased to say I also have managed to set up an online donations page... any sponsor is greatly appreciated for a great cause and helps give me more motivation to succeed:

Find out more about this great charity at:

Finally just a quick few thank you's... Steve and all the team at Absolute Triathlon Club, volunteers and friends alike, the club really helps me keep going and I wouldn't be where I am without you all... really looking forward to the open water as soon as it warms up.
Friends and family, thanks for your support, interest and sponsorship, looking forward to some good catching up already after July 1st.
And finally a special thanks to Sam for your support, understanding and tolerance. Not long now.

Matto_out xx

PS Some old school Biffy Clyro has been helping me out music wise, check out the you tube video...

Iron man, I return to you, to be the way you wanted
But I have no strength or the decency in me to be a hero
But we still fall down, yeah you'll still fall down 

Iron man, I refuse to be the way that you would want me
Still I've got no strength but the sense in me to see I'm not a hero
But we still fall down, still fall down
And we'll still fall down, and we still fall