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The ironman cometh

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Paul Paul | 15:16 UK time, Thursday, 1 July 2010

Well now, I think it is months (Carrie will say years) since I last wrote a little for the staff blog. I'm not sure I'm really up to it anymore, what with all the other brilliant staff blogs already available. But, as they say, you never know until you try and I'm pretty sure you'll tell me soon enough.

750 metres, does that sound a lot to you? Perhaps if I use letters rather than numbers it will seem more - seven hundred and fifty metres. Hmm, it's certainly longer on the page.

Would it make a difference what the 750 metres were? If I said 750 metres of feathers, would you want them all? 750 metres to the closest restaurant, would you go there or find somewhere nearer? 750 metres of an unknown movie, would you watch it?

What if I said you had to swim in open water, like the sea or a lake, for 750 metres and wear a wetsuit whilst you were swimming? Now would that seem a lot?

And would it seem like more than 750 metres when you then knew you had to get out of the water, take off your wetsuit, put on some cycling clothes and then cycle for 20,000 metres?

And then you discovered you still hadn't finished because you had to get off your bike and run for 5000 metres. What do you think about that 750 metres now?

Sometimes it best not to start things. I, however, ignore that advice and so I now find myself 5 weeks away from participating in my first Triathlon - the London Triathlon .

A triathlon is a race which combines three different sports in this order - swimming, cycling and running. There are also strange events called dualathlons which feature only two sports in this order - running, cycling, running. Why run twice is beyond me.

When I first decided to do a triathlon, I was about 5 years younger than I am now (notice how I managed to keep my age a secret there :-) ) - that is not an untypical period of time for me to decide there is something I should do and then actually get round to doing it - ask Carrie about my holiday booking exploits.

I chose the triathlon because I thought it was the easy option for those of us who don't like the idea of running marathons. Who really wants to run for 26 miles? However, I've now discovered that triathlons (some triathlons) are much more hard-core than a marathon. Take the ironman event....

Swim: 3,860m
Cycle: 180,250m
Run: 42,195m

Clearly, there is madness in the world.

In the triathlon world there seems to be four main event types (sprint, supersprint, Olympic and marathon). The supersprint is the event that I have chosen and it involves (can you guess) 750 metre swim in open water, 20,000 metre cycle and 5,000 metre run.

I'm disappointed that they have called this a supersprint. I think it should be called the casual jog event which I feel will more truly reflect my abilities on the day.

How am I preparing for this moment? Well that's another blog. For now, here are some pictures of me with various bits of gear that I will be using for the event. There is no photo of me in wetsuit, although if I get more comments on this blog than anyone has ever got on any other blog I may provide a picture when I update you all with my training regime.

Until then, enjoy the pictures (Carrie took them) and know that my date with destiny is 7th August 2010. Put it in your diaries now and on that day, if you all think of me and mentally urge me on, perhaps, just perhaps, I may make it to the end of the course.



to be up to something: to be capable of doing something e.g. "I want to run 26 miles, but I'm not sure I'm up to it."
beyond me: if something is beyond you, you don't understand it
hard-core: here - much more intense
casual: relaxed, without too much attention to detail
date with destiny: a date in the future, when something very important will happen


  • Comment number 1.

    Hello Paul! How nice to hear form you again! My fingers are crossed for you, and I hope you can make it. Anyway, have you been following some kind of special diet in order to help you with your training regime? I guess after all this hard-core training you feel starving.
    Best wishes,
    Ana Paula, Brazil.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Paul,
    I have a question: why you write this phrase: I think it is months (Carrie will say years) since I last wrote....
    Months are plural and then I'd write: I think are months!!!
    Thanks in advance for your answer.
    Mary Gee

  • Comment number 3.

    Hello Paul,

    Kudos to you - and to everybody else venturing on whatever sorts of triathlones. I have the deepest admiration for all of you, failing on the other hand completely to understand how anybody can derive fun from such a thing. I would suggest you run the 750 metres and do the rest of the distance on your bike - to me this seems the only sensible way of going about it. It's "beyond me" for instance why you should get off your bike after 20 kilometres when you could comfortably ride another five kilometres. Oh well, everyone to his own taste.
    Now, this is a call-out to my fellow-commenters: We have got a record to break there. Don't we all want to see the wetsuit?? So, type away, everybody!
    @Mary Gee: I could think of an answer to your question, but I'd rather leave it to the native speakers around to clarify the issue.
    Elisabeth (Austria)

  • Comment number 4.

    Thanks to everyone for your comments. In fact, I think I will name-check you all, Ana Paula, Mary Gee and Elsabeth. Glad to see it looks like my wetsuit is safe for another day :-)
    Mary Gee, I am giving others a chance to answer you question but if there isn't one by tomorrow then I will answer it.
    I'll answer the questions about training and food in another blog.
    Bye for now

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Paul,
    You should be a very experienced teacher! You know the way to persuade your students!
    The wetsuit is not so interesting itself, but to have a look at you in it…
    It does not seem to me very easy to put that wetsuit on! Do you have any training to do it?
    I’m sure all the fellow-commenters are busy revising sport vocabulary to comment your blog. I had been up all night myself…

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Paul! This monday was a day off work here. I parked a car about a half a km from the house. I started a walk up the country lane. With a brook at one site it was cool and fine at the beginning. The route I didn´t take years since I last had to run and save the life spotting a boar´s family meeting me. Then it came a steeping part changed in to a glade now with no shade and wathers behind. A new sheet panel near a woodman´s cottage displayed a bear and other animals living in the area. I continued the walk with a bit of fear round the thick dark bushes taking a courage and powers with a gulp of wather from a bottle which I usually don´t bother to carry with. I reached my target point falling on the grass exhousted. On the way back I had to bush up. Stepping out of the bush a man was cycling up the way alone silently. It seemed we were both strode from surprise. The rest of my way was rather endles and tedious from aching of my hip joint and I promissed not to take this route again for another years. Though yet in bed I had a good laugh from my embarrassment with that man. My advice to you: take more colourful suit on the bike. I feel like on the mode parade when meeting men on mountain bikes sometimes with a fine perfume smell too, here. Sincerely

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Mary Gee,
    As far as I can see, there is still no answer to your question, so let me give it a try: Well, Paul and Carrie were obviously looking at the period of time that had passed between Paul's latest contributions to this blog. Talking about that period of time, one can use the phrase "It is months (or years or hours or whatever) since I last..." and the subject in that sentence is "It", so the verb has to agree with that subject.
    Does that make things any clearer to you? If not, or if I made things worse - Paul! Help, please!
    Elisabeth (Austria)

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Paul,
    it was nice to learn in details about Triathlon from you. I often hear on radio the word, and now I know some new words in English about this sport's type. Thanks.
    My comment is 8th, and another two comments and we'll wait from you the topic's continuation:) We exclude student blog because they need more comradely support than Teachers, so all of us write at first to student blog, and then if there is time to other blogs, it's too hard to win student blog on comments.
    Best wishes,


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