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Monday, 15 April 2019

84 days to change my life!


Where do I even begin with this?

84 days ago, on the 17th January I was about to embark on something which I had no clue would work.
Please don't sue me for using the logo James
I stood there on the 17th January in my boxers lacking confidence, lacking a feeling of self-worth, overweight and if I’m honest a bit unhappy with my life.

A lot of these feelings stemmed from a previous relationship which had stripped me of my happiness, my confidence and any feeling of self-worth. No, not the loss of my wife and best friend. That break up did start my depression that forced me to deal with the unresolved grief from losing my Mum in 2006.

The subsequent relationship stripped me bare, exposed me and destroyed the kind hearted happy go lucky person I was. My very close friends told me to get out but I was stuck in a rut and felt like I couldn’t escape.

Sorry for digressing but in the following two years, I had healed my depression with the help of a lot of tears, counselling and cathartic blogs but what was left of me was a shadow of my former self.

Back to being stood in my boxers, I was about to take some starting photos for the JSA Bali Challenge. My baseline. My day 0. Could this be something which could get my life back on track? Could it help me lose the weight I had put on when depressed but more importantly, could it help me find the person I had lost since my life took a turn in 2016?

The scales showed my weight as 98kg. Back in late 2015, it was below 90kg.

But more importantly than that, as I was stood there in my boxers you could see how unhappy I was from my body language and more importantly my eyes. There with no filter and nothing to hide behind. I looked and felt well……. Just sad and scared!

84 days later I stood there in my budgies, amazed at what the final pictures showed.

No I wasn’t just floored by the physical transformation which was frankly impressive and in summary;
  • 9kg in weight lost
  • 5.5” lost from my waist
  • 4.5” lost from my chest.
  • Greater muscle definition

What struck me more than that was the life and fire in my eyes, the change in my posture, the effortless smile and the zest for life which had accompanied the physical change.

If you had asked me 84 days ago, what I thought was possible. I would have answered. I don’t know.

I entered the challenge for accountability, to help keep me on track for my triathlon races in 2019. I never in all honesty expected this amount of change.

To have achieved either the physical change or the mental improvement would have shocked me in such a short space of time.

To have somehow managed both absolutely blows my mind.

In 84 days I have morphed from a shy person who wasn’t happy in their skin to someone who truly loves the person they are. Someone who is resolute in the fact they are a nice helpful person who goes out of their way to help others.

And I owe all this to James Smith and the JSA. Quite simply the most awe inspiring supportive community of people I have ever had the pleasure of coming across.

Honestly the amount of confidence I have gained is beyond words.

This amazing group of people. The Academy coaches and all the JSA members.

These LEGENDS (and I don’t use that word lightly) have helped transform me into the person
  • Who can walk into a room of strangers as I have done several times on JSA meets and start conversations with people he has never met before.
  • Who can swagger round the gym like Conor McGregor.
  • Who can stand there in his budgies on holiday in Tenerife and frankly not care what anyone thinks of him.

These people have supported me, encouraged me, commented on my progress, drank gin with me, drank shots with me and some amazing truly inspirational people have become friends for life.

James I can honestly say no amount of thanks can repay what your Academy has done for my life.

Let’s take a look at two photos side by side. One is from 27th January before a sea dip after the first JSA meet I attended in Newcastle. The other is from yesterday. Same person, completely different posture and belief in himself. #mindblown


Another thing I owe James a lot of thanks for is his stance on mental health. James is using his social media presence of ~660,000 followers to promote something which is very close to me. And I can never ever repay my thanks for that.

As someone who has battled with depression and suicidal thoughts, this floors me. I wrote a blog about my battle with depression and if it helped one person get help it was worth the tears shed writing it. James is doing something of a similar vein but his reach is far greater than mine will ever be and on his podcast he said exactly the same. If it helps one person, it was worth it. You James are a diamond for sharing your thoughts on mental health and I firmly believe that prehab for mental health could be something which could change society.



Anyway back to the challenge. Here are the full before and after photos from my challenge. I literally can’t believe these.



I can’t believe I have managed this scale of change while drinking gin beer, tequila and vodka slushies. While eating pizza, ice cream and takeaways. While #livingmybestlife. The knowledge I have learnt about being mindful with my food will benefit me for years to come. So James again thank you form the bottom of my heart. If you want to see what the Academy is all about, please investigate the free trial.

