Sunday, 31 January 2010

New hat...

The title of the above picture is 'New hat'. I took it yesterday in Leeds Hyde Park having just run parkrun. It didn't make picture of the day but I think it probably sums up exactly where I am at the moment...not literally of course, firstly I'd be freezing cold and secondly red never did suit me!!

So why does Queen Vic wearing a traffic cone on her head sum me up I hear you ask?! Probably because I'm so used to being known for one thing for the last few years. And that one thing hasn't really been photography. Of course most around me know I'm a photographer but that hasn't been the thing that has defined me and that's because triathlon and endurance training in general has.

Taking my foot off the training gas and placing it quite firmly on the photography one has up-turned my world. I wasn't sure I'd manage to make that transition to be honest. You know, the one from living life in an athletic bubble, where all you need to worry about is recovering enough for the next session and how training was going to fit around work. Now I almost certainly put work first (because I love it and we can't live off fresh air.) For once I'm training around work. I love that too. Transition made.

I'm getting back to my normal self after those hideous weeks of illness and I did feel much better running that half marathon last weekend but another good week of training this week gave me another gear in today's cross country. A few more good weeks of consistency and some harder work (and a bit more self control in the biscuit department!!) and I'll be in good shape come the London Marathon. These things I know because I've been there. That means that my mind has been freed to allow me to move my photography forward. Bombarding you all with my daily picture has been a fantastic adventure for me to take myself on. I absolutely can't wait to see them all exhibited on Wednesday 3rd February 2010. In fact I sit here typing this out with only one more day left for me to complete my year long project. A whole year!! It doesn't document my life (that wasn't the idea) but it does document moments or things that I've been privy to, liked the look of or just plain took a chance on, and that's when I knew my journey was starting. In training when you learn to relax and go with the flow (something I got close to doing but never quite managed) magic happens. And in my photography, whether you like or hate my images, there have been days where magic has happened and that's been in my hands, I love that feeling. The odd time it happened in triathlon, I loved it too but I never quite believed.

So me and my 'new hat' plan to run the London Marathon with as many quality miles my legs can afford to run. Traumatising over fitting sessions in around work won't happen. 'Training smart' in true Yelling style will happen. And fingers crossed my photography keeps growing from strength to strength. Hope to see you all on Wednesday :0)

H. x

"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." Herman Cain

P.s Well done all you VARR runners today, fantastic!

Sixteen x Sixteen

Sixteen weeks! That's all there is until perhaps the final step of this five year journey, and as the sands of time fly past our very eyes thing's are somewhat lacking in the training diary stakes! This time last year 500 January miles in the Lanzarote sun had kick started my cycling season into gear, I was in the swim form of my life, and had just cracked 80 minutes for a half marathon for the first time ever... fast forward 12 months and I'm yet to ride outside more than once in a single week and struggling to achieve any swim consistency thanks to tightness in my back causing my ulnar nerve in both arms to refer pain into my forearms and hands. Running, as the best of the three, is just about hanging in there and the only thinking keeping me from pulling the pin on my Kona dream.

On the positive side, which I'm having a pretty tough time finding, my run fitness is good enough that four months of consistent training would be enough to find the levels required to pb my Ironman marathon and even if it was tomorrow I could grit my teeth and push through to a swim only a couple of minutes down on 'best case'. But, and this really is the biggest 'but', if I'm going to take this journey all the way to Hawaii in October (or ever for that matter) I'll need to find some serious time over the 112 mile Lanzarote bike course. In 2009 I rode 5:40 before a 3:31 marathon and missed by 17 minutes... even a 3:15 run would therefore need an improvement on two wheels, not only in terms of time but also in terms of having the legs to run afterwards.

