Timeless Monthly Planner

It appears that I may actually be training like the triathlete I occasionally claim to be. Wonders will never cease I suppose!

It’s taken a while but I seem to have some sort of routine in place. A change in focus at my PT sessions has really helped along with a few other things. Most of the PT stuff since end of lockdown to September had been geared towards the swim events I was doing – and I had a lot of fun over September doing said events, but my general consistency with everything else was dire. Roll on October….

For some reason, routine seems to have settled a bit, and a shift in training focus and some new found mojo/energy, I seem to be finding some sort of fitness again and seeing some improvements, with only small tweaks too – this in turn is improving my motivation to train. I wanted to record what has been different over the last three or four weeks so that when I have a wobble – which I will, I can revisit and figure out what I haven’t been doing out of the list and see if I can get back on track!

It’s big and it’s bold!
  1. My (Big) Timeless Monthly Planner – I am a sucker for pen and paper and a decent sized diary. I have a huge wall calendar in my office next to the computer which is also highly useful for mapping out my year! In this diary – which I have personally started from October (timeless – it comes blank with 15 months worth of space!) – is penciled in all my planned and booked races. They are actually in pencil too, in case things change!
  2. I have bitten the bullet and invested in Training Peaks – and because I am a geek when it comes to data and stats – I am loving it. I can ‘see’ my week and move things about, put details in about the session and track lots of pretty things and colours! It’s actually kept me some what motivated in terms of seeing my fitness/form/fatigue numbers alter and I am learning to understand them more. I am keeping details of run/swim/bike sets too so I can go back to them and keeping a note of other stuff too on there. It is partly a replacement in once respect to my usual ‘compendium’.
  3. I downloaded the HRV4Training app and paid for it. It feds directly into Training Peaks and as I have been using it for months – there is lots of data now that is actually useful and interesting – I can see proof almost of my improving fitness and can edit to view data stats relating to sport – it pulls across info from sessions from other apps to get a rounded picture. Like I said – I love data!
  4. Change in focus at PT sessions – and the guy I go see for PT too. So this is a combined thing. I started seeing him on the recommendation of a friend who is the least sporty person I know (long story short). Former PE teacher turned PT and a fellow triathlete – so bonus is, he knows what I need to get better from a triathlon point of view and equally – means lots of useful and interesting conversations about training/coaching etc – and its both ways too so never feel I am being preached at either – its always an interesting two way conversation. He had suggested some more HIIT based stuff but I kinda wanted to keep it to the weights and S&C stuff because I have really been enjoying it and reaping the benefits – not just strength (whoop to sumo squats with a 20kg dumbbell!) but my figure and general well being. This is massively motivating, HOWEVER….
  5. I have been suffering with epic DOMS from these sessions but I THINK, thanks to a mate, that I may have found the solution. He gave me a sample of DrinkAmino. Rather than taking whey protein supplements that didn’t seem to be actually helping, I tried one of these samples of amino acids – and rather than have 3 days of DOMS like the week before, I did my PT session and a spin session (that may have helped!) and woke up day after with hardly any DOMS, and I know I worked hard – I am a heavy sweater!
  6. Better understanding of hydration – and using it to my advantage. I have been using Precision Hydration tabs before heavy-ish workouts or post heavy workout as I sweat so much – less light-headness and quicker recovery seem to be the result. So replacing the salt seems sensible. After an online course and a seminar with PH – and from using their tabs – I seem to be in a better shape and able to handle more. Talking of supplements and other such things – I still sweat by Tailwind for running and cycling however, lack of serious endurance events this year – I haven’t used it so much.
  7. Back to Spin and coaching. One of my mates is back running spin classes virtually over Facebook – which means I’ve some routine and I don’t feel like I am training alone, even though essentially I kinda am. I used to not go in real life as it clashed with yoga and was at the end of an already long day. I am over the moon that they are back! Coupled with conversation with PT – shorter, more focused sessions over winter I think will work better for me, to fit around work and other commitments – as I am back coaching swim again! Yey!
  8. Training with friends – so this is an interesting one. I have been swimming with a mate for the last year or so – as it’s easier to commit to going if you are meeting someone – more accountable. What makes this interesting is that he’s just changed his coach and the style/method of coaching too – so a shake up there has lead to a shake up in swim sets – which has brought back some more swim mojo/focus. Not to diss the other sets – some of them I loved! But a different approach/style has definitely had an impact on me in that I feel a bit more motivated at the moment to swim a full set and put the effort in – post last swim event my effort level has been rubbish. Equally, I appear to have agreed to run a 5k with another mate in November and he is much quicker than me – so do need to work on the run fitness….
  9. Smaller goals – I have set a bit of a goal for my ‘A’ race next year but that is a long way off – part of the reason for the paper diary is to record in a quick to view way, short term goals/planning, make notes of what works. At the moment I am just trying to fit in a certain number of sessions – all fairly short but aiming for constancy – so at the moment, two bike sessions, two run sessions and three swim sessions, and either yoga or stretch. Can I keep up constancy and make it habit – especially the running (it appears/feels to be getting easier – by putting less pressure on myself – and just trusting the plan is helping).
  10. Actually feeling some improvement. This stems back to talking to my PT the other week – I’d had a really good session and had been feeling strong right throughout – even admitted that I was suddenly feeling stronger/fitter, and he had noticed too – a small boost that has had lasting impact. Feeling that you are actually improving after making a few small changes works wonders on outlook, attitude and motivation!
  11. Slowing down. I still have a ridiculous commute to work in terms of detours and due to COVID-19, my business is not quite as busy/running as it should – however, silver lining – I have slowed down a bit – some tutoring is online – saving me a lot of travelling time, and my one to ones in real life are now on the same evening – so depending on how things work out – being home more and saying no to a few things but doing more things that I enjoy – whizzing through paperwork in a more focused way – seems to be working out ok at the moment – basically I have figured out some sort of routine. Meditation is actually helping with this and just being more present. I probably could still do to be a bit more organised though!
  12. Recognising I needed a week off work – bit sorry to be heading back to the day job tomorrow.

