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 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Clumber Park Duathlon and Wedding Bells...

Hello again, this has been the first week when I've not missed a scheduled training session. I'm absolutely shattered, but I'm starting to feel like every second counts with 14 weeks to go. It's roughly about the time I started running about a year ago. I started training for a 10k at Wollaton Park and haven't really stopped since, it's scary to think how far I've come but how far I've still got to go. Nothing out of the ordinary this week, except I substituted my long run on Saturday for the Clumber Park Duathlon.

This was only my second attempt at a multi-sport event and lets be honest, I need all the experience I can get. If it's possible I've come back even more addicted. I really enjoyed the event and the competition, and despite the 25 minute delay due to fog, it went pretty well. A quality school boy error as I came out of T2 still wearing my bike helmet and sunglasses, which I had to dash back to drop off but hey, it's all a learning curve :-). I came 64th overall and 30th in my category, under 40's. Not a bad start I guess, the running was ok but still a lot of work to do on the bike. I set out with a goal of going under 02:30:00 for the event.. I should quickly explain... Classic Distance Duathlon is, Run 10k, Bike 40k, Run 5k.

So it went some thing like this:
Run 1 - 39:14
T1 - 01:20
Bike - 01:18:47
T2 - 01:29
Run 2 - 20:46
TOTAL - 02:21:36
I was made up to run a sub 40:00 10k, but a little to disappointed not to go under 20:00 for the 5k, the bike took a lot out of me, but overall I'm satisfied, sub 02:20:00 next time :-).
It was great to see club mate Nick there too, we finished pretty close as well.

On Thursday I finally got my new bike set up, with a great bike fit with Mick at Langdale Lightweights. Delighted to get my Ribble out on the roads finally, so thanks to Mick. I'd highly recommend the bike fit, it makes such a difference, and the new bike is great.
I had a great Saturday night, which I managed to get through by having a sneaky afternoon nap on the sofa, great food and great company, thanks ;-), and it was great to have a quick catch up and cuppa with Catherine today... trying not to neglect my friends too much, although the pressures of time just keep increasing and increasing.

Oh, I nearly forgot... Wedding Bells... not me :-) but my best friend Andy and Gabby finally got engaged. I've always said life isn't like TV or the movies but I'm pleased to say they've pretty much proved me wrong. I was pretty speechless when Andy called to tell me the great news, it'd be an honour and privilege to share there special day so when he asked me to be best man, I was well and truly over the moon. Great people, loads of love to you too, hopefully see you soon.

As for the rest of you, matto_w out xx

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Karen Green Foundation, Training and Other Ramblings

Hi All, I've had a good few days training which I'll run through first. Friday I was off work so I managed a good run and a good solo pool session. Borrowed from the Thursday night session with Absolute Tri Club I did 48x50m off 75secs. Thats a total of 2400m in an hour, steady pace I know but notable as it's the furthest I've been in an hour... and over half race distance. I went for a steady long run saturday evening too, a nice steady pace sub 8min miles for 1hr30mins, not bad after only having 4.5hrs sleep Friday night. I finished off the weekends training today with a 4hr ride, 60 miles at 15mph, again the furtherest I've been... and again over half race distance. It's scary to think how much further I have to go and do it all together, but progress nonetheless, I need to remind myself I'm still a beginner. I'm doing the Clumber Park Duathlon next Saturday so it was good to take in the route today, I did 4 laps of the course so the distance won't be a problem, just need to remember not to get too carried away.

As things start to progress it's important to mention I'm doing the event to raise money for a great charity, The Karen Green Foundation. This is a new charity and one it's great to be involved with, even more so at such an early stage. I never met Karen Green but I'm proud to be raising money in her memory. From what I've heard about here she sounds like my kind of person, great resilience and truly selfless, very inspirational. Please take time to watch this weeks YouTube video which is Mick Green talking at the launch night of The Foundation. You can check out the website for further details here http://www.karengreenfoundation.com. I'll let you know sponsorship details at a later stage when I've got it all sorted, but needless to say I'd be grateful if you could all donate generously.

