C2C2C B&B Visit Preparations

Aidy and I went on a little road trip. We visited three of the the B&B’s (two we’re staying in twice) and dropped off nutritional supplies (or Haribo and Twixs for Aidy) so that we will have these waiting for us rather than having to carry everything with us the whole challenge.

When Aidy arrived at 10:30am ready to go, only then did I realise I had to split the 5 x 1.5kg energy supplements bags in individual 150g bags and calculate how much I would need for each day and drop off at each B&B.

Aidy was like Sébastien Loeb (world rally driver) up and around the Yorkshire Moors. The Fat Lamb, our first stop in Kirkby Stephen looked like a restaurant/pub and B&B – it looked really grand and really nice. We dropped off our supplies with a barman and carried on in the car towards the beautiful Bridgedown House in Richmond. I was already notified by the owner of Bridgedown House that she wouldn’t be in so to drop the supplies in the back garden pink Wendy house. We then continued towards Parkhouse Country Guesthouse in Ingleby Cross. As we approached, we thought we got lost when our GPS took us up a steep, gravel path through some woods until we realised it was a private road and drive into the guesthouse. Absolutely fantastic, grand place and Beverley, the owner, offered us drinks and was really interested in our trip.

We then got home in time for a famlly BBQ at my mum and dad’s which Aidy joined and played some frisbee in the hot evening summer sun – probably not the weather we’ll be getting next week!

RoadTrip_C2C2C_PrepRoad Trip

Reeth Wilderness

Great advice and feedback after touching base with Tom Irving, Sports Nutritionist

I contacted Tom Irving who was instrumental in helping me sort out the nutrition for the 1,000 length swim with the EZ Fuel products. I contacted him again yesterday and today and asked for advice in regards to nutrition for the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge.

Part of my email to Tom:

In terms of pace, we’re going to look to have a decent pace whilst looking after ourselves for the next day. For the 1,000 length swim my pace was about 70% and I needed the maximum 100g of carbohydrates per hour. Should I plan 100g per hour for the 8 days (78 hours)? If I plan the nutrition in this way and add 2 hours per day as slack then that’s 84 hours to plan for. I’m going into it where that I will just be taking on liquid during the day with a good breakfast in the morning and a good lunch in the evening at each B&B stop.

Should I plan for 84 hours meaning @ 100g per hour = 8.4kg total. We will be travelling extremely light with Camelbaks holding 1.5L water so I’ll be carrying the powder with me – 2.2kg on bike, 6.2kg running (there is a car meeting us at Robin Hoods Bay).

I’ve just ordered 3 x 3kg EZ Fuel Endurance and 1 x 3kg EZ Fuel Recovery.

I’ve also got energy gels which I find really useful, especially for the swimming where I took them every hour – the energy bars I’m now starting to find really sickly and hard to swallow so I tend to avoid these at present.

I’ve got some XL Nurtition Protein bars which are quite nice so I can also mix these up.

Because my glycogen stores will be depleted after each day, when I arrive at the B&B each night would you recommend loading up on carbs each night such as pasta etc even if I’ve been hammering the carbs/protein powder all day?

Part of Tom’s reply:

Keeping carbs and glycogen stores topped up will be critical in completing this stage of your fund raising, further more I think the Recovery shake will be even more important with the distance and relative pounding associated with running. You may even wish to include a protein bar for some additional sustenance.

I am assuming there will be regular rest periods during the cycle, if you rest every hour or two I would suggest having some Recovery then so as to keep the protein topped up i.e. Endurance during/alongside the gels, and the Recovery every 1-2 hours of moderate intensity cycling (maybe even sooner if cycling is more intense).

I agree, bars can become monotonous, but I was actually going to suggest using an out and out protein bar rather than energy bar, so XL Nutrition Xtra Protein bars are ideal Paul.

Re: the carb loading each evening…The glucose you’re consuming during the race is literally keeping things topped up, you will need to carb load that evening maybe with a wholegrain or white pasta/rice or better still, sweet potato. This will breakdown and be stored as glycogen over night ready for the ride ahead. Ensure a lean protein source with that too such as chicken, beef or fish (for example). Maybe even consider a protein bar for dessert…for the distance you’re cycling, you’ll need it!

All the best and thanks for the kind words on twitter haha! I think it is you that is the God sir with the work you are doing for the charity!