Now to see how long this will last!

Retiring From OW Swimming*

*but not yet. Well, for the next six or seven months…

Swim, Sleep, Eat, Repeat.

The actual mantra from this time last weekend. All my own doing of course, and all my fault that I dragged some of my favourite people along for the ride too!

It was a weekend that was put simply. We were supposed to be swimming the End to End at Ullswater – then, due to COVID-19, we all changed to the 3-mile event, to be held on the same day and essentially following the same course but starting half way up. Then I discovered that there was the Ullswater Epic Swim the day after…. So the plan was – Camp, swim, eat, sleep, swim, eat, home.

HA!

Yeah that didn’t quite go to plan. Obviously being the back end of summer/start of autumn, the Lakes wasn’t going to be kind. A very windy forecast resulted in the Chillswim (End to End/3 Mile event) was essentially cancelled and changed to a 1-mile lap at the Pooley Bridge end – of which we could do as many as we liked.

One mate managed three laps. My other mate and myself managed one and then called it quits. Honestly the choppiest water I have ever swam in – and almost enough to have me permanently hanging up my wetsuit. Slow being an understatement – my usual mile swim time in OW is about 36 minutes – 1900m and 59 minutes later…. Sighting just didn’t exist – my starva file for the swim is hilariously wiggly!

Roll on Sunday and the illusion of flatter water – the first 300m were fairly calm – we were at Glenridding end of the lake this time – and slightly more sheltered. Further out into the lake it got a bit choppier but not a patch on Saturday. 1600m in a slightly more respectable 40min.

To be fair – the weekend overall was pretty awesome – I’ve just about recovered enough to have blocked out JUST how grumpy I was about the swim to decide NOT to give up open water swimming but I can happily say, without guilt that’s me done for the year. All pool based from now until probably May!

Depending on COVID of course.

Only issue now is – with no events to focus on – and general lethargy – I have no motivation to train…. if anyone wants to send some my way, please feel free!

Swim Love and Soul Food

It’s no secret that my biggest sporting love is swimming. It’s something I’m reasonably good at and have no qualms about going training – in fact, its one of the few things that can get me out of bed at 5.30 to go train. Lockdown was a bit rubbish in terms of 3 months of no swimming and what with swim events pencilled in, I was like a child at Christmas when I got back in a pool – despite OW swimming for several weeks in the run up to it!