So... drastic times call for drastic measures... hence the title of this week's entry. Last year, when chilling out in Famara before Ironman Lanzarote, I read the fascinating book 'In Search of Robert Millar'... in it (and forgive/correct me if I've got this completely wrong) the young Millar asks an established Tour de France rider what it takes to get to the top... the answer simply... 16 hours per week. So, despite my current 16 hours per month (if I'm lucky) regime things are about to step up... I've joined Yorkshire Road Club and will be spending the next 16 weeks training predominantly as a cyclist with swimming and running fitting around the edge. I've scheduled a bike event for pretty much every weekend from now until May the 22nd and will be deforesting my legs before the night is out, after all... if you're going to perform like Lance you need to look like Lance ;)

16 x 16 = 256 and just maybe a plane ticket to Kona...

T ;)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Here we go...

Finally... after quite a few weeks of joint posting, late posting and the occasional very late posting here I am on a Sunday evening typing away, just like old times.

It's been a crazy month or so with loads of exciting goings on and our feet barely touching the floor. Since early December H and I have been alternately ill and have managed to tick most of the possible flu, cold, sore throat, snivelly, snotty, bunged up, Delhi belly etc etc boxes. But... for the first time in ages we are both fit and well, and hopefully it will stay that way for the remainder of 2010. All that, combined with the snow, has seen our training take a serious knock but with clear roads and even clearer heads a good February will no doubt see us back on track for each of our major athletic goals (London Marathon for H on April the 25th and Lanzarote Ironman for me on May the 22nd). We both raced the Brass Monkey half marathon this morning and with all things taken into consideration it was, as our great friend Ian put it, a fact finding mission to see where we we currently stand... I'll let H talk about her race but for me things went pretty well...

I've put in really strong performances in this race for the last couple of years and didn't expect to get close to my previous best of 1:19:35, I also really couldn't predict what my legs might be capable of so the only real race strategy was to run on feel, start fairly cautiously and just enjoy racing. I'd also trained right through (two hour turbo sessions on Friday and Saturday) so knew my legs would be a little slow to react. Last year I'd kept my heart rate in the low 160s for the first five or so miles so hitting the first mile in under six minutes with a heart rate in the low 150s things were looking up, coming through seven miles only 20 seconds down on my 2009 effort without seeing much over 159 things were really looking up... that was the point in last year's race though where I pushed on and picked up the pace right through to the final mile, this year was a different story... a few of us had formed a really good group and taking turns to push forward were maintaining a great pace, come mile eight however we were suddenly 30 seconds behind 80 minute schedule and with some of us (me included) struggling and some strong it was time for plan B... Dave and Steve pushed on (to pb's for both I think?) and myself, Ian and Rich H switched over to 'operation damage limitation'... I always look to have something in the tank for the ten mile marker and feel that if you've paced it right you should be able to find another five or so seconds per mile for the final three... this morning, although I did manage to up the effort level at that point, there was no corresponding increase in pace and it was time to 'survive'. Just when things were really going south however, around the 12 mile mark, a couple of female runners came flying by shoulder to shoulder and I managed to use their momentum to tuck in and hang on for a 6:10 mile thirteen and a 1:21:29 finish time. So, all things considered I'm super pleased to get within two minutes of my best ever half marathon and with a great swim banked on Friday (6 x 400 off 6:30 av 5:51) at least two of my three disciplines look reasonably positioned for a four month push to Lanza.

As for the bike... we'll see what happens in February. I know my two-wheeled fitness is someway short of 12 months ago, when I'd just returned from a 500 mile week in the Canaries, but with momentum seemingly returning, perhaps that sub ten Lanzarote Ironman and ticket to Kona is not such a lost cause... one thing is for sure though, this will be my final season of competitive triathlon and having chosen a non-mdot race for 2010 Ironman number two, May the 22nd will see my final chance to ever complete our road to Kona...

See you in seven,


p.s. Today's photo? One of H's great iphone snaps from when we spent the evening in London watching the musical Mamma Mia with my Dad and his wife Eleanor... good times :)

Coming out of hibernation...

I've heard that said a few times today... the title of my blog that is.

It's true, I think today for those that raced in this morning's Brass Monkey it actually woke us all up from our sleepy central heated houses and thrust us into 2010 - a tad later than planned and a little more unprepared than planned - but I feel, finally, we've all broken through!

