I started this blog in 2010 when there were 11 weeks to go before my next Ironman triathlon. People have found it interesting (mainly my Mum!) so I continue to write.
The Ironman is a long distance triathlon; Swim 2.4miles, Cycle 112miles, Run 26.2 miles (marathon). I have competed in one every year since 2004. I hope this blog can help others see what is involved. I find the process of writing it makes me more accountable and motivates me to do the harder sessions when i'm not feeling like it!

Thursday, 29 December 2011


Looking after the children today - exhausting! Clocking up the rest days which I think is a good thing. Had a few minutes to read some of "once a runner" very inspiring. A bit of time on the leg roller whilst watching George's new favourite Cars 2.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Run and Swim

Ran to the swimming pool (1.5km) straight and back (6km). There is now a lot of chocolate to burn off!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011


10km in Mansfield. With 6 x 400m on the track at half way. My running has really suffered with the focus on the bike lately. I was happy to hit 90 secs for each lap which is normally easy but today was far from that - there is a lot of tightness in the right hamstring it seems to be preventing my leg coming through. It's back to the roller.

No traffic and a free public 400m track - why do we live in London??!

Monday, 26 December 2011


I kept intending to run today but was happy to knock a football around with George and Will. Will preferred a golf ball!

Sunday, 25 December 2011


6km easy, on the hills of Mansfield. Completely different to the run last year when everything was covered in frost still good to get out though.

Don't usually run with the ipod but was listening to an audiobook by Thomas Sowell on race and culture - today was on the history of Slavery - absolutely amazing stuff I didn't know; it only accounted for 2% of British GDP when we were the country doing the most and cost more than that to stop it following William Wilberforce's efforts. Anyway I digress.

Saturday, 24 December 2011


Tried to get a quick swim in but pool closed (the internet said it was open but i'm now on Mansfield time)

Friday, 23 December 2011


A really good day. My legs felt tired from yesterday's run so I wasn't sure whether I could attempt the turbo. I knew this meant possible going for next break through session.

Well it finally made it. My legs were tired only half way through the second set but they didn't get any worse.

5 x 5min x 300W x 90rpm on 5min recovery

I think what made a difference was the 60rpm work as I felt that sort of effort kicking in towards the end even though I stayed around the 90 mark throughout (strange)
The heart rate monitor went onto auto pause much to my annoyance - it was about 165bpm for last set.

Next step is to reduce the recovery. I wont be attempting that for a while, it seems unimaginable right now.

Thursday, 22 December 2011


1hour (10km) with Will in buggy. A beautiful winter sunny day.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


At Marylebone physiotherapy - On the reformer machine. Brilliant session we're getting closer to finding out what's going on.
- Went to bed when the kids did - had planned to run but the early night won.
- Some more pieces to the puzzle - there's a lot out there about having a strong core (waist) it seems mine is on too much. It should be on about 25% (strength wise)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


The session was much like the last, with multiple 100m drills.
This time I did one butterfly to test the shoulder which seemed to be ok.
Also tried some backstroke - i've couldn't even remember how to do this. It's becoming very social on these winter nights - Lotfi, Lianda, Mark, Olivia, Sally, having a good gossip.

Also started the race pace training, only 200m. I'll hopefully add more as the weeks progress.

Physio exercises when Will was asleep. When I get some time i'll write those down too.

The presentation on the ironman is on my website - http://web.me.com/jkmoon/mysite/Triathlon.html click on the link to the talk.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Weight 71.4kg Fat 14.1%
I'll put these numbers up once a week, despite potential embarrassment. I raced Bolton this year at 66.9kg and about 8% so at least i'm floating better in the pool!


Managed the break through session today so really pleased
4 x 5min x 300W on 5min recovery
The heart rate monitor was playing up - maybe that was a good thing.
The next step is 5 sets which would be fantastic. Following that a reduction in the recovery time but that's a long way away. The majority of the final set was spent at 165bpm - this is new ground for me whilst cycling.

Run technique training at the track tonight - cold and wet - It's a good sign if you can do these irrespective of the weather. The theme was thoracic mobility along with all the usual skipping etc,

Sunday, 18 December 2011

32 Weeks to go

A really mixed set tonight, focusing on something different every 100m
100m warm up
100m trying to keep one goggle in the water when breathing
100m thumb first recovery then spearing water with horizontal hand
100m middle finger extended straight down the pool
100m single arm L & R
100m kick on side one arm extended out
100m torpedo on side (no arms)
100m sighting with L & R arm extended
100m Fists
100m Catch up
100m 5 strokes per breath
100m Waterpolo (head out of water)
100m shoulder tap
100m thigh tap
100m elbow first recovery
100m underarm recovery

Still just doing the drills till I feel confident the shoulder has settled.