Anyway, last few weeks I’ve been a bit, well, not so much in love with swim as normal. Don’t get me wrong, I have been loving training and being back but there has been a sense of something not being quite there – missing the challenge/goal – not sure, but that changed this morning.

Background first though because it has been an epic weekend overall… Three or four weeks ago, one of my also-keen-swimmer/triathlete mates asked if I was doing Coniston Epic Swim again. Five minutes later, ‘Yes!’. This then resulted in me texting another mate to see if he was in too. ‘Yep, count me in!’. This is what happens. Like a snowball. Accommodation was sorted. Work was sorted. All systems go.

Arrived in the Lakes, in Coniston to be precise, sometimes on Friday evening. Alcoholic beverages were consumed (much to my mates amusement and my lack of a proper tea….), cake was eaten and many laughs were had. Saturday arrived and with it the most glorious, sunny, hot day. I sat nursing a hangover while the others planned. Which then resulted in a walk up a very large hill in the sweltering heat but equalling in some good quality soul food and some stunning views!  ‘Pasta party’ tea and a wander down to the lakeside to check just how still the water water and how warm before nightcaps and finally bed – for which I was more than ready! Shattered but happy!

I slept right through to my alarm after yesterday’s efforts, not waking at 5 as per usual. Snooze. Reset alarm. Made myself get up and eat. I am not really a fan of porridge but it was quick and easy. I sat, very quietly and tried to eat. Coupled with some pre-race/event nerves… while the others milled about quite happily. The weather wasn’t a great (rain!) but considering we would be wet anyway, it didn’t really matter!

On to the swim though – Epic Events Coniston Swim – 3.8k of glorious OW Lake swimming. My swim time was at 8.30, a bit later than the others. We had decided best bet was to actually drive across to the start rather than walk – which turned out to be a very wise one. It was still mild despite spots of rain and slowly we got changed and headed to the start. We had separate waves, based on swim times so I was the last to wander down. ‘Covid-secure’ is now the buzz word for events and kudos where it’s due, Epic Events had done a good job with the organisation. Wandering over at the set time meant that we could stay spaced out easily and the briefing had been on Facebook, which we had actually watched, the night before. Swim cap and timing chip collected, flip-flops deposited – time to swim and nerves disappearing and the lake looking ever so inviting.

OMG – the water! For the Lakes – it was truly topical – 19 degrees. No need to acclimatise – and as still as a mill pond. It was better than expected and unlike anything I’d swam in up there before.

This is where the love came flowing back!

Lap 1 – First few buoys/straight seemed to take forever, the first lap even. Obviously turned out to be the fastest but still. I spent the first lap thinking, ‘well, this really is lovely but…’ and thoughts that went through my head included, ‘argh, I’m not going to find my mojo and I’ll get bored’/’I am so hungry (normal swim response)’/’how am I going to do three laps?’/’This is going to take forever’/’OWWWWW MY SUNBURN’ – Yep, epic sunburn on my shoulders.

Lap 2/3 – Mojo well and truly back. My longest swim recently had been 2.7km, the distance didn’t worry me so much this morning, I knew I could do it and was stubborn enough but by lap 2 and 3 I was on a roll. Still having the thoughts about wanting food, but my pace and stroke seemed to just flow and work. Thoughts now changed to food and what I was going to eat later and ‘oooo might actually beat last years time’ as well as ‘oooo the S&C work with Ben is really paying off!’

The warm water and stillness of the lake really was joyous. I was heading for the last corner of the swim course and I could feel that I was actually quite sad that it was finishing – but as I neared the finish line, a quick glance of my watch told me that I wasn’t far off beating my time from last year. I still felt quite strong as I neared the finish – and that felt the wave of disappointment wash over me… but then as I finished, got out, and wandered back to meet my mates, I was grinning from ear to ear. Nothing beats a good OW swim like that. Swim mojo and OW Swim mojo back firmly in place.

And confirmation that I can still swim a reasonable distance in a decent time.

Just as important though – plan was in place for bacon sandwiches for second breakfast.

In my eyes – everything this morning was just a winner.

Roll on Ullswater 3 mile!

Lil’bit of Turbo love in…

Seeing as I can’t swim – the bike has been getting all the attention. This week though – well – I thought doing two spin sessions, a virtual TT and a 50km virtual club ride was an excellent idea….