Tom was referring to the conversation we were having on Twitter which gave me quite a few new followers:

TwitterConvoGlad to know I have experts in this field to support me 🙂


Suzy from Serco – great suggestions for 1,000 length difficulty awareness

Ultimate Christmas DaySuzy sent across some really helpful information after I asked why it was absolutely painful swimming in cold water and that I needed ways of getting people to recognise the difficulty of the 1,000 swim challenge.

In regards to the cold she came back to me with a website article which explains that in cold water your body needs more energy to keep the muscles warm and to get them working properly in the cold water. This makes absolute sense and I can now understand why swimming 600 lengths at Manchester Aquatic Centre was miles more difficult compared to swimming 500 lengths at Farnworth Leisure Centre…. apart from the distance obviously.

I also sent this to Suzy:

I’ve had real problems getting the awareness of this challenge off the ground and donations coming in. I think it’s difficult for people to realise how hard this challenge is as they have nothing to compare it to or any history of people having done something similar. The London Marathon – for example – is about a 4 hour run burning around 2,500 to 3,500 calories whereas the 1,000 length swim in breaststroke will take over 12 hours and burn up to 8,000 calories. Now I’m not saying the marathon is easy or less difficult – my god I’d hate to enter it! But people appreciate and understand and can compute how difficult it might be resulting in donations – unlike doing 25k in a pool and all the training with it. I need to get the awareness up without trying to sound arrogant and big headed! I’m hoping to get some fund-raising ideas sorted soon to boost the profile. Any thoughts you have on this would be appreciated.”

She sent me some fantastic fact information which I’ve developed into a long graphic which you can see on the right. It basically runs through a mega food/drink Christmas Day and showing how you would go about consuming 8,000 calories.

I’ll post this online towards the time in the hope that it will boost donations. I can also put that doing the Iron Man, running two marathons back to back, cycling 170 miles or rowing 90 miles would also equate to burning around 8,000 calories.

280 Lengths Done… Man that was tough….

After having done no Insanity Workout on Friday or Saturday due to energy levels and this cold, cough and lack of sleep you could say I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the swim.

Nonetheless, I still prepared for the swim really well. I have been eating really well all weekend, went to bed on Friday at 8pm to regain energy levels and had 0 beer Friday or Saturday like last weekend. I got up this morning at 6 and got all of my energy drinks and supplements ready and prepared my swimming sections as follows:

Warm Up First Sub-Section Main Section Second Sub-Section Cool Down
Lengths 42 70 108 30 30
Pace 60% 80% See Below 70% 60%
Minutes 41 51 90 24 27
Actual 28 41 71 21 21
Main Section 1 Main Section 2 Main Section 3 X
Lengths 6 6 6
Minutes 6 5 4
Pace 60% 70% 80%


I had an energy bar on the way to HLC and then when I got there, with the recommendations of a training manual I read 2 weeks ago about dynamic and static stretches before a long swim, I asked the HLC desk if it would be possible to use the gym just so I could do some warm up stretches etc. The desk lady looked at me, scanned my free card given to me by Serco and then with a puzzled look on her face she said “Your membership entitles you to both pool and full gym facilities at every leisure centre in Bolton”. NICE – Thanks again Serco! So anyway I did some light Insanity-type warmups in the smaller gym area with a small treadmill run and full stretches until I got a bit sweaty and then went for the swim, taking an energy gel in the changing rooms.

When I got into the pool and prepared for my swim, I already started to become a bit concerned as my hand was shaking terribly when holding my drinks bottle!?! At this point I thought today’s swim wasn’t going to be as smooth as last weeks. Still, I started off slow as usual into the warm ups for the first 40 lengths, getting into people’s way and almost submitting myself into the slow lane (like the old days!).
Then I started the 70 lengths of 80% paced first sub-section and at this stage I could tell I wasn’t 100%. Still I completed these and took 10 sips of my energy drinks every 15 mins as usual. Then came the main section where I decided to split it into 6 x 18 sections, each of these 18 I was supposed to do 6 @ 60% pace, 6 @ 70% and 6 @ 80% but it quickly became apparent I didn’t have the energy to push hard at 80% so it quickly became just 6 x 18 lengths at around 70% pace.