I approached this challenge to make is sustainable, to fit any changes around my current life. To ensure that it is no flash in the pan fix, but to make permanent changes which I can manage for years to come.

I admit I do a lot of cardio to train for my sport and any changes I was to make had to fit around that. I want to be the best version of me and I get a joy from my #nutjob sport of triathlon. I love coaching people to swim and I love pushing myself across swim, bike and run.

The changes I was to make had to fit around all aspects of my life. I get joy from being social and being the happy go lucky person I am so being able to do this challenge while enjoying all the gin was a must to me.

What changes have I made in the last 12 weeks?
  • I’ve tracked my food
  • I’ve upped my protein
  • I’ve started eating more carbs and less fat.
  • I’ve upped my water consumption
  • I’ve had less beer and more gin.
  • I’ve started going to the gym twice a week to lift weights. This is something I have never had any interest in, in the first 37 years and 5 months of my life.
  • I’ve backed off my running a bit to pursue this challenge because I started to notice the benefits of weight training. Somehow I got within touching distance of my 10km PB form 2015 off minimal training. Who knew lifting shit could have such an impact on my running?
I literally feel like I have won at life in these short 12 weeks and it is all down to the Bali Challenge and the support of the JSA coaches and members. Thanks all.

So what is next for me after the challenge?

As I have approached this sustainably I plan on using the knowledge I have gained to continue losing weight. I still have some fat to lose and with my qualification races looming where I could qualify represent GB in 2020 in Canada. I want to be in the best shape possible come race day. Can you believe some legends and friends have offered to come and support me while I race?

I have more JSA meets planned in Belfast, Cardiff, Leeds and Barcelona and I can’t wait to meet some more legends in the flesh and catch up with some friends.

As well as all that I plan on using the things I have learnt to help others. Be they family or friends or members in JSA because the last 12 weeks have truly changed my life. So I’m enrolling for the next challenge as it helps keep me focussed and I have a few important races on the horizon.

Thanks for reading,

Michael
91% of the person I was 12 weeks ago weight wise, but 1 million percent more confident, outgoing and fun to be around.
Proud JSA member.
JSA Bali Challenge 2.0 Finisher.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

The JSA time machine

Let's wind the clock back four years. The date is March 2015 and I have been smashing myself to bits completing 27 runs in the lead up to a PB attempt at Gainsborough 10k. I picked this as it was flat and local to Doncaster.

I'd made no secret of my desire to finally get under 50 minutes. I'd lined up a pacer to help me go under the magic barrier that had eluded me. My friend Mark had agreed to pace me round which then meant I didn't have to worry about pace or my watch. I just had to stick with him and let him do the thinking. Let him control the speed. If you've never run with someone pacing you, it does take so much pressure off you.

We lined on the start line and I put my trust in Mark. 47 minutes and 54 seconds of pain later, we crossed the line.

That was it, my first ever sub 50 10k. My new benchmark.

Fast forward to 2019.

Quick summary of those four years.

  • Separation
  • Divorce
  • Depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Poor life choices
  • Counselling
  • Weight gain
  • Get over my depression
  • Find James Smith on instagram
  • Join the James Smith Academy
I've neglected my running of late as I've been living my best life. I've been attending JSA meets, drinking all the gin and enjoying my life again.

I've only run 17 times this year with only 4 of those runs being endurance runs longer than 3 miles.

Most of the others have been the weekly track session I coach at.

However I am lighter than I've been in a long time. 10% lighter than at the end of 2018 in fact. Thanks to JSA and the coaches for giving me the tools to achieve this.

I have also been getting stronger using the programmes from the Academy. Who knew I'd enjoy the gym so much.

One of my Bali goals is a sub 50 10k but I had envisaged doing a lot more running before attempting it. My last 10k was a really steady run with a friend which was well over an hour in duration..

Is it possible that I could achieve a sub 50 10k at Gainsborough today off minimal run training just by using the Academy for weight loss, gin drinking and strength training?

After a good track session this week, where I ran 4 x 1km at around 4:30 I felt relaxed. But 1km is a lot shorter than 10km. LOL.