The two spin sessions – Monday and Thursday – went well – really enjoying them and loving the fact that I am getting my cycling legs back. These have become weekly staples in my week where everything else is a bit up in the air. I’ve even managed to tag along to some Zwift group rides too. More on this later.

But on Friday, sporting DOMS, I decided that doing a virtual club TT on Zwift was a wise idea. I love time trials. I love the feeling after putting the effort in. I love the single mindedness of the effort. I love the fact that its just you against the clock, it takes the pressure off thinking about what everyone else is doing. I had also forgotten JUST HOW HARD they are. In fact, I think turbo based TTs are actually harder. It also reminded me how rubbish I am at warming up before hand. It wasn’t even that long an effort! But a race mind set kicked in, in a way that it doesn’t if you are just training or riding (proving that as soon as it’s a ‘race’ mindset and effort changes). It still hurt! By the end I was wondering how the planned Saturday morning ride was going to go!

The weather on Saturday mooning, although cooler than last weekend, was almost nice enough to tempt me to sack off the virtual club ride with chat over discord so I could ride outside. I resisted though. I often work Saturdays and I miss group rides – I miss riding with people! So just before 10am this morning, set up with two water bottles, discord app up and running with headphones and sat on the turbo, so began 2 hours 13 minutes of staring at a screen and turning my legs. Longest turbo session to date and only manageable due to the virtual and distance company of knowing that six fellow club members and mates were doing exactly the same thing.

Major kudos to anyone doing longer sessions and the 24 hour challenges! The same times and distance is certainly easier outside – if only because my backside hurts less! I mean, I was happy to finish but seriously – roll on being able to go out on actual group rides!

So now I am sat here, Sunday morning, with a wee bit of a to do list and still tired legs. I was debating actually going for a run today and having a bit of a go at the IM virtual race as it’s a sprint distance this weekend however, I think I really just need to chill and stretch out! So yoga and stretch is penciled in for later on and I am going to potter through my To Do list and rest.

(And MAYBE run tomorrow….)

…. hello Bike!

After waving swim temporally goodbye I have turned to my bike to fill the gaping hole where swim was.

I am missing swim a lot – to the point that I have, like many other swimmers if Facebook and Twitter are anything to go by, started looking at pools. I have resisted so far from parting with any money though!

With everything being in lockdown – I am home more which has some advantages. I am cycling more (it’s replaced swimming – lets not touch on running though) and travelling less – life in itself is less hectic.

Cycling more and quickly getting back some of that fitness means I am slowly starting to gain some definition in my quads again – sort off. After doing little over winter and not feeling motivated, I have managed to get back on it – I’m even enjoying turbo sessions and making the most of my Zwift subscription. When I’ve actually been out on the bike though, it’s made me miss riding with my mates, despite the fact that most of my riding is solo anyway. I enjoy cycling with mates more. More surprisingly is the fact that I am actually doing spin sessions at home – and enjoying them! Though I have no intentions of letting on how much to my mates. I think part of this is just routine. I’ve put off going and refused point blank all winter but this is partly due to the fact that Monday and Tuesday are my busiest days work wise. Although after all this, this may change and I may have to reassess my workload. The other bonus is, that a combination of following a plan, my mate’s spin sessions and cycling out, I have improved my FTP by 10 watts in three weeks. Apparently. I am a little skeptical about this but I think it just means that I am getting back some of my fitness – my FTP was considerably higher at the end of 2019!

I’ve also had time to read more and self study.  I’ve read and debated starting sewing again, however, I still need to keep things ticking along with the business and looking into that. Theres a few things I want to try but its making me a bit nervous and I’ll admit I’ve been putting it off – but a few Zoom catch ups (via quizzes and murder mystery games – seeing my face on video isnt quite so bad!).

Day to day though, I am still working the day job but being home more is actually quite nice and I am eating better/more regularly – just need to keep healthy and as fit as possible – I may even come out of lockdown bike fit at this rate.

I am very much looking forward to lockdown ending as the more I am at home, the more things I am adding to my bucket list and researching in to random trips…

Well, might as well live life to the full!

 

Taking a risk…

Before Christmas I rejoined POF (Plenty of Fish), the third attempt at online dating. Third time almost lucky. I’m back of it again, almost as quick.