It leads nicely on to my ramblings, in the UK today is Mothers Day, a day when we remember our Mother, a person who is so often taken for granted. So Mum, thanks for everything, I know I'm not the most patient person but your the best Mum possible, I wouldn't swap you for the world :-). I also went to see my dear old Gran today too... luckily she's got very bad eyesight, or she would have had to look at me sat on her sofa in my underpants with a pack of frozen potato wedges on my knee (a precaution only). Luckily though, that's sorted tea out too. Anyways make sure you tell the people you care about how you feel, I'm not great at talking but hopefully mum will read this blog and get the message (she's actually sat opposite me now but this is the modern way) :-).    

For now, Matto_w out x

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Outlaw Triathlon and the Battle with Time

Hi guys, it's been a while I know, and until recently I literally haven't had a spare hour to write a blog. Working, sleeping and training has generally been the theme... plus a bit of socialising, it's important to remember your friends and have some sort of life outside triathlon. I found myself having to find time, and make time, difficult concepts, but with structure and sacrifice (and limited sleep) you can just about do what you want.

So the last few weeks have been a bit shitty training wise... I developed a knee problem which after a trip to the Physio last night, I'm happy to say isn't too bad. A lack of lateral movement in my left knee cause a build of pressure and swelling after long bike rides meaning I couldn't ride or run. With a bit of (painful) physio and some new pedals/cleats I'm going to be fine. I can't wait to get out running tomorrow and get back training!

Looking at the bigger picture though, things are great, as I look at the countdown to the race you can't help worrying a bit. But, as we stand we've got about 4 months to go, I've only been doing this sport 5 months and when I think how far I've come I know I can accomplish this. I had a "moment" when I went down to the lake at Holme Pierrepont last weekend, the lake is very long but my determination is great. "Do not pray for easier lives. Pray to be stronger men." [JFK]

It's a hectic weekend ahead, I'm off work tomorrow but still no rest for the wicked. My band is playing a gig in London, which is great, and I'd planned to stay at a friends and drive home Saturday. Unfortunately I have to work Saturday so I have to drive back tomorrow night :-( but hey ho, I'll find time. Checkout the youtube video this week, it my bands newest song Starting Fires.

I'm going to go, I need an early night as tomorrow is going to be a long day. Looking forward to next weekend now as I'm entered into the Clumber Duathlon, should be a good experience for a rookie. Wish me luck.

PS On the right there is a link to some other blogs... take time to read Cayci's latest entry... it's brilliantly written and a great read.

Bye x    

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Build Phase and the British Heart Foundation

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and words of encouragement after last weeks blog. It was a representation of how I was feeling but things always comes across a lot worse in print. I'm feeling ok in myself, and there's no way I'm not doing this. Back to focusing on one session at a time and lets see where it takes me. My life feels like a long ride at the moment, lots of ups and down and I don't really know where I'm going, I'm gritting my teeth and digging in on the inclines and hanging on for dear life on the declines.

Tuesday was an important day for me, February 14th. It was the 2nd anniversary of the passing of my Grandmother, the passing of someone close to you is always tough, I've always felt extra close to my Mamma. I was born on her 50th birthday and have always felt a special bond. I come from a close family and I'm lucky to have all there support in (almost) everything I do. I used the money that was left to me in her will to buy my bike and all the other associated gear when I started out last year. It felt good to spend the money on something that would enhance my life, I know she would approve. During my Outlaw training it is my intention is to raise £2000 for charity, the first £1000 will go to The Karen Green Foundation, and the second £1000 will be donated to the British Heart Foundation. My Mamma had two triple heart bypass surgeries in her life-time. The first one was in the seventies when the survival rates were much lower than today, so I feel lucky to have had her in my life at all. She was a great supporter of the BHF, they gave her the support she needed. I intend to carry on this support in honour of her. Mamma was very religious and had a strong faith in god, now I'm a staunch atheist but I always feel she's there somewhere and I look to her memory to keep me going at time when I need some inspiration, I know she would be proud.