The main focus is the bike right now. I trying to go into tomorrow well rested - for a break through session on the turbo - fingers crossed.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Rest day
No time for exercise today. Did take George and Will to disabled swim but don't think that counts.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Run 1hour

It was great after 2 months of very little running to get back into it. Freezing cold.
Followed by 5min in cold bath - it's difficult to say whether it's having any benefit!

Thursday, 15 December 2011


3 x 5min x 300W x 65rpm on 5min recovery
That was hard tonight. Probably due to lots of cycling with the boys today. Need to remember to get on the foam roller for the legs - i've neglected that lately.

I've been trying cold baths over the past 6 weeks. Another 5mins today. It's amazing that after 2-3mins it actually feels hot.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


My minor cold was with me all day - just had an easy swim. My usual pool was closed as "someone had had an accident" Later I found this was a case of vomit in the pool.

I went to Camberwell pool instead - it's been done up since I was last there. Previously it had the worst changing rooms in London. Now it's all a bit swanky.

250m warm up
250m single arm
250m clenched fists
250m no arms!
250m fast-ish
250m catch up
250m cool down

Shoulder a little annoying again - must get it looked at.
Usual physio exercises as well - really focusing on the calf raises to try and get some structural integrity into the achilles

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

I really enjoyed today - I gave a talk on the Ironman - It's history, my journey and some of the recent developments training wise.

I'll see if I can get the presentation up on the blog.

Otherwise a bit of a cold coming on. George and Will have streaming noses - so just did my physiotherapy exercises and got an early night.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Run Technique course - Serpentine running club

This is a 5 week course. There's so much swimming drill work it seems strange not do have the same focus for running and cycling - this is an attempt to balance it out.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Swim and physio exercises

Swim - due to the shoulder injury (supraspinatus) I have been taking it easy. Today was the first time I was able to swim pain free but like the running I hope to build it up slowly
250m warm up
250m swimming on side - 6 lengths 1arm in front 4 lengths no arms in front (takes some getting used to)
250m single arm drill
250m breathing every 5 strokes
250m closed fists
250m normal freestyle

I have been seen by the lovely people at Marylebone Physiotherapy http://www.marylebonephysio.com/ and can't recommend them enough. We are tackling some of my injuries i've picked up over the years. I have a little routine that i'm doing every day on the following areas
1. Thoracic spine movement
2. Achilles strength
3. Glutes etc,

Saturday, 10 December 2011

PARK RUN www.parkrun.com
This was my third park run. For the first one I pushed George round in the buggy. On the second I arrived late (we take George to disabled swimming on Saturday's) and ran too fast to try and make up time - I pulled my left achilles as a result.

This has taught me to be a bit more patient when returning from a break. There will always be more races.

So today was an exercise in sticking to the plan - run slowly with friends. Which I am happy to say I achieved.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Time to start writing - 33 Weeks to go before the UK Ironman (22nd July 2012)

As I split training into 11 week blocks now is a good time to start.
Its been two months since Hawaii, giving me some time to "reflect" (an overused word!) and put on some weight.
I've continued to train, whilst cutting back dramatically on the volume. In so doing i've made quite a few mistakes. 
The bottom line is i've picked up a few injuries - Left shoulder (swimming too fast), Left achilles (running too fast) and a dodgy right leg (cause???) more about all that later.

I was pleased with my training over the winter/spring of the last season. What worked well was a focus on "break-through" sessions. This involves a steady progression in the difficulty of workouts, away from a focus on the "amount" of training. This brings with it a bigger awareness of recovery - if you are unable to progress you haven't recovered sufficiently from the previous session. Without knowing it I had come across a way of training that is gaining a wider following.

It has been a long held ambition of mine to do 5 x 5min x 300W with 3mins recovery.
Today I made a little progress towards that illusive goal.
3 x 5min x 300W x 90rpm with 5min recovery and a 4th set of 2.5min. In the summer I could just about do 5mins once.

Heart rates over 160 on the bike has taken some getting used to!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

We received a lovely letter from Chrissie Wellington this week.

For those of you who don't know she won the women's race (for the 4th time!) and holds the world record for the fastest time ever. She crossed the finish line with our flag and returned it to us signed, and also a signed photo for George.