It started so well – ended up dating a bloke who got past date three – and smashed his way, unknowingly, through my defences.

For the first time in I don’t know how long I was excited about dating and looking forward to seeing him and doing things and just about the possibility that I’d found someone lovely. Turns out I was in the right place emotionally but he wasn’t.

For various reasons, which are completely understandable but not mine to repeat here, he wasn’t ready for dating despite thinking he was. He freaked out and well, today it all ended so to speak.

A fleeting three weeks of dating.

I am usually pretty good at keeping my defences pretty high in the beginning of a relationship. I had a mini wobble/freak out about it earlier in the week, worried that I would end up liking him too much and end up hurting again.

Well reader. That happened. And far too quickly for my own liking.

I never expected to just feel like I had ‘fallen’ so quickly. I am upset that its over before it really started and I’m upset because he’s upset and not happy. He is such a lovely person and this just compounds the whole situation.

It feels a bit like going though the break up with the Ex and its brought back all the awful feelings and memories of that hurt – and this is after only three weeks. I took a risk to see how it would go and I am glad I did but I am now moping, feeling shook up and like I could do with a good cry.

Although – trying to look on the bright side… for him, I think dating has been the shock he needed to go get help. He’s said it himself that he didn’t seek help and that really he thinks this proves he has do. I hope he does, he really deserves to be happy but I think it is going to take a while. I haven’t dated anyone as lovely before I don’t think. This is good for him but rubbish for me because I really think we would have been a good match and I really do think I ‘fell’ for him. Quite hard.

For me though, after roping in the support team (excellent friends) – well. I suppose it shows that I have been right to be picky (good single blokes are still out there, just hiding/elusive) and that I should trust my judgement more as with the other dates I just  knew it wasn’t right, or they weren’t ‘the one’ so to speak, even when they were nice people. Its also proved that dating can be good and exciting and that I can want to see someone again. It’s proven that there are good people still out there that aren’t going to annoy the living daylights out of me in the first few days/weeks. On the negative side to this, its reminded me that it can be fun and reminded me what I’ve been missing being in a relationship/being with someone and that for the right one, I will find a way to make time.

All for the good but at this moment in time, I want to bawl my eyes out because I am heartbroken. Three weeks! Thats it. Its mental. And that makes me want to bawl even more. And no, for the cynics out there, it wasn’t the idea of being in love or a relationship – it was just him.

Back to nursing a bruised, sore and broken heart and back to square one.

Little Christmas Love-in

Christmas is a great time for reflection – in fact, the whole of December has been really.

It started early in the month, or rather late November. Not sure why, but I suddenly felt like the madness that had been autumn might finally be calming down, I felt happier and the remains of bitterness that had been lingering might finally be subsiding – don’t get me wrong, I am not entirely sure I will ever be on terms of actively encouraging my ex to anything I do/organise etc, but I may FINALLY have turned a corner. This has lead me, this morning, to consider whether I should rename my blog. Suggestions welcome.

Shocking I know.

I wrote an open letter to the ex, here on this blog, not so long ago, which in itself was cathartic. It was even noted that I was pleasant to the ex by some mates and I re-joined Plenty of Fish with no expectation but in a better state of mind – and a bit more ruthless than the first time! So now it seems I am actually dating again and for the first time in over a year – this one has got past date number 3, has yet to really annoy me, seems relatively normal and I am looking forward to seeing him this weekend. This is quite daunting as it’s a while since I’ve been in a situation where I am happy dating. What is more disconcerting is the fact that this has come at a time where I am in a really good place and more than happy single. I am just going to see how things pan out I think.

On other themes of reflection – I cannot begin to really express the love that I have for my friends. I may have said this before. I am blessed with the greatest set of friends I have ever had. Some of them know me better than I know myself sometimes. When they say that friends are the family you chose for yourself I do think it’s true. My mates know me better than my extended family – and I am so lucky and blessed to have them in my life and I just don’t know how to thank them – I think cake maybe helps! They are the people that you want about you in a crisis – hopefully they know that if ever needed, I’d be there for them.

Racing wise – I might just leave that for another post.

So for now – I’ve spend December and Christmas with friends and my immediate family – chilled and content with life’s lot – and with so much to look forward to next year.

Stronger and stronger….