This week was the first week of the Build Phase in my Don Fink program. It has gone ok actually, I think the few days off last weekend did me some good. Tuesday was the usual swim before work and run after. I had Wednesday off work so I enjoyed my transition session at my own leisure and went to the extra swim session I needed with Absolute Triathlon Club in the evening. Thursday I was back to the pool after work and then hit the Turbo when I got home. I skipped running on Friday as I had something far more important on. In the Build Phase the weekend long run and long ride now become brick sessions... Saturdays long run was followed by 30 minutes on the Turbo, and todays long ride was followed by a quick run, both felt good. I pushed hard on the bike today, my legs ache but I'm determined to get better.

This weeks music was good, a double Idlewild session on Tuesdays run, The Remote Part and Warnings/Promises, one of my favourite bands. Turn on the Bright Lights by Interpol, and Brothers by the Black Keys were the other albums I listened to this week. One of my favourite songs ever is Century After Century by Idlewild, but incredibly there isn't one version on YouTube!

Another week where I had to go solo on the long ride and not join up with my friends from the club for the Eakring ride. I just want to quickly mention Helen, she organises us on Sunday and is massive energy giver to most, if not all of us. She is such a warm and generous person, everyone loves her with good reason. She is the reason I, and probably a few others are doing Outlaw this year, she is an inspiration so Helen... thanks, and keep up your training, you're doing great xx

The reason I had to skip the ride was I needed an early start. It was my cousin Adam and his lovely wife Louise's babies 1st birthday and I really wanted to get over for the party. Everyone loves party food at kids parties right? Great for the training diet :-) Happy first birthday Edwin xx

Happy Birthday too to Gabby, hope you had a great secret holiday, hopefully see you and Lummo soon. Lets schedule in some time.

And a special Happy Birthday to Howy too, welcome to Club 30 squire, I also hope you enjoyed your secret weekend break with Hels.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this. Those of you who know me know I'm not much of a talker, so it's a bit weird putting all this stuff out there. If I was better at talking I probably wouldn't be where I am now... I probably wouldn't have even found triathlon, but here I am, on the way to Outlaw.

Matto_out xx

Monday, 13 February 2012

10 Weeks Down... 20 To Go! A Moment of Doubt?

Training wise I'm probably at my lowest point to be honest. I've been taking it session by session and not been worrying about the event at all. The weather hasn't helped, but getting to a third of the way there has really struck home. I can't even comprehend 13 hours of exertion. I'm not sure I can swim for 1 1/2 hours + to cover the 2.4 miles, I don't know if I can cycle for 7 hours to complete the 112 miles, at the moment my average speed isn't high enough for shorter distance on my training plan at the moment let alone anything else. And when all that is said and done, I'm not sure my little legs will fancy running a marathon, never mind a sub 4 hour one at that.

On Tuesday I swam as usual, but in the evening I substituted my usual run with a Turbo session. Wednesday I had off work so I was really looking forward to my transition session... it didn't go well, after a steady 45 minute cycle the 30 minute run was awful. Thursday was swim and spin, spinning seemed even harder work than usual. I'd made plans Saturday evening so I decided just to do my long run Friday evening and skip a run session, the run was fine but it was freezing, evening more disappointingly I missed the first social event of the Absolute Triathlon Clubs calander. Hopefully everyone had a great time at the Dogs in Nottingham and plenty of money was raised for the Karen Green Foundation. And that's that, I skipped the Sunday ride, too tired etc.

So I need to pick myself up, thanks everyone for your kind words and support, no-one said it was going to be easy, and it wouldn't be such an achievement if it was I guess. I've written out my next 10 week Don Fink plan and it terrifies me, I've no idea how I'm going to find time for everything, but I will. And I will do this.

This weeks long run was accompanied by the Deftones which I think tells its own story... see the YouTube player.

In other news I've booked my ticket to the Triathlon Show 2012 which should be a good day out with some fellow clubmates. If anyone is going let me know.