We will be auctioning the flag for George's charity "cri du chat"

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Thought i'd make a quick note - it's a common question to be asked _ "how long does it take to recover". Well today I feel back to normal (that's 8days). Recovery is a complicated subject and true recovery/adaptation both physical and mental may take far longer. However the aches, pains, energy levels and appetite are back to normal.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Just arrived back in the UK, race report to follow. We are all very jet lagged - I think I have night time duty for the kids as Ella is on a course tomorrow.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Hawaii Ironman 2011 Race Report


Firstly i'd like to say as a rule, I find people's race reports very self obsessed and boring. The purpose of this one is to jog my memory in the years to come and maybe help anyone else who takes part. There were a lot of little things I wasn't prepared for and pre-warning could have helped. 

After a broken night's sleep (not my nerves, George was fidgeting) we all got up at 3.30am I gathered all my stuff together (energy drink, water, swim gear, bike shoes, bike bottles, garmin etc) put the first application of sunscreen on and had my third breakfast. 
We left the house at 4.15am not knowing whether Kona would be a traffic jam with nowhere to park or would be a well oiled corporate machine.
We got to the start and parked with no problems at all - this was a first!
Then onto body marking. Instead of the usual long lines there were multiple tables and no waiting. I'm used to getting someone with a marker pen just write the number. Here they use proper bold stamps and fill in any mistakes with a permanent marker. 
There had been an emphasis on not putting sunscreen on until body marking, but there wasn't a problem. They used alcohol gel to clean the skin before anyway. (I hope it's not too boring but I just want this to be of use to future competitors)

Then onto weighing - this again was a new experience. It was run by the medical team presumably to give them a background level should you become unwell. Dehydration = lighter, Low sodium = heavier??
- my weight had been something i'd really focused on for Bolton but had relaxed for Hawaii. I knew this was dangerous but it was just too difficult to keep it up both mentally and maintain the spirit of co-operation with everyone who came to support.
- so what were the numbers? Well in Bolton I was between 66 and 67kg and at the weigh in I was 71.9Kg. This was perhaps not the ideal start mentally. I reminded myself that racing heavier meant 1. Stronger swim 2. Stronger bike 3. Less colds - I had felt a couple of colds coming on in Hawaii (sore throat etc, but it only lasted half a day or so)
Heavier however also meant - 1. Slower bike climbing 2. Slower run 3. Poorer heat tolerance. ( I tried not to think about these)

Then to give in the special needs bag - this is a bag you can have waiting for you at the half way point of the bike and the same on the run. I had a bottle with 3hours worth of calories for the half way point on the bike. My thoughts were that the time spent picking it up was less than the time spent lugging it round for 56miles. It's also less concentrated which is easier to stomach. I was sent on several wild goose chases trying to find the place to drop this off. It demonstrated what i've always experienced on race morning; you think you're fairly relaxed until something doesn't go to plan - then it turns into a life and death rush that hopefully you can get sorted quickly.

- I found my bike in the dark, put all the equipment on it (bottles, shoes, garmin, tools) and just gave the wheels a quick spin to check the brakes weren't rubbing. The back wheel wouldn't turn at all! At the time this was a big problem - it was dark and I couldn't see what was going on. It didn't take long for me to realise I was going to need some help sorting it out. I went asking anyone I could find where the bike maintenance man was? After 15mins of frantic to-ing and fro-ing (Having taken all the stuff off my bike again) the VERY VERY nice man calmly said no problem and fixed it in half a minute. I then asked if he wanted to do the race for me as well? He replied that they very often wish they could when they are out fixing people's problems later in the day.

- Calm descended again and I got my self prepared for the start. I felt like i'd forgotten to do something. In the UK there's always loads of pre-race gear to either hand in or give to your friends. In Hawaii's warmer climate I had none of this stuff to get rid of. It was time to get down to the start and watch the pros who were going of to the cannon! at 6.30 followed by the masses at 7.00. The gap had been made bigger this year to prevent the faster age groupers catching the slower female pros and interfering with their race.