At this stage my back and shoulders started hurting and aching so I decided to do 6 lengths on backcrawl – Oh god I pretty much forgot how to even do this stroke, hitting the lane dividers! Although this did seem to alleviate some of the pain, I realised my watch didn’t add or detect these lengths on my watch total lengths counter – For some reason that really annoyed me to a point that it started getting me down, thinking I’ve still got SO far to go and I’ve just done 6 lengths for it not to be counted AND THIS is just a small drop in the ocean compared to my 1,000 lengths in 8 weeks. I’LL NEVER DO IT!!!

At this stage my mind started wandering, daydreaming, drifting almost into an out of conscious state, thinking this will never end. I lost all awareness of who was in the pool with me, what time it was, how many lengths I did etc. I decided to get out of the pool after half way through my main section at 3 x 18 lengths and took an energy gel. I got back into the pool and I really started losing my marbles, I couldn’t even do 2 x 18 in my head… I kept getting 32… then I thought let’s try again 2 x 16…. 16 or 18… and this carried on for TWO whole lengths.
Luckily at this point I found a bit of energy come my way and I started taking on a bit more energy fluids… I think my body was starting to get used to it a lot better. Then when I got to 5 x 18 I then checked my totals on my watch to realise that I had actually done 6 x 18 and had finished the main section, leaving me with only 60 lengths left. At this point I started feeling quite pleased, thinking wow I’ve done 220 lengths now, and then I realised I was still going at a pace of 60 lengths in 40 mins which is decent pace. My stroke wasn’t powerful nor was I going that fast but it was consistent and could feel that I would finish the last 60 without any problems. At 30 left I then thought WOW 250 lengths done but I was really slow, struggling to cope… and then finally at 280 I was absolutely done… battered!

Now in a comparative way, I completed last weeks 200 lengths without any issues at all whereas at 150 lengths today I was choking with energy so I obviously wasn’t 100% fit. My mum had a go at me when I got to hers telling me I was silly for pushing myself when I should be resting but this was a mental battle more than a physical one today, one which I triumphed in. I HAVE been taking care of myself, better than anyone I know. Physically, Yes I should have rested but in terms of a mental battle I have a fantastic sense of achievement knowing I have a step further towards my target.

Next week 340 lengths… I can surely do that without any major issues as long as I am fit and mentally prepared. Today also made me realise how much of a mammoth challenge this really is going to be… but it HAS to be like this.. .because THIS is what’s going to get people to pull out their cash for the fantastic charities. I NEED to be more promoting of this challenge, of the charities and most importantly myself at the moment. Although I want no personal gain from these challenges other than looking trim etc, I need to reward myself and stop hiding away and getting shy when doing training. If I find people aren’t interested, don’t know what to say or only want to give their counter opinions it’s their issue.
I’ve done everything I can to get their attention by choosing the high difficulty grade of challenges. People like Emma (Pete’s), Ste and Daneka, Angela and Mark Whittle have especially shown a great interest and respect which is really REALLY nice, very welcome and will help me towards my targets.

God I felt exhausted today though, although after a nice shower and a lovely family meal I feel great physically and my illness is now hopefully at an end and I can hopefully focus on my training next week being at 100%.

200 Lengths Done – Results

Well that was a fifth of what I’ll be doing in around 8 weeks.I felt generally quite good whilst doing it and I enjoyed breaking it down with the warm up, first sub-section, main section, second sub-section and cool down.

I beat all of my section targets (below) without meaning to so I guess that is really positive looking forward to the much larger practice challenges:


For the first time, I used the EZ Endurance and Recovery supplements and found that I needed about 1.5 bottles for every 100 lengths. This was more about what my stomach could contain without feeling off rather than what felt right energy-wise. I took on quite a bit of EZ Endurance (300ml) after my first 30 minutes.and my stomach as a bit upset. I think I took an equivalent of 10 large sips rather than taking 10 very small sips. At this point I started to mix it up with the EZ Recovery formula which was a bit easier on the stomach.

Up to the first 100 lengths I was absolutely fine probably thanks to the energy bar/gel I took 20mins/5 mins before the swim. It was all good and I powered through the main section at 85% and 100% pace which I absolutely went for to get my HR up. I enjoyed the cool down afterwards – it made sense taking it easy at the end rather than powering through to the last length and then getting out of the pool.

The only problem I had was afterwards I was absolutely Exhausted even though I took a full recovery formula, ate well, rested in the first spring sunshine and went to bed early as a result. I feel OK today apart from a stupid chest infection! Difflam Spray CURE ME!