Just as I'm writing my great friend Julo has text to ask where this weeks blog is. I'm so out of sorts it's slipped and is a day late :-) She'd telling me to stop moaning and get on with it... so that's what I'm going to do. Another self indulgent post but I think it's important to document how I'm feeling on this journey. Thanks for taking the time to read.


PS Campbell and Peace Dentistry have pledged to give £1 to the Karen Green Foundation for every 'like' on there Facebook page. Please follow the link and hit 'like', you can donate £1 of someone elses money to a great cause. http://www.facebook.com/CampbellandPeace

Sunday, 5 February 2012

It's all about the Bike and the other Gear, a blog about equipment.

I'll give you a quick update about this weeks training... Tuesday started as usual with an early morning swim, I decided to skip my post work run in order to go to watch the football. I have a season ticket at Forest so headed to the City Ground after collecting a large parcel which I'll come to later. Needless to say I shouldn't have bothered, it was cold and Forest were rubbish. It's one of my least favourite fixtures too as my brother in law is a Burnley fan, he didn't rub it in too much though. At least it wasn't as bad as the time I was with him in the home end at Turf Moor as we were getting hammered 5-0! Wednesday is my transition training day, 45 minutes on the turbo (a contraption that turns the bike into an exercise bike for my non-tri friends) followed by 4 cold laps around the village.

Thursday, ah Thursday, it's post work swimming and spinning day. I had a quick errand to run before work which was to be my downfall. I always pack my bag the night before so to save time and keep organised (another Don Fink tip), I was half way to work before I realised I'd left my bag. I'm not sure doing it in my underwear like at primary school would have gone down well with my clubmates. I did a turbo session when I got home, but a second session missed in a week, oh the guilt. Friday is a club track session, it was cold and felt rubbish so I won't dwell on that.

Saturday is long run day, I had to nip to Mansfield post work, so planned to run from Berry Hill. It was a mixture of glorious and horrendous. The snow was coming down and it felt great to be running whilst people looked at me like I was insane, the pleasure was matched by the pain of the last few miles running up hill into the wind looking and feeling like an abominable snowman (Catherine). The drive home was long and slow as the snow continued to fall. I woke to a good covering of snow, inevitably meaning there would be no long ride from Eakring, sadly missed again. It meant a tortuous 2hrs 45mins on the turbo, my longest turbo yet, I procrastinated for as long as possible before taking to the saddle and grinding it out.

As for music this week, on Saturdays long run I hit shuffle and pressed play, there was no way I was fumbling around selecting music in the freezing cold. Highlights included Dry the River, Idlewild, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, Crystal Castles and Interpol. Todays long turbo was ably assisted by a great film, Gran Torino, here's hoping I don't have to spend too many long rides in the kitchen, good films or not.

So... back to my parcel and something most the triathletes I've met like to talk about... the gear. On Tuesday I went to my local parcel force depot to pick up my new bike. It started with a combination of two things, a friend on one of our Sunday long rides suggesting the need for a winter bike, and wanting a bike that may make the Outlaw ever so slightly easier. So my starter bike, a very reliable entry level Giant has become my winter bike, and I'm the proud owner of a carbon fibre Ribble Sportive Bianco. I ordered it a few weeks ago when I went to visit my sister in the Northwest. I took my Dad and my credit card to Ribble and placed the order in the shop. So I know I'm a little premature for a summer bike, but I couldn't resist. It's in need of a proper set up, for which I'll be visiting Mick at Langdale Lightweights in Mapperley, Nottingham. But to give you some spec, gun metal grey Shimano 105 groupset, Deda seatpost, handlebars, stem and aero bars. And a lovely pair of Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, which almost cost as much as the Giant :-/ The bike is white and silver which is great... it looks good, but mostly because it goes with all colours. Every triathlete nows how important it is to colour coordinate :-)

I've come to terms that as long as I'm doing triathlon I'll never have any money. I like the joke about the triathletes car doubling in value when he puts his bike in the back. I'm going to go through some of my good and interesting purchases for you... I know you triathletes will be interested so thoughts and comments are appreciated :-)

I recently got a Garmin 310XT, GPS sports watch and heart rate monitor. It is amazing, I love downloading the data, seeing the maps and analysing the data. Another purchase I blame on the person who told me I'd need 2 bikes, but a great recommendation. I wonder if they know who they are and if they will step forward :-) ?