I have been quite quiet on here recently. I did start writing a post last week – after an awful month in October which lead to a mini-break down with my mates who, as usual, were pretty fabulous at putting up with my full on rant about very little at 7.30 in the morning. Three weeks on and off antibiotics, working full time hours at the day job coupled with the start of a coaching course and my tutoring work after work – it is no wonder that I was in such a state.

So finally had a few days off and started to come round a bit. I caught up with some friends, slept, did little, watched some Netflix and switched off a bit. Normality is slowly returning.

So what’s next?

The conversation with my friend was rather inspiring and enlightening. Long story short, she was like me at school and never sporty, still isn’t but has a PT in a local town and is on a mission of her own. She was singing his praises – which is saying something! This got me mentioning my ongoing knee injury and fact that I am rubbish at keeping on top of my S&C work and could do with someone to keep me accountable. I also actually want to be a better swimmer/cyclist/triathlete next year.

SO what is next?

Ha well, next week I have an appointment with my mate’s PT. I am going to find my mojo, get back on it and come back next year stronger.

What have I let myself in for?

 

Outlaw X – first 70.3

I absolutely loved it!

I should leave it there but I am not going to! Full, rambling review needed while it is fresh in my memory. It wasn’t fast but I didn’t DNF and thats the main thing!

Official times – just to get them out of the the way…

Swim 00:41:30 T1 00:11:05 Bike 03:34:11 T2 00:08:03 Run 03:00:03

Background

So Outlaw X wasn’t originally on the cards – it’s a new race but its one that I deferred to after not being ready for Holkham – which proved to be a wise move despite the cost. I was supposed to be doing Holkham with a friend but what with one thing and another, it didn’t happen. I’ve also been suffering with a knee injury and not run for about 5 weeks. Coupled with this, I found out the ex’s girlfriend was racing – great – at the time it felt like an absolute punch in the guts after managing not to race near home all year. Bloody typical that my first 70.3 would mean they were there – a flurry of texts to mates and I soon got over it. Timing wasn’t great in one respect as was only three weeks after swimming Coniston end to end.

Registration and the day before

img_2638Luckily for me, one of my mates had booked Outlaw X – which meant we ended up going down together – which turned out to be great for me simply because actually my nerves were a bit shot and I was a bit ‘argh’ in the run up to it and a bit of a moany cow about my knee. Both him and my mates had a bit more faith in me to get round than I did! So actually going with someone else racing worked out well.

Registration day though was a beautiful warm sunny day (yes I did catch the sun) – which was deceiving as the forecast wasn’t so great for Sunday! The registration was at Thorseby Hall and it was such a gorgeous location! The briefing, number collection and general organisation was spot on. Racked the bike, walked transition to make sure I knew where I was going – none of us could see the lake – this was a bit weird, had a good natter with people, went to the briefing and then went to find our accommodation and some tea, as well as check we had our race kit ready. The ex bumped into us and tried to make conversation, I pretty much ignored him and let my mate do the talking. So far so good, nerves almost all in check!

img_2637

Race Day! 

Well I probably wasn’t great company at 5am the morning of race day. We were up and out by half past 5 and I was trying desperately to eat – which wasn’t really happening. Think I managed about half my porridge. We rocked up at Thorseby and headed to transition to sort our stuff out. Thankfully I don’t tend to faff in transition too much but everyone was looking up at the clouds debating the weather – I left two waterproofs out over my kit and hoped for the best. My only actually criticism of the transition was that the bag drop area could have done to have been covered – especially with weather forecast (a lot of people didn’t have dry clothes at the end and a lot of bag drops recently have been covered)

Swim…. 41:30

As previously stated, no-one had seen the lake before the race – you couldn’t see it from transition either – so it was an unknown to all of us! Due to the edge of the lake being SSSI, we had to get into the water via a pontoon for a deep water start. It was actually a nice morning and stood with other competitors who were clearly a lot faster than me, I had actually calmed down – probably something to do with wearing my wetsuit. I am not a massive fan of mass starts and although we were waves – I think I was in one of the biggest! I wasn’t sure how my shoulder and back would hold up so never intended on pushing it but did my fastest OW time of the year, with 2k in about 40 minutes. It was a bit of a weird course and the water was pretty weedy but not really cold or bad – swum in better places but swum in worse so fairly average. Lovely location though and