I lined up on the start line and had a plan. Run 4:40/km for as long as I could hold them for and then roll the dice and see how hard I could go. I was really concerned that I would have a ridiculous blow up at about mile 4.


I went through 4km in 18:39 which was bang on pace. However the headwind I was running into caused my 5th km to below my target pace. It was like running through treacle and sapped my strength.


I used the next 2km to try to recover before trying to kick on in the last 3km to see what I could do. To see if I could achieve my Bali goal

I had no idea of time until I crossed the finish line and looked at my watch.

The time was 48:08. A mere 14 seconds outside my PB off no specific training. Thanks to JSA for allowing me to turn back the clock four years. 


Imagine what I'll achieve in 2020 when I've been using the Academy another year when I might have done a bit more specific training. When I know I'll be lighter and stronger.


The Academy is really the gift that keeps on giving.
  • Weight loss - check
  • Increased confidence - check
  • Increased self worth - check
  • Time machine for running - check. Thanks to Dr* James Smith for allowing this
*not actually a Dr but a reference to Back to the Future

Still amazed by what I achieved today without a pacer and minimal specific endurance training.

Do yourself a favour and if you're not already a member sign up to his 5 DAY FREE TRIAL and see first hand the thing which has helped change my life and the lives of a lot of other legends. I'm not on commission for this, just sharing the love of something which has absolutely changed my life for the better.

Thanks for reading,

Michael

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

89 days of banking (with food) and changing my life


I know I have previously mentioned how JSA has changed my life but I can’t quite convey how much it has.

On 17th January I weighed 15 stone 6 pounds, today I weigh 14 stone 0 pound. That’s a loss of 20 pounds. Or to flip that I weigh nearly 10% less than I did. Sorry what!

I’ve already admitted to being sceptical about JSA before I joined but was open to exploring it and seeing if it could work.

Before I took the plunge and joined, I emailed James Smith to ask his opinion.

“Aye up,

Long time Insta follower and debating joining the academy……

I know you don’t advocate cardio per se but I’m a fairly competitive triathlete who has a coach for that but not nutrition. Is the academy the right place of me to try and get a handle on my nutrition and lose the weight I want to lose?

Hope to hear back from you soon”

His reply the following day made me have a think.

“Not specialised in Triathletes TBH!

I am sure there are more specific coaches out there, we're more general pop!”

Despite this; just four days later I took the plunge with the black Friday deal and signed up to the Academy. Life is about taking risks sometimes and I needed something to keep me accountable so I could lose some weight to help me be a better triathlete.

Best decision I’ve ever made. PROBABLY! (at the time but I am only 37 and there's a lot more decisions to be made)

The first few weeks took some getting used to. To.put this into context. I’d been playing with CFD since 22nd November until 17th January but wasn’t seeing any real changes. Basically I’d been eating like a dickhead.

When Sean sent me a message in coach chat for a check in during week 1 of Bali. I asked something which had been mithering me.

What activity level should I select for the nutrition calculator? Moderate or high?

I’d selected moderate despite having a desk job. Why?

Well my usual (since joining the Academy) training week looks something like this!

Monday – Gym
Tuesday – Swim
Wednesday – Bike and run
Thursday – Gym
Friday – Rest or catch up with missed sessions
Saturday – Run
Sunday – Bike

I thought perhaps I should have selected very active hence my query.

Can't believe how much I enjoy the gym. It's somewhere I've avoided for 37 years.
Sean came back said he’d choose lightly active. I was a bit shocked by this. And it took me some getting used to given how active I am.

I also learnt to track my calories weekly instead of daily in the first few weeks and not deduct the calories I spent exercising to help me. Thanks for the tip Pippa and the ongoing support. #LEGEND

But after Sean’s email I made the changes and immediately started to notice the differences. This change kickstarted my weightloss.

Week
Pounds Lost
Inches Lost
1
5
0.25
2
3
2.25
3
3
1.5
4
3
5
5
0
0
6
3
2.25
7
2
2.25
8
1
1.5

So what does a 71” tall 14 and a bit stone lightly active triathlete get to eat every day. Anything I want as long as over the course of the week I hit my protein and calorie targets.

My daily protein and calorie targets are 138g protein 2140kcal. This equates to (in an ideal world) a maximum of 14980 calories and a minimum of 966g of protein a week.