Calf guards... 2XU ones to be precise. I thought they were quite expensive but I wouldn't be without them now. I've always suffered with calf/achilles problems (ask Lummo) so after my first Duathlon when I felt some cramp in transition they were my next purchase. Along with a number belt... I made the school boy error of trying to pin my number to my very tight tri-suit. The tri-suit was a bit of an early un-nessecary purchase I guess, but as I got into triathlon at the end of last season there were plenty of bargains to be had online.

I was mostly gutted not to get out on the bike today because I received a Castelli windproof gore jacket all the way from Italy on Thursday, crazy I know, especially bearing in mind I ruin my last cheapo one after falling off (See Man Down post). As for bike accessories, geez, it's never ending... helmet, inner tubes, pumps, lights, saddle bags, hydration accessories, endless lycra/clothing etc etc etc. Not to mention the aforementioned turbo.

Now the running isn't so bad, but I did just invest in two new pairs of Asic Gel Cumulous 13's, who ever thought you needed two pairs! I also have two pairs of swimming goggles, but to be honest, swimming you're mostly naked.

The next endless expense is the sports drink and energy bars... I'm currently using SIS psp22 energy drink, SIS Rego protein recovery drink, High 5 Zero electrolyte drink, Powerbar energy bars and protein bars, as well as ride gel sweets, I've also just bought some GU chocolate outrage gel shots which taste amazing chocolate fans.

So all that is really left to buy is a wetsuit... and I really want to get myself some wonderful Absolute Triathlon club kit too. I'm sure I'll find other things to keep spending money on, I'm already eyeing up a TT bike ;-)

Matto_out tri fans xx


Sunday, 29 January 2012

Weight Watchers

Thankfully, after last week, it was an uneventful weeks training. Every fourth week in the Fink program is an easier week, it's been a nice week training. I did something for the first time too... I missed a session, my first one. Now this obviously could be seen as a bad thing, but frankly I'm quite relieved. I suffer missed session guilt, so not to stress about losing 1 hour feels good. I even restrained myself from going on the usual Sunday Eakring ride. I've mentioned before how much I enjoy it but they were scheduled for much longer than me. Now I know if I went along I'm unable to turn back and do a shorter session, so the only thing to do is not to go and go solo. Despite the cold it was a good ride.

This focus of this weeks blog is food. Now I'm not great at swimming, and I'm not great on the bike, but I'm frankly awful when it comes to eating, I can quiet literally take food or leave it. Following last weeks episode of being blown off and getting some stick for being a little lightweight I thought I'd reassure you that I'm (trying to) eating well. Every day at work I make time for breakfast, I have a midmorning snack, a sensible chicken/rice convenience lunch, and I have an afternoon small meal/snack. In the evening I've been alternating between fish and red meat. It's not something I've ever really talked about, but I'm self conscious about weight. I've always controlled my diet and have never been 10st. I'm happy to say I'm 9st8lbs at the moment, trying to eat well, I'm eating some greens (spinach) and trying to view food as fuel. So far so good. Anyone who wants to offer me a good meal, whether home cooked or a meal out please get in touch :-) Thanks to Helen and Paul for last nights tea too.

In unrelated news and to add to my busy life, my band (well 3/5 of us) got back into a practice room this afternoon. Man it felt good, we'll hopefully be releasing some new music in the forthcoming months... I'll keep you posted... Now back to triathlon...

On yesterdays run I listened to the Black Keys album Brothers, which is always a welcome companion. My friend Julo said to me this week that I use music to motivate and get me going, but to be honest it's more a reflection of mood. Tuesday I listened to one of my favourite albums from my student days, Reuben's Racecar is Racecar Backwards. It's a bit throw away but Fall of the Bastille is genuinely one of my favourite songs. I'm going to leave you with a line from it that I draw inspiration from...
If you say "nothing left to loose" 
Then you have not lost your voice 

Matto_out x

PS A quick shout out to Marco, my friend how has taken up fencing... he loves a minority sport :-)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Man Down!

