Welcome to my Half Ironman Blog!
As you will have no doubt been provided this link in some form of unsolicited email to yourself (probably pleading for sponsorship!) I thought I would record my progress in a diary / blog format over the course of 2015 as I prepare to take on the Staffordshire Ironman on June 14th 2015.
Anyhow – I digress – how did this all start I hear you ask!
Close friends, family & work colleagues would recall a few years ago in October 2012, I was somewhat chunkier, the wrong side of 30, and potentially on a slippery slope as I did not exercise.
So I decided with my (much) better half Julie to start jogging / running as a pre-emptive New Years Resolution for January-2013. Running through October, into November and into December 2012 was quite a challenge, but we both made it successfully out the other side into March 2013.
As the nights became longer and more favourable for running, I actually started enjoying this new found fun!!
Yes – I repeat, I actually enjoyed it.
Anyhow – roll forward to June-13, I decided on a bit of a whim to enter the now-defunct Vachery Sprint Triathlon (no thanks to Surrey County Council… grr!).
This was a real learning curve – non-wetsuit event, mountain bike and more kit in tow than I could shake a stick at – but most importantly … I FINISHED!
- Swim 27m:17s (750m)
- Cycle 40m:26s (14k)
- Run 22m:46s (5k)
Total time 01h:34m:36s
Because of Vachery – I had caught the well known triathlon bug – or Triathlonicus Swimbikerunicus – symptoms include, increased upper body muscle, increased hyperactivity and a penchant for drinking water and not beer….!
Anyhow, Vachery under my belt, I quickly entered the HSBC Triathlon at Eton Dorney later on in the Season in September-2013.
Scroll forward to race day, the weather began to deteriorate somewhat, and the cloud began to roll in with ominous black clouds overhead – which is always a good sign!
…and then the rain came.
I donned my wetsuit shortly before my race and got all comfortable, and popped on my bright pink swim hat with around 10mins to go and headed down to the swim in area for the pre-race brief. All things considered the swim went better than I was anticipating – I was 5 mins quicker than at Vachery, but it was much colder, and I actually had a few doubts as to why I was actually doing this (they soon faded though).
The cycle and run went well and without even realising, I had completed my second Sprint Triathlon.
- Swim 22m:01s (750m)
- Cycle 47m:34s (21.2k)
- Run 23m:13s (5k)
Total time 1hr:37min:39sec
Noteworthy points being that my swim and Cycle ‘overall’ were considerably better – 5mins off my swim time compared to Vachery, and an extra 7 km cycled at Eton in only an additional 7mins – so although my overall time was slower, I was extremely pleased with what I perceived as an improvement.
Technically, I think I could call myself a “<blank> Triathlete” – of course with the addition of ….aspiring, wannabe, newb, rubbish beforehand…! <answers on a postcard please>
Fresh off the HSBC triathlon, and feeling all the more energetic, I quickly registered for the Sprint distances at London Triathlon August-2014 at London Excel / Docklands, & the PruHealth World Triathlon at London Hyde Park June-2014.
Winter 2013 passed without hitch and we carried on running during the colder periods well into 2014, and with the Hyde Park fast approaching, I could see improvement in all of my disciplines.
- swim stroke improved
- cycle was harder and faster
- and my run was consistent.
Hyde Park came – it was a blast! – I would thoroughly recommend doing an event of this scale in London.
It was great having my family and friends cheering me on – I’m not entirely sure everyone realised how much of a buzz / boost it was to see you in the crowd as i whizzed past on the bike and run! – you know who you are 🙂 xoxo
- Swim 17m:15s (750m)
- Cycle 44m:29 (22.5km)
- Run 22m:59 (5km)
Total time: 1hr:30min:31sec
I was over the moon! – just outside my target time of 1hr:30m – but I could be excused because of long transitions and a longer than expected 22.5km cycle…!
Fast forward two weeks, and a cheeky lastminute.com entry into the votwo Sprint at Eton Dorney was secured.
- Swim 17m:09s (750m)
- Cycle 41m:32s (21km)
- Run 23s:33s (5km)
Total Time: 1hr:25min:10sec
With a bit of perseverance and throwing ones self in at the deep end – I had gone sub 1hr 30mins! Hurrah! *o/*
In life, you take the rough with the smooth. You get up if you fall, brush yourself off and crack on. If you choose not to; you choose not to. If you choose to – then you choose to.
Sometimes, it is easier to do something, than persuade yourself to not do something.
Roll on two months to the London Docklands – the above sentiment about choosing to do something rung true – not enough training, coupled with a shoulder injury lead to quite a challenging and difficult day.
At some point from June I had suffered a ruptured rotator cuff in my left shoulder which limited my swimming practice greatly, and also caused me to be in considerable pain in the weeks before London.
In addition to not swimming, I also did not cycle or run as much as I had wished. Not being in a position to practice meant that I felt fresh fresh, but jumping into the dock was truly a bit of a leap into the unknown.
That said, something happened in London which I hope isn’t the start of a trend. The more I seem to push myself in the swim, and the more I push myself on the bike – I seem to be on the verge of cramping.
Cut a long story short – Docklands was a toughy – the swim was hard as I was in a lot of pain upon completion of the swim, which followed through to the cycle – but the run was my achilles heel this time – I was 5mins slower than predicted because of cramp in hamstrings, glutes, and calves making running almost comedic…! Anyhow – that is possibly another story for another blog, another day.
I DID IT…. and in truth, I didn’t do half bad overall.
- Swim 17m:19s (750m)
- Cycle 43:26 (20km)
- Run 28:11 (5km)
Total Time 01hr:35min:29sec
One year in, 5 triathlons under my [Race] belt, with my overall goal to go sub 1hr30mins, I think now I could officially call myself an aspiring triathlete. *o/*
Not not wanting to blame cramp for London Docklands and dwell on a poor performance, I was straight out the day after for a 10km recovery run which allowed me to clear my head over my disappointment of the previous day.
Whilst out pounding the country lanes of Hertfordshire, I got to thinking why did I do this. The 05:00am early runs in the morning before work in the summer, the long bike rides at weekends, and lane swimming on silly O’Clock on Sunday mornings when a normal 30-something-year-old is nursing a hangover are all part of the process.
I choose to do this.
I do this because I can.
I do this because I want to.
Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone and do something a little bit different.
The Staffordshire Half Ironman is something different.
On paper, I think I can do it – in my mind, I know I can do it – but the next few months will set the foundation for how i will do it.
See you on the start line – I’ll be the one in the swimming cap with a big grin.