That’s it. No magic just track what I eat and drink (#ginforthewin). Here’s a weekly run down of what I’ve managed since the start of Bali.

Week
Calories (Over target by)
Protein
1
15757 (350)
1083g
2
Didn’t track for four days
3
15407 (0)
1121g
4
15365 (385)
1181g
5
16009 (1029)
1030g
6
15715 (735)
1149g
7
16128 (1148)
966g
8
16191 (1211)
1253g


My calorie target for week 1-4 was slightly higher but I recalculated my numbers after losing a stone. Originally my calories were 2201 kcal per day. As you can see I’ve only ever managed to hit CFD once which was in week 3 when it was spot on. But my protein has always been above my target. And because CFD is based on a 15% reduction from TDEE  I have actually always been in a deficit.

Because of how active I am. I have been careful. If I’ve felt hungry, I’ve eaten. I’ve not attempted to starve myself because I want this to be sustainable. I do some quite intense sessions through the week so if I feel I’m going into these slightly hungry, I’ll do something about it because I want my body to perform at its best. There would be no point me going to a track session not able to produce the speeds I know I can because that would have a negative effect on my mood.

I’ll admit to being quote robotic with my food in the week. But what do I eat? Just thought I’d write this down for you all to appreciate. I eat 5 times a day as I find it works for me. Three main meals and two light snacks

Meal
Calories
Carbohydrates
Protein
Fat
Breakfast
Oatso Simple made with milk, a scoop of protein power and ~60 calories of fruit
388
46
32
7
Mid morning
Carrot and Skyr
142
19
15
1
Lunch
Ham cheese and egg salad wrap, pre packed chicken breast, Babybel Light, 50g blueberries, Kit-Kat, Satsuma, Jelly,
675
64
45
28
Afternoon
Satsuma, baby tomatoes, boiled egg
119
10
9
6
Tea
300g Chicken breast, 250g carrot and swede mash, 150g peas and sweetcorn and a jelly
522
25
80
2
Drinks
200ml of milk for coffee/tea
97
3
7
3
Total
1943
174 (36%)
188 (39%)
55 (25%)

So why the reference to banking in the title.

Well logging food  is like banking. Overspend (consume too much) and you'll put weight on. Save by sticking in a #caloriefuckingdeficit and you'll start to see changes. It really is as simple as managing your money but most people don't do this with calories.

Aside from the physical changes I am making and the improvement they are having on my triathlon adventures. Running is significantly easier weighing 89kg as opposed to 98kg. WHO KNEW?

The more important changes I am making are the things you can’t see.


  • The growth in my circle of friends. Some of these I know will be in my life forever.
  • The increase in my confidence
  • My increased feeling of self-worth
  • My belief in the person I have known I am all along, who got lost since 2016. That person who will go out of his way to help people.
  • Putting myself out of my comfort zone and going to JSA meets to meet people I’ve never met before. Despite my extroverted demeanour, I was so nervous before the first Newcastle meet.
  • My ability to ignore people who are a drain on my happy.

I really can’t thank James, the other coaches and the #LEGENDS in the Academy for making the last 56 days so truly epic. There’s 28 days to go and I can’t wait to meet the person I am at the end after starting this life changing process.

I really am living my best life, going to the gym,  drinking all the gin and losing weight at the same time and it’s as simple as tracking what you put into your body. #CFDforthewin

Cheers,

Michael

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Circle of life – re-finding my happy

Sit down, grab a brew and if you’re feeling emotional maybe grab some tissues.

I’m not going to pull any punches with this because I have nothing to hide. No skeletons in my closet that I’m ashamed of. Just a rollercoaster period of just over 36 months.

Speaking with a friend recently about how up and down the last three years have been for me. I realised I have been through a whole host of emotions and pain and I am only now re-finding what makes me happy. Recentering myself and a lot of that is because I have only just learnt to love myself.

I remarked to her that something which I am currently undertaking (patience, there’s more about that later) is “the crowning glory of a three year long battle for me. My final transformation from a quiet caterpillar to a zero fucks given butterfly”

But before we get to that, let wind the clocks back.