An eventful week this one. I've spent quite a bit of time asking myself why... Why do I do triathlon? Why do iron distance? Why am I so committed to my training schedule? Why? It was going to be the focus of my blog, but then last night I found an article by chance that answered it brilliantly. Read it here: http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2009/05/why/#idc-cover

56 hours at work... 9 hours commuting... 11 hours training.

Tuesday started as it has been doing, an hour swim session before work, and I have been going for a run straight from work. Two reasons, 1. If I get home it takes a lot more motivating to get myself back out after a long day at work, and 2. I live in a little village by the Trent which doesn't have any street lights on the roads out. So imagine my disappointment when I realised I'd forgotten my shorts! I could have run in my leggins yes, but I didn't have pockets for my car keys and most importantly the iPod. So I decided to head home and run from there. I got back and got ready, and headed out... dark isn't the word. I couldn't even see my feet let alone where I was putting them. Stupid I know, but combine this with the fact I was listening to M83's album Before the Dawn Heals Us, I don''t mind telling you I was scared. The album is basically soundtrack music to horror films, check out the song I've loaded onto my You Tube player.

Wednesday is my usual 5.30 start with an hour bike/run transition before a 12 hour day at work. This week it wasn't my last. I had an 8pm appointment in Mansfield on Thursday so I decided to do another early morning turbo session. I rushed to swimming after work, and then on to my appointment, only to be left stood up in the rain... bloody idiot, a right royal waste of time that was.

Friday I was up early again, this time I was meeting a great friend for tea. A 01:15 run in the dark and cold listening to The National and Native. Definitely worth it though, I had a great home cooked meal and some great company for the evening, despite being out way past my bedtime.

I worked Saturday this week, and followed this with another 01:15 run, accompanied by My Vitriol and Pulled Apart By Horses, pretty standard although it was windy, a prelude to Sunday....

Sunday is Eakring bike ride day, something I always look forward to, I really enjoy the ride and the company of fellow Absolute Tri Club members. So why's the blog called "Man Down!" I hear you ask? Well it seems a week doesn't go by without me coming off in some way. Most comically not being able to un-clip, followed by a super slow-mo fall right into a puddle... smooth I know. So here I must add, I've only been cycle a few months, and it's my first experience in clipless pedals. So please excuse my inexperience... but also I've never really cycled in the wind, well nothing as windy as today anyway. I really didn't think the wind could fully take you off your bike! Well it can, especially when you're only 9st6lbs. I was at the rear of the group (luckily... otherwise I could have taken everyone with me!), a stern blustery side wind caught me just as a reach a gap in the hedge basically clearing me out. Not really sure what happened, but thanks to Maurice for straightening me back up. All this after only an hour. Thanks to Lisa too for keeping my spirits up over the next hour or so and giving me what tasted like the best Jaffa Cake half way around.

So that was my week, here's hoping this one is a little less eventful.

Follow me on Twitter @matto_w for more stories of falling off and such like.

ps Other than ruining my top and a few grazes I'm fine... a bruised ego definitely, but they always say pride comes before a fall.  

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Save your friends, find your place, speak the truth.

Training has gone okay this week, but firstly I want to get a guilty pleasure out of the way...I'm a closet Bruce Springsteen fan! I especially like running to him, so there, it's out, if I mention it again it won't come as a horrible surprise. To balance it out this week I also ran to the Smashing Pumkins album Adore which worked really well too, a real gem of a record.

I had to shuffle my program a little bit and do a double session on Friday due to a family commitment this weekend, it was my beautiful cheeky little monkey niece Imogen's 3rd birthday party on Saturday and I was privileged to be Godfather today to my nephew Luke. The blog today is about my friends and family, who are all very special to me. I'm certain in one way or another these relationships will suffer a little over the coming months (hopefully not too much) so in advance of this I thought I'd dedicate my 3rd blog to you all...

