I got to the pool with a rough idea of what I was doing. I’d brought the paddles, pull buoy and band and was going to do a strength session. Until that was I saw Patrick come out on deck and he came over and offered to pace me through a set.
Not wanting to lose face I of course told him to jump in but I quickly qualified the invitation by telling him how slowly I’m swimming hoping he’d go easy in me.
I jumped on Patrick’s feet for the 2×200 “easy” warm up. I was coming in with splits that were faster than I’ve managed for my hard efforts.

This was not going to end well.

Click on through for the full blog but be warned there’s some swearing…

After the warm up Patrick said we’d do 5×200 and I thought he said we’d go off 3:40. I wasn’t sure if I’d heard him right but if I did then I could manage that.

My understanding of “going off” a time is that that is how long you have to complete an interval including the recovery. So the 3:40 might have meant swimming the 200m in 3:30 and having 10 seconds rest for a total of 3:40.

This was a bit faster than I’d been swimming for the last couple of weeks but I thought that with the benefit of drafting off Patrick I’d manage it.

Patrick pushed off and I hurriedly followed getting as close as I could to his feet as I could to maximise the draft without hitting him. He might take that to mean he was going too slowly and go even faster.

I was working hard from the start and by the halfway point I was having to breath every stroke. I managed to stay on his feet to the end of the interval and touched the wall to hear Patrick comment that ” hey you just did a 3:15!”

Holy fuck! I haven’t seen a 3:15 in 4 years.

He then added that I did great and that we’d do them all at that speed. Before I could even curse at him he’d pushed off.

Holy fuckery! What happened to going off 3:40?!?!?

I frantically turned and scrambled to get back on Patrick’s rapidly disappearing feet. My effort level was at 9.5/10 within seconds. Just to be clear 9.5/10 is a very unpleasant place to be for any prolonged period of time.

I just about held on to the end and made it in on his feet again although I think he slowed and waited for me as I started to implode.

I think he called it as a sub 3:20 and again commented that that was great. I was too busy trying not to puke to answer.

Then he was gone again. The fucker.

Again I chased and about half way through I realized that I’d only got one more to go. I can hang on for that I thought. At the same time I was thinking it was a good thing I didn’t eat before this session.

Patrick was waiting after every turn as every muscle started to tie up. I felt like I was slowing so much I thought this must be a 3:50. I checked my watch at the end and it showed 3:24. Despite my immense discomfort I was perversely happy that I’d not fallen apart completely.

Then Patrick said we only had two to go and pushed off.

I nearly puked! Fuck how did I miscount up to three??!?!? I was clearly delirious and hallucinating. Or maybe Patrick was messing with my head.

Either way his feet were disappearing into the distance and no matter how hard I pushed I just couldn’t close the gap. He waited after the turn again. It’s hard to know if he wanted to help me stay on pace or just wanted to turn the screw a little more. Either way he dragged me through another one. I’m thinking that this one has to be close to 4 minutes….I’m dying.

I stopped the watch on 3:25. Fuck that’s not bad. And instantly Patrick was gone again. I guess I’m not getting any recovery for the last one.

I was completely fried and couldn’t stay on his feet for even half of the first length. My stroke had gone to shite as my arms, shoulders, chest and lats all tied up. I was taking on water like a sinking ship with every gasping, ragged breath and I thought my heart would explode. When I finally hit stop on the watch I saw a 3:33. All I wanted to do was crawl out and lie on the deck and die but Patrick had other plans. He seemed to think that we should go straight into 100 meters of backstroke. I almost cried.

He went on to drag me through another kilometer albeit at a slightly slower pace.

At some point during the session I decided that it would be a good idea to subject myself to this at least once a week and I resolved to ask Patrick to work with me or at least allow me tag on for one of his sessions.

When I asked after the session he kindly agreed to knock lumps out of me again on Thursday.

I’m so excited about it I could just shit…

Monday 2:10 (2)

Swim 1:00 3000m

Run 1:10 14k

PM run 3×12 mins 10k effort off rec 3 mins jog recovery

  • Energy 7/10
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work 4 hours
  • Sleep 8.5 hours

Tuesday 4:15 (3)

Swim 1:05 3200

Bike 2:30 60k 780m ascent

Swim :40 1900m PM open water

  • Energy 8/10
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work off
  • Sleep 9 hours. Good

Wednesday —


  • Energy 7/10
  • Motivation 7/10
  • Work 10 hours
  • Sleep 8 hours

Thursday 1:30 (1)

Swim 1:30 4000m
Warm up 2×200 at 3:52, 3:57

Patrick warm up 400, 300, 200, 100. Splits 7:18, 5:23, 3:36, 1:41

M/S 2×300, 2×200, 2×100, 4×50. Splits

5:05 drafting, 5:08 nd, 3:25 nd, 3:24 nd, 1:41 nd, 1:42 nd. 50’s we’re coming in on 47-49 going off 1 min. All the rest were off 5-8 seconds recovery.

I was still sore from Mondays swim and two more on Tuesday. It’s the first time that’s happened in a long time. I was nervous from the start that I wouldn’t be able to keep up at all and that I’d be left flailing in Patrick’s wake. Literally in his wake. He actually goes so fast that I could probably tie a rope around his waist and do that wake boarding thing behind him.

Most of the set was non drafting as I couldn’t keep up with him anyway. I worked as hard as I could and was redlining it the whole way. I just didn’t have another gear. I now have two gears. My eyeballs out and Patrick’s slow which I can’t keep up with.

Patrick had us go off really short recoveries and it was very, very hard to go so hard off such short rest. To make matters worse when we were finished Pat really fucked with my head by adding on a little bonus 4×50 full gas sprints. I had really emptied the tank to hold the pace for the original set only to be told there was more pain still to go.

I’m starting to think he’s a really bad person.

  • Energy 7/1
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work 10 hours
  • Sleep 9 hours. Good

Friday 3:50 (1)

Bike 3:50 91k 1200m ascent

Repeated climbs on Slade Valley.

  • Energy 8/10
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work 8 hours
  • Sleep 8.5 hours. Woke a couple of times

Saturday —


  • Energy 5/10
  • Motivation 6/10
  • Work 7 hours
  • Sleep 8 hours. Good

Sunday 3:15 (1)

Bike 3:15 93k

  • Energy 8/10
  • Motivation 8/10
  • Work 6 hours
  • Sleep 8.5 hours. Good

Total 15:00 (8)

  • Swim 4:15 12100m (4)
  • Bike 9:35 244k (3)
  • Run 1:10 14k (1)
  • S&C —

Monthly accumulated hours / sessions

  • Total 54:05 (37)
  • Swim 10:40 29,600m (14)
  • Bike 33:55 783.5 (12)
  • Run 8:25 91k (8)
  • S&C 1:05 (3)


Chasing Kona eBook available

From smoker to back of the pack triathlete to the Ironman World Championships.

Read about how I overcame all of the odds and discovered what it would take to get to the Ironman World Championships – my eBook is now available to buy as an eBook on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes

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