September 2015. Playing matchymatchy at a friends wedding (excuse the wife's handbag)
Probably the best shape of my adult life.
September 2015. This is what racing weight looks like for me.
The time was November 2015 and I was on top of the world. I weighed less than I did as a teenager and I was head over heels in love with my best friend. It’s only on rereading what I wrote then that I realise what a good place I was in. I implore you to read the letter I wrote to myself aged 13 to fully grasp what a good place I was in. I’d just set a PB for 5k of 22 minutes dead and was about to embark on a quest to qualify to represent GB in Mexico.

Just four short months later, my entire world came crumbling down around me. Everything I knew to be true in my world was suddenly gone as my marriage imploded.

Two people got lost and the result was the loss of my best friend from my life.

But more than that, this loss caused my unresolved grief from 2006 to come to the surface. And that was gut wrenching and required the assistance of professionals.

I ended up suicidal, broken, a shadow of my former self and barely functioning at work or life, if I’m being honest.

Over the next two years I healed with help of friends, family, colleagues and the understanding of my employer.

Also in these two years, I made some pretty epic fuck ups. I made some poor life choices which only exacerbated my depression.

I lost friends and I completely lost my way in life. But more than all of that I lost my self worth and confidence and my belief in the kind hearted person I am.

But eventually I saw the light and broke free from the cloud that was engulfing me and swallowing up all my energy with the help of counselling.

If you want to read about that period in more detail then please read this.

So that’s November 2015 to Feb 2018 covered and not once have I mentioned that fact that somehow I functioned as a triathlete in this period. I somehow got to Mexico to represent GB. Not my best performance but I got there on merit. And despite all the photos showing me happy, I truly wasn’t. Behind that fake smile lied a maelstrom of pain, guilt and grief. It is amazing how good an actor you can become if you are too proud to admit to people that you are suffering.



Behind that fake smile was a whole world of pain 
Nowhere near in the shape I was in 2015.
In Feb 2018 I weighed 15 stone 10 lbs, whereas in November 2015 I was 14 stone dead (and yes I have the spreadsheet to prove it). I’d even dabbled with Slimming World in an attempt to lose some of my depression weight. Given my mum’s alcohol addiction, I made the decision early on that food would be my vice when I was in the throes of depression. Not a wise choice but I could’ve chose a far worse vice.

April 2017.In the throes of my depression weighing far more than I'm comfortable with
Over the last year aside from doing my best to break down the barriers regarding mental health by sharing my blog and going out of my way to talk to people who I can tell need to talk.

Somehow I also managed to qualify for Australia to represent GB again. I have also been toying with my diet, trying to find the magic bullet. Does one exist?


Don't know how I managed that. Nowhere near my 2016 weight.
I went back to what worked in 2015 but wasn’t happy or satiated, then one day I saw a video by James Smith. Who the hell is James Smith I asked myself. Then I found him on instagram.

I lurked in the background for several months and watched the content on his socials, followed his challenge winners and couldn’t believe my eyes or ears. Followed some of his coaches and absorbed what they were saying like a sponge absorbing water.I signed up to his daily emails to get more #knowledgebombs

Is it really that simple?

Is it really as simple as a #caloriefuckingdeficit

Surely not!

Cue more lurking and watching. I tried his free trial and used his calculator and eventually decided on Black Friday to take the plunge. I justified it to myself that it was less than Slimming World each week and at worse I’d lose £81.

Over the rest of November I trialled food which allowed me to hit my protein and calorie targets from the calculator in the Academy.

Every three months, the Academy runs a challenge where the prize is a once in a lifetime holiday.

I thought I’d use this challenge as accountability to help me get back to my best racing weight so I could maybe qualify for Worlds in Canada in 2020. Did I think it could work? Not really if I’m being honest so I approached it with caution. Worst case scenario I’m £81 out of pocket.

The challenge started on w/c 14/01/19 and I stepped onto the scales after an over indulgent Christmas weighing 15 stone 6.2 lbs.

That was it, my starting point. Only progress from here on in for 12 weeks and then the rest of my life using the knowledge I have gained.

I now sit here 6 weeks later weighing 14 stone 3.8 lbs.

Over a stone lighter.

Have I starved myself? NOPE!

Have I eaten takeaways? YUP!

Have I drunk beer? YUP!

Have I messed up? YUP!