I spent the weekend at my big Sister's and Bro-in-Laws in Clitheroe in the the Ribble Valley, needless to say I didn't get much sleep with a baby and a 3 year old so I was up nice and early. I took full advantage, donned the running shoes and got out for an hour run before daybreak. On the way back the sunrise over Pendle Hill was beautiful! Emma and Andy, thanks.

I took my Mum and Dad out for dinner last weekend (following Don Fink's advice). I wanted to let them know why I was doing the Outlaw, and that I was taking it seriously and not to worry etc. Mostly to convince them I hadn't gone insane. Dad's been very supportive and has even come bike shopping with me. I've enlisted Mum as a helper, picking up odd bits from the supermarket, doing the odd bit of washing etc. Now I know what you're thinking...that that's something that always happens anyway, right? Well I have this independence thing where I don't except help, so I've swallowed my pride and got Mum on the team. Mum and Dad, thanks.

Another Fink tip is to enlist mentors, the first and most important one was my best friend Andy, he's always been there even when he was the other side of the world. He's an energy giver, and a great guy. His lovely better half Gabby is also amazing, I have a huge amount of time and respect for her. I owe these two a lot, Andy and Gabby, thanks.

My family is very close and full of people who I class as friends as well as blood. Paul and Adam are my cousins, ex-bandmates and great friends, both settled down, Adam with two great boys and a beautiful wife Louise (who helps me become more aerodynamic in Summer). Uncle Mark and Aunty Helen, Uncle John and Aunty Chris, Pat and Geoff, thanks too. Also a shout out to my Canadian relatives over the Atlantic and not forgetting the Italians!

Last summer I was honoured to be my best friend from universities best man, I'm delighted to say Howy and Helen are expecting their first baby a few weeks before I'm due (to do the Outlaw). I'm also a season ticket holder at Nottingham Forest, I always enjoy sitting next to Marco Blinston in the Trent End, another great friend who is getting married this summer, the weekend after Outlaw, so I'm especially looking forward to that one.

A super special mention goes to Julo, without doubt one of the toughest people I know, you are a great inspiration to me, keep going! Another person who had a positive effect on me a few years ago was Eric Wheater, E-dog is a legend... he's a doer and I think he'd be awesome at Tri. Not sure he'd have the time though, he's more of an extreme sports guy!

By the way I also play in a band...Love Ends Disaster! We were lucky enough to play Reading and Leeds Festival in 2010 and I love being trapped in a car with them on long trips to venues around the country...Matt Oakes, Jon Dix and Dave Wright. There is another member but I've forgotten his name (I think I may give him a post all to himself).

Professionally I want to thank Dave Rudd, John Willis and especially Ian McLean. Also more uni friends Nick Cooper and Gary Pierrepont, boom. And a mention for my second mum, Mrs Ann Lumley.

Another special thanks to Margaret and Frederick.

There's a massive group of people I haven't mentioned, new friends and mentors and energy givers at Absolute Triathlon. I'm going to save a blog for you guys :-) but in advance, thanks.

A bit of a self indulgent blog maybe, but it's not all going to be x miles in x minutes. Friends I will need you along the way but I may not have the courage to ask. Any support you can give will be greatly appreciated.

As if by way to highlight the importance of you all today, around 1.30pm our Paul was taken from the post Christening buffet do into Casualty! Now he's not the kind of guy to really be ill so if he says take me to Hospital it's got to be serious. Firstly and most importantly he's be let out and will be fine. The ECGs came back ok. A scare none the less. So remember, save your friends, find your place, speak the truth.

Matt_out x

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Dedication...is what you need if you want to be an Outlaw

So a quick overview... it's fair to say that I haven't been as motivated in life over the last few years as I should have been. I've been getting by, but I've hardly been pushing myself.