Since getting ill on January 4th I really haven't been quite right and only this week have I actually felt human and healthy again. I was disappointed that I wasn't looking forward to this mornings race. In October I'd planned to be in great shape for today. I had begun Winter training on such a high and got myself in good nick. Then Christmas came and the routine went out of the window. I was busy at work, we spent a lot of time dashing here and there and the devil that is chocolate had started to seep it's Christmassy deliciousness slowly but surely into our cupboards via Sainsbury's and gifts... fatal!

The snow has gone, the ice has melted, and order is being restored in Meanwood. Phew... I was concerned Santa swapped my training mojo for sacks of chocolate and believe it or not I'm so much happier to have my mojo back. So... the burning question... how did I run? Especially seeing as being ill seemed to have rendered me capable of only running like one of Willy Wonka's Oompa Lumpa's.

Firstly, there was no PB (personal best) and no surprise there. But... I LOVED it today. Yes, it hurt and yes I faded near the end but I had such a great time, mostly down to the fact that for the first time I didn't run in a bubble on my own. There was a little group of us, myself, and mates Paul Sanderson, Rich Pullen and Debbie Stockley. Wow... we worked so well together. I reigned the boys in for the first 8 miles and they were strong come the end and loving it and Debbie, well what a race she had. Debbie, you were AMAZING, your grit, determination and race spirit was brilliant, you worked hard and never gave in, that helped me so much today I can't tell you, a huge WELL DONE on your 10 minute pb!!!!!

I felt comfortable in terms of my engine, we were ticking those 7:06min miles off with the odd 6:58 thrown in there for good measure like little metronomes, but my heart and lungs were writing cheques my legs couldn't cash and come mile 10 I started to fade. I crossed the line in 1:34:31 with a big grin, Paul was 15 seconds ahead of me, Rick was literally just behind me and Debbie came through seconds after that. A line in the sand that I can work on now. I just need to get these little legs of mine out on the road and used to getting a pounding again.

Time with good friends was had this weekend too as Ozzer and the Eekster who came from Oxford, stayed with us over the weekend and also raced well today, nice times kids and so good to get together, loved it!

Congrats to all the VARR runners and thanks to all the supporters who braved the cold sleety rain today, the shouts are all much appreciated.

It's good to be back.

H x

P.s Here's my 365 project invite again for those who didn't catch it first time around.

P.P.S Debra, Andy and Suki, you were missed, hope you had fun in the Lakes.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Life's a whirlwind...

…and we’re whirling around in it. I’m currently typing this as we speedily head North up the M1 in a bid to get back in time to take run club (this is us on the first half of the journey while I was driving). We’ve been in London to see Tom’s pa who is here for a two day meeting and we’ve been lucky to tie that in with a shoot that I was booked to do for Blueseventy with Alistair Brownlee. Work for both of us has been pretty manic, especially with Tom & Martin embarking on their Marathon Talk podcast but they’re loving it and I can’t wait to hear Episode 2 which will be out tomorrow (Wednesday). Thanks for the brilliant feedback from all of you who have downloaded it.

Training wise Tom has had a great week of swim, bike and run, culminating in the PECO league Cross Country on Sunday where our club, Virgin Active Road Runners all did brilliantly on a tough muddy, boggy, squelchy, wet, cold course in Ilkley. Finally the snow has gone and the ice has melted which means that we can hit the streets for our runs and Tom can get outside on his bike. On Thursday Tom, myself and our mates Dave, Paul and Russell ran our long(ish) run on a treadmill because of the icy roads. We’ve done it before and I remember it not being very pleasant then and so this session didn’t disappoint! Tom and the boys had good strong runs, they did really well. I was still recovering from the flu which had left me with lingering nausea and the second I finished I felt as sick as a dog and had to go straight to bed when we got home. What a mental challenge 22.5km on a treadmill in a hot gym is, but we all did it. Thank the lord that the ice has gone because the thought of running 16miles this week on one of those brain challenging machines is enough to tip me right over the edge!!