- I hadn't given much thought to race tactics to be honest. For the swim I had a few thoughts prior 1. Everyone is going to be a good/fast swimmer. 2. It's going to be very aggressive at the front. 3. I'm inexperienced in the sea
- this led me to place myself quite a bit back from the start line. Unfortunately my assumption that everyone was going to be Duncan Goodhew was very wrong indeed. I was boxed in by some really bad swimmers. My stroke rate that i'd practiced keeping high at about 60/min stayed around 30! this gave me time to look at everyone else - I couldn't believe what I was seeing, fingers apart, dropped elbows, crossed over arms, mad kicking from the knees and foam everywhere as they muscled through the water. The result was a very comfortable albeit frustrating experience. It was impossible to make much headway through, every time I saw some clear water and put some power down i'd be blocked by the next group. I contented myself with the thought that maybe I was actually going really fast and was just benefiting from a great draft and I did take a really good line round.
- So out of the water the clock read 1h11min, disappointing but i'd survived and not used much energy.
- The first tent you reach has hoses hanging from above. These are to wash the salt water off to prevent chaffing on the bike (I think)
- The next tent, time to get ready for the bike. In Bolton i'd aimed for a fast transition but here I was much more methodical - it's also much busier! Despite this I found myself getting on the bike still wearing my swim skin. I'd forgotten to take off the lower half in the excitement. I had to find a friendly looking helper and ask if they could put it somewhere for me "my number's 1088 and it cost $300, thank you so much" I felt like a complete idiot.
My youngest supporter - Will
There were still lots of bikes in transition so the swim can't have gone so badly.
1hr11? kept going through my mind - an unhelpful ananalysis of something now in the past that I could do nothing about. The only useful thing was a determination to have a better bike. 
Getting out of transition was the usual battle - I decided to pedal for a lot longer with my feet resting on the shoes and wait for it to become safe to put them on. 
This early section was the only real technical part of the largely out and back course. A fair few people passed me but I was going around 40km/hr so didn't worry too much. For the first 45mins of riding out of town it was incredibly hard not to draft - it was often a case of four simultaneous overtakings occurring at the same time. I'd heard that whole groups of riders could be penalised and did my best to ride within the rules. Those early Kms were the most enjoyable of the race - the road was fast, I felt good, I was actually doing it. Not much else to say until the climb to Hawi (pronaounced har-vee) about 70km in.
This climb was very very hard - up until this point I had started to think a personal best of an unthinkable sub 5hr bike was on the cards. I'd done this climb before and it hadn't been too bad. The winds however were in full swing. A few pros passed going back into town which was a welcome distraction. The wind got steadily stronger coming from the right hand side and almost blowing me across the road. I haven't experienced anything like it before. The worst thing however is that I was being passed by nine riders for every one I passed - I still need to work that out - Was it the extra Kgs? or just the result of a more negative mind set. Bottom line they were better. 
This would be a great place to watch the race. Similar to the top of the climb on the UK course. I kept wishing for the turn around but it was very slow coming. I also needed to get all my drink down as I had the second waiting at "special needs"
The special needs station was well run with numerous volunteers waiting to hand you your bag. Not like the UK course that requires you to scramble through a disorganised table with everyone's bags dumped in a heap.
After the turn around there was a long downhill. My average pace had taken a bit of a beating - down from 35km/hr to 32km/hr. Unfortunately i'm not the bravest descender - my main concern was not coming off as the sidewinds continued to blow. I found myself
occasionally on the brakes unlike anyone else. The descent was actually hard work - I started to develop quite a few aches staying in the aero position and not pedalling.
By the bottom of the hill the novelty of it all had worn off, it was hot and I was keen to get back to Kona as quickly as possible, oh and my saddle was starting to get sore!
I haven't mentioned the aid stations - these were every 10km which was luxury. I only took water from each but there was a lot to choose from - coke, powerbars, gatorade, bananas, gels, etc, They were dangerous places however as many people just dropped their bottles on the floor.
By the time it got to the turn around I had started pooring water down my back, on my legs and on my feet. My feet had started to really burn and when I moved them in my shoes the pain was unbelievable. I had put some paracetamol in my drinks bottles but I didn't feel like it worked at all. I've had this sort of pain before (hot foot) but a long time ago, the left being much worse than the right. I felt like the right foot needed to be out more and the left wedged.
The main thought at this stage is how on Earth am I going to run a marathon on these painful feet - fortunately it seems to be very cycling specific and goes immediately on running.
The ride back to Kona was through the lava fields and covered ground I had become very familiar with (it helped a bit). Pacing wise i'm not sure what was going on as I would pass people and then they would pass me - was it me or them putting out random surges of power?
Some pictures of lava fields;
Helicopters at Waikoloa

My garmin cycle data can be found at:

I'm fairly happy with this overall. I kept my heart rate relatively low early on pushing it in the last third and not going over my ceiling of 143/min. The cadence was also reasonable, better if around 90/min but 80 is OK. I really need a power meter on the bike to make anymore meaningful sense of the data. 

The last 10km into transition seemed to take forever. In retrospect taking 5minutes more letting the heart rate drop a little and taking on some more calories in the final third of the bike could have been a better strategy. 

There was a rule that there should be no passing coming into town down Palani road. I took it very steady but was passed by quite a few people - not sure what happened to them. 