That now has obviously all changed...as you already know I'm doing this Iron Distance triathlon thingy...but I also started a new job just before Christmas. I have been casually self employed but I needed to get back into full time employment due to this expensive hobby I've found :-). It's been quite a culture shock to get back into a routine working 8.30-6pm, with a commuting time of 1.30 each day. But I'm enjoying the job and I've got some great new work colleagues as an added bonus.

And so to todays blog entry...This week has been my first week of following my Outlaw training schedule, Tuesday was the first day back in the office, but I was determined to get to the pool beforehand, despite being called in for an early start at work. I made it, but had to endure the banter when Coach Steve and Andy found out my profession...no one likes an Estate Agent right? :-).

Another early start Wednesday so I could get a bike and running transition session in before work and before daylight. But not to sound like I'm complaining, I guess the message of the blog this week is to highlight the realisation that the amount of training combined with living life has struck home...good job I love it, it's all part of the challenge.

I finished the weeks training this week by taking responsibility for organising the Sunday ride. Our usual leader Helen is away training in Lanzarote with husband, and fellow Outlaw entrant Mike...lucky for some :-). I decided to get us out on the Outlaw bike course from last year, I know it's due to be different this year but seeing as though I live pretty much on it I thought it'd make for a good ride. Just one loop totalling 46 miles with fellow Outlaw entrants Cayci and Andy, Half Ironman Mallorca entrant Lisa and Ruth and Louise. We all made it up Oxton Bank and I really enjoyed hosting and planning, I hope they all enjoyed it too.

Another aspect is my love of music, it's a really important companion to my running. I thought I'd let you know what I've been listening to and what's been helping me on my way. This week I tried something new for my long run on Saturday...I went for a more chilled out feel with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs second album Show Your Bones, and concluded with some of The XX. It seemed to go well so I'll keep you posted.

Dedication is definitely what you need if you want to be an Outlaw, I'm going to enjoy my day off training tomorrow and look forward to starting it all again Tuesday. I went out for dinner with my folks to reassure them I hadn't gone insane, and I found a mentor in best friend Andy Lumley, probably only he will get my conclusion fully, but I'm sure you know what I mean after reading this when I say "All or Nothing".

Follow me on Twitter @Matto_w

Sunday, 1 January 2012

An Introduction... Who Am I? What is The Outlaw?

Who am I?
Well, I'm a nobody really, I'm just a guy who turned 30 and thought he needed to do something to keep fit. I've done a fair amount of sport over the years but I'd never call myself an athlete. I started at the beginning, I started running. Last spring a 3km jog seemed like a big effort, to increase my motivation I did a local 10km at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham. The Marrowthon for Anthony Nolan, I completed it in a reasonable 43minutes. When I finished, I just kept running. Next target... the Great North Run, September 2011, I finished in an ok 1:40:43. During my summer training the monotony got to me and someone suggested triathlon, I bought a bike as an occasional training substitute, with the longer term goal of trying triathlon. After the Great North Run, I joined local triathlon club, Absolute. Without doubt one of the best things I've done in a long while. That was 3 months ago, and now... I'm signed up for The Outlaw!  

So, what is The Outlaw?
The Outlaw is an Ironman distance triathlon, it involves a swim of 2.5miles, a cycle of 112miles and finishes with a full marathon (26miles). All in all a gruelling 140miles in a day. The swim is open water and takes place at Holme Pierrepont, whilst the cycle and run take in the surrounding Nottinghamshire countryside. It takes place on July 1st 2012, exactly 6 months from today.

And finally for now, the big question why?
Why The Outlaw? Well I guess it just stems from the feeling of needing to do something I can look back on, and to push myself to see how far I can go. I've been inspired by a lot of people since joining Absolute Tri Club, who make it seem very achievable. At the moment I'm somewhere between fear and excitement and the road ahead seems like a long one, but I'm sure it will be worthwhile. Not to mention the chance to raise money for some great charities which I'll come to in a later post.
Why the blog? The fear and the demands of this challenge are pretty daunting, any support I can gain will defo help me along the way, it's also a great tool to help with fundraising which you'll no doubt get sick of if you choose to follow me on this amazing journey.

For now, @matto_w out x