Brass Monkey Half Marathon is this Sunday and so unfortunately have any thoughts of a pb for me and probably Tom. We had hoped to be going into this race in good condition but with our Christmas escapades up and down the country and then being ill for what feels like forever and the lingering snow we're a few weeks short of pb's I think. The plan is to run it hard anyway and use it as a hard training session, you can't beat a race for pushing yourself.

I'm afraid our blog has been a little neglected of late. Not at all on purpose but mainly due to how busy we've been and how forgetful we're becoming due to how busy we are!! I promise that normal service will resume as soon as we're sorted and organised and actually in Leeds on a weekend!!

18 weeks of hard training for Tom now that the clock is ticking towards May and the Lanzarote Ironman and for me I've got 14 weeks to go before the London Marathon and both of us are looking forward to getting some hard consistent training in. Please, no more snow!!!

Last but not least before I sign off so I can get my weary self to bed, finally my 365 picture project details are sorted and I'd like to invite you all to the event. You'll find all of the details on this invite. So if you're reading this you are cordially invited to come and share the evening and maybe buy a print or two. Hope to see you there :0)

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz it's bedtime.... and Tom is editing Ep 2 of Marathon Talk.... he could be a while... just this little joint blog for both of us again this week.

H & T x

Sunday, 10 January 2010

2010 starts tomorrow...

Not the best start to the year for either Mr Williams or Mrs Williams. Tom was the first to be struck by poorlyness and then on return from the Yelling household I came down with flu and am only just recovering now.

Therefore Tom & I have decided that our 2010 starts tomorrow (Monday.) Back into a routine will do us both good, I just have to ease into it gently and Tom needs to make sure he's getting his bike miles in.

We're both super busy at the mo too. Tom's right in the middle of launching the Marathon Talk podcast that he and Martin are producing every week which sounds like it's going to be fab. It's a free weekly podcast that will be available to download on iTunes starting on January 13th and then every Wednesday after that.

And as the days tick by (today is Day 342) I am but 23 days away from the end of my 365 project and the exhibition. The exhibition date has now been confirmed as Wednesday 3rd February 2010. The venue will be Salvo's Restaurant on Otley Road in Headingley. The time is yet to be confirmed. Invites will be going out very, very soon. I hope you'll be there. Drop me a line if you'd like to come.

I think 2010 has much in store for both of us this year, and I do sense change for us both, a lot of change. Changing work commitments for Tom, possibly moving and training for our goals this year should keep the pair of us on our toes. I know any thoughts of pb'ing at the Brass Monkey Half Marathon at the end of January have gone down the pan and instead it will just have to be a hard training run. Tom's struggled to get outside on his bike and with more snow forecast I forsee more turbo time in the garage! As for me, well being ill for this whole week has wiped me out. I can't wait to feel fit again. Christmas put a small dent in our usual routine of training, and then Christmas pudding, chocolate & mince pies etc put a dent in our willpower!

So, tomorrow...2010 starts tomorrow and we'll be up at the crack of dawn like the good old days and we'll be in the pool starting our new year the way we would have liked last week.

Happy New year...

H & T x

P.s The pic above is of a lone man watching the sun set on the first day of 2010... (and is one of my 365.)

Monday, 4 January 2010

Too much talking...

For the second week running we find ourselves apologising for missing our Sunday blog deadline... sorry!

We've been down in Poole with our mates Martin and Liz and have spent pretty much every single minute working on Tom and Martin's exciting new project...

'Marathon Talk' is their new running podcast, with episode one due for Wednesday the 13th of January. It will be free to download with a new episode available every Wednesday covering a wide range of subjects from the world of running through regular features, interviews and discussions.

Please log on to for more information and to find out how you can keep up to date with Marathon Talk.

If you have any thoughts about things you would like us to cover, ideas for the show or feedback re the website or podcast (once it's available) please let us know via

Normal blog service will resume next week,

T & H