Have I restricted treats? NOPE! in fact somedays I’ve had a full tub of ice cream because I’ve allowed for it in my weekly calories.

So how the hell have I done this?

Simple. Tracked everything I’ve consumed, upped my protein and moved more. I’ve used the Academy for what it was designed for.

But more than that I’ve embraced the Academy for what it truly is. It’s a support network of over 8000 people who are there and have your back through anything. Who are there to celebrate your successes and help you in your lows with no judgement. I have seen some truly unbelievable acts of kindness since November.

I’ve seen
  • People pay for peoples membership as they couldn’t afford it 
  • Offer to help with flights after booking errors 
  • Offer support for things far worse than the root cause of my depression 
  • Rally round to pick people up after what they perceive to be failure 
  • Encourage people to achieve 
  • Encourage people to push outside their comfort zone 
It truly is an amazing movement, in fact it’s more than that. IT’S FAMILY.
  • I’ve had support. 
  • I’ve given support. 
I’ve made friends with people who I know will impact on my life for the rest of it.

For the first time in my adult life I’ve purchased and fit into medium t-shirts (3 of them to be precise). And I’m not even afraid to say. I felt amazing this past weekend when wearing one. It’s a new feeling walking down the street and being eyed up. And it felt good. Like really good.



Aside from the frankly epic changes which are happening to my body (photos below). I’m not even apologising for the fact that there are photos of me in budgies. So there! Look at the stance change as well as the weight loss.



The best part of all.

I’ve found me again. I’ve found my happy. I’ve recentred myself and am brimming with confidence. I love myself and life and feel truly whole again for the first time since March 2016. It’s been a long time coming but I’M BACK.

There’s six weeks left in this challenge and by the end of it, I know I’ll be a better version of me than when the challenge started in January 2019. And all the joy I currently feel is because of what James and the team behind the scenes have created. It’s fucking epic.

Thanks for reading,

Michael
Proud JSA Member

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Once in a lifetime trip. Not the race I wanted part 2

After rounding up my trip in part 1. This post concentrates on the actual race.

As stated previously getting to Gold Coast was my victory. I had an aim for my race and as you can probably guess from the title. Not everything went to plan.

My goal was to finish in the top 50 of those in my age group. But even now looking at the results, that was a stretch. To get in the top 50 would have required me being nearly 7 minutes quicker than I actually was. It would have meant my best triathlon performance ever!

Even with the help of my coach getting me into my best shape in a long time, I was still some way off where I was in late 2015 / early 2016.

Back before my issue I weighed around 14 stone and could hold 300W which equated to my w/kg being around 3.4. After my last FTP test before Australia my w/kg was more like 2.6

That's a huge difference. Weighing more and outputting less power really does matter in biking even if the course is flat(tish).

But enough of the excuses. Back to the actual race day.

I woke up to be greeted with more wind than I would have liked.


My race wasn't until 12:50 in the afternoon so I tried my best to relax. Relaxing when you've still got jet lag and been awake most mornings, at 4am is a struggle. I decided to make the most of it and read my book.

I had a decision to make come race morning. Wear my wetsuit or not. The water temp was about 20 degrees so it was up to the athletes. As a swimmer it's not an easy decision to make. Would I lose more time swimming without a wetsuit or would I lose more time removing my wetsuit in T1. It's always a gamble in a sprint. I decided to put on my transfers and make the decision later.


After eating breakfast I made my way over to the race venue.


First job when I arrived was to visit my bike and pump up my tyres and finalise my transition area.


Once I'd done this I went hunting for shade. I was doing my best not to dehydrate. I was also conscious not to overhydrate like I did in Mexico, which is what I think went wrong.


Before my race I decided to don my wetsuit, as it turns out that was a good choice as the zipper on my trisuit broke 10 minutes before my start.

After making my way to the start pen, I was starting to feel nervous. The enormity of what I had achieved got to me again like it did in Cardiff. I was starting to feel emotional. I had done it. I had managed to get to Gold Coast, to the World Championships.

Just 7 months before I had my breakthrough at my counselling and set this ball in motion when I was a long way off fitnesswise.

After getting lost in the enormity of my achievement, I had zoned out and we were ushered through to the next pen, which was a snap back to reality. I decided to put myself on the left of the pen so I would be taking a slightly wider route on the swim course at the first buoy but it would be less punchy.