I’m going to email Tom Irving about my results and see what he says.

280 lengths this Sunday! I’ll be doing 500 in four Sundays… a guy raised over £1,000 for swimming that in Front Crawl this year .I’m doing 500 lengths in breaststroke as a practice? I need to get my ass in gear with sponsorship. I know a friend of mine, Tammy, who is one of the main organisers for AFC Masters said that she will speak to someone at Bolton News for me.

Smashed my Swimming PB tonight with no rest

Bearing in mind the advice of the coach to do more distance swims without breaks, I had an energy bar and energy gel and went for it. Bags of energy and smashed my pace, did 2 miles and all without stopping except for three 3 second gulps of water.

I think I gave a few swimmers lane rage, especially one who refused to wait for my to overtake and took up the whole lane so I couldn’t pass, so I ducked under the lane seperator, flew past in the general pool area and went back into the lane once I passed. Her face was a picture!

Then tonight smashed another Insanity Workout even with sore back and muscles.

HALF WAY THROUGH Insanity now! The real fun and games start next week (worried).

The gear has arrived!!


My energy supplements have arrived Yay! Could of done with these before my swim. Did 113 lengths before I was asked to leave…. Haha don’t worry I wasn’t bashing through kids again. There wasn’t enough staff to keep the pool open?!?! Blooming Horwich Leisure Centre!!!! Was aiming for 130 but never mind. Insanity later but it’s just stretching.

Back to fitness ways I think… just

So last night I caned the Insanity 45 min Pure Cardio session without stopping and THEN did the Insane Abs 40 min workout right afterwards. Really happy although felt my muscles a bit achy from my cold and a bit sniffly still today but still very chuffed.

I’ve got lots of nice things to eat today which I prepared yesterday. Before Insanity last night I prepared 5 meals, 1 for tea last night (baked cod… oh delish!) and 4 for today…


I love my thick pink gloop I get in the mornings. Porridge oats, fresh berries, raisins, nuts, protein powder, milk.


My elevenses shake (berries, milk, protein powder, banana, peanut butter) is always good, although I wasn’t sure why it was brown instead of it’s normal pink…. should I be worried? :O


For din dins I had prawn cocktail on bread with veg….


For my 4 o’clock I had 1 slice crammed with peanut butter and jam and a full tub of cottage cheese.

Then for 8pm tea I had baked cod covered in breadcrumbs with steamed veg (and a bit of naughty tartar sauce… YUM!!!

20140220_201058_Leicester Ave[1]

Before my tea I had a 2 mile swim and after tea I did my Insanity Cardio Recovery, which still isn’t as easy as it sounds. Then made 4 meals for Friday and then bed… what a life :-/

Tom Irving, sports nutritionist expert gives me amazing advice

Wow I received a phone call today from Tom Irving, a head dietitian and leading sports nutritionist who wanted to give me loads of advice on the best way to tackle this 1,000 x 25m lengths swimming endurance challenge. WOW I have my very own dietitian and sports nutritionist expert!

He called to give his advice on the best way of being prepared nutritionally and being able to undertake this challenge, giving myself the best chance of avoiding exhaustion and hitting walls etc.

He advised on the following for either a training day or for the big day:

  • 2 hours before have a high carbohydrate and protein meal/breakfast consisting of something like porridge, cinnamon, honey and some eggs…. to be fair this is is something along the lines of what I would have anyway.
  • 20 minutes before have a high protein low fat energy bar
  • 5 minutes before take an energy gel to give a burst of energy
  • Every 10-15 minutes take 8-10 gulps of EZ endurance energy liquids
  • Try and take some 10 minute breaks and have a high protein low fat energy bar

Tom also advised that he recently attended a conference in Russia about the benefits of taking Beta Alanine supplements which increase the alkaline in your blood decreasing the chances of getting cramp (which is when there is a high buildup of acid in the blood and muscles). This kind of product he recommends regularly to Tour de France cyclists.

A quick update on my training – there has been none for the last 5 days. A cold has completely wiped me out but I’m remaining positive. I have a long way to train for this challenge and Tom agrees that it is a very good amount of time to prepare myself.

Hopefully I’ll be doing some Insanity tonight and look towards a swim on Thursday.

I’ve just ordered