I left it a bit late but managed to get the garmin off the bike and my feet out of the shoes, just before the bike catchers took the bike. 

This was far better than T1. Socks, shoes, cap, sunglasses on and go. I stupidly declined the offer of suncreen thinking my P20 would do the job. 

The run
Running has always been my strong point and I set off strong with a smile on my face. I had gone too fast in Bolton so I decided to dial it back a bit to 4.30min/km. I passed people slowly and didn't get passed by many people at all. The aid stations took a while to work out. On offer was Ice, water, cola, powerbar energy drink, gels, bananas, and I seem to remember pretzels as well. I walked every aid station, water on head, cola, and energy drink then off again. I tried the sponges but was unimpressed. I also tried ice down the shorts as I'd heard of people doing that but it just melted down the legs and gave me soggy trainers. 
These aid stations were total carnage. The volunteers were brilliant - all young and enthusiastic. They really tried hard to get you to take what they were offering, "ice ice baby!"
I always find it interesting to see what different nationalities say for encouragement. The Aussies say "looking good" which works well. The English, a high pitched "don't stop" which is less effective. My first experience of the American's, "nice job" which not wanting to be ungrateful does start to annoy after a while. 
The first part of the run is a south out and back down Ali drive. There's loads of support probably because it's through a residential area. The final northern out and back is a much more solitary experience. This takes in a famous land mark "the energy lab" it's devoted to green energy and can be seen as two large solar panels, however much of it is underground relying on geothermal energy. 
It's a good time to put my run data as a picture tells a thousand words:

So at 90mins the wheels came well and truly off (see heart rate). I developed cramp in my right bum, and right hamstring, and really started, to suffer. It was a very difficult time. I tried all the positive thinking I could, some of which worked - but the very physicality of the pain made it very difficult. I wasn't alone, it was surprising how many people looked OK but would then stop and walk or vomit. 
It was also difficult to view the situation with an objective mindset. I was miserable. In the past I have really enjoyed running in the heat and found this added to the disappointment. I kept moving forwards as best I could and found a short stride rhythm that seemed to work - the most comfortable method was to run as if sitting down a bit! this seemed to stretch out the right glute and keep things at bay (luckily there are no pictures!) 
After a while I was able to think more sensibly about what was going on. It's always difficult knowing have you eaten too much or not enough. I decided to take the extra electrolyte tablets I had and also get some gels in. Within 15mins of taking the electrolytes the cramp had reduced to just a small discomfort and I was able to run, albeit slower than earlier. I did some calculations and made a resolution to stay under 6min/km. The gels worked well also.
The course had definitely given me an education - by relying on energy drink and Cola I had not taken on enough fuel or had enough salt. The reason for this; inexperience and a lack of physical stimulus - I couldn't stomach the thought of gels earlier on, and didn't have a handle on how much electrolyte was necessary. Later, I heard it was 35deg on the road that afternoon. 
So, luckily I began to feel better and a smile came back for the last 5km or so, and I was chatty once more with my fellow runners. I kept thinking just 15laps of the track to go. 
A positive consequence of saying goodbye to the sub 10hr was a determination to take the finish up Ali drive slowly. I took the time to speak to Ella and George and take a union jack over the finish line. 
It was a truly great day that I couldn't have done without all the support of friends and family. Wearing my Serpentine running club top was a brilliant decision - there was a lot of "go serpentine" which helped like never before. The overwhelming thoughts of "never again" have slowly been replaced with a sense of unfinished business.................

Finally about that flag. Ella had planned to surprise me with a big union jack for me to carry across the finish line. Unfortunately the female winner, Chrissie Wellington took it from her! Ella was a little annoyed (I am playing it down a bit) but we have both realised the flag was destined for greater things.

Run photos
Ali Drive Finish

The south out and back

The pros passing Lava Java coffee shop

Chrissie Wellington - hungry for my flag!

These passed painfully slowly

Pro men coming down Ali drive

Me - enjoying it

Ella in mid air

If only I was turning left (down the finish)

An exhausting day for George

A thirsty day for Will

Good old Aussies

Other photos
Buzz Lightyear had to come

I've yet to do a race when everyone wants to get in

The support team

The medal is absolutely huge!

George checking it for quality

They were real flowers

Hundreds of "bike counters" reporting back to the manufacturers  HQ (there were no Enigmas Howard!)

The entire support team after a very long day - thank you.


A well earned rest

After Pizza

Time to go home
Thank you to everyone who has donated to George's charity it has made it all the more rewarding an experience. 

p.s. a reminder to respect the sun;
After one day's racing!

My number's still there after 5 days!