In local races at home I'll put myself in the mix as I'm normally one of the better swimmers in the field but in the World Championships I know I am a small fish in a big pond.

The horn went and we were underway. I dolphined once to get to deeper water and set off swimming. I reach the first buoy and was glad I took it slightly wide, as it looked to a mass of thrashing limbs.

On the second straight I was starting to pick people off. I do love racing the swim tactically and building into it rather than going full gas and dying like these people had done.

I was passing people and counting them off. 1, 2, 3, 4........

I turned the final buoy and could see the pontoon. I did my best to stick on peoples feet and exited the water. I ran to T1 and noticed I was out the water before Duncan who was two bikes down from me. We normally exit at the same time so I knew I'd had a good swim.

I grabbed my bike and ran to the bridge. As I was leaving Duncan was arriving so I was about 30 seconds up on normal

On reaching the mount line I hopped on and set to the task at hand. After about 500m, Duncan caught me. He told to jump on his wheel. I went with him and two others but no sooner had I latched onto the draft than they were gone.

I buried myself trying to get back on but felt lethargic. My quads were killing. What was going on? To make matters worse I was riding into a head wind.

I reached the lumpy part of the course and saw someone had already stacked it. Poor bloke. After the short climb it was downhill and then back to the coastal highway. Still nothing in my legs.

Just soldier on. Do you best.

I turned at the far end and was relieved for the til wind finally.

I buried myself. Didn't feel great and the numbers from my power meter reflect that.


Average power was only 235W, it should have been closer to 260W. Average HR was 164bpm, it should have been closer to 170.

Some days you have a good race some days you don't.

My bike was 36:33, Duncan and the pack he rode with put 5 minutes into me. Thats a ridiculous amount of time to lose.

I dismounted before the line and ran into T2. Wow it felt hot.

Throw on my trainers and set about the task at hand. 5000m. The only goal. Don't be as shit as Mexico. Run to the best of my current fitness.

I had a target in mind and wanted to go sub 25 for the 5km.

That meant each kilometre had to be less than 5 minutes.

I wasn't enjoying the heat, it was a case of getting to the next aid station and throwing water over myself.

After the first lap I was so jealous of those who were heading to the finish. I wanted it to be me. Just 12 and a half minutes let of pain and it would be.

I normally have really awful photos of me running but I made a conscious effort to note where the photographers were so I could get at least one decent photo of me.

Is that a smile?
I pushed onto the end and was so relieved to be running down the finishing chute. I had no idea if I had managed to go sub 25 but I don't think I could have done any more on that day.


No one can ever take the feeling of running down that finishing chute away from me. Yes it wasn't the race I wanted but I set myself a goal, I believed it was possible (when I'm sure many others didn't), I put in the hard work and I MADE IT HAPPEN.

Don't let other peoples opinions or beliefs put you off the path which you believe you can forge in life. If I had I wouldn't have been in Australia competing in the World Championship.

Me the ex smoker, me the ex fat kid who was useless at running, me the survivor of depression, me the former obese couch potato. Yes all this things but most importantly.....

ME THE GREAT BRITAIN AGE GROUP TRIATHLETE!!!!!

It was an amazing feeling and something I will cherish for a long time.

It's all about the bling
I collected my medal and just enjoyed the moment.

With a nice touch of fate, the race took place on Thursday with was also the same day the Doncaster Free press is released. I hadn't told many people before I left but they had written an article about my appearance in Australia and this was the day it got released.

Look it's little old me
I got some very nice messages about this article, none more so than the one I received from Gia (someone from Twitter who I have never ever met)


I was so humbled by those kind words.

Anyway I digress, the results form the race were out. Not quite what I wanted but let me take the positives.

Swim PB and sub 25 5k in the bag.


Job done. Now to enjoy the rest of my trip down under. This will not be my last appearance in the fabled blue suit.

I'd like to thank Balfour Beatty and Huub Design for their support in getting to the World Championships. I really am fortunate to have these two companies in my corner either helping me with kit costs in the case of Balfour Beatty or supporting me in all things triathlon like Huub. #HUUBSTER

Thank for reading,

Michael
GB Age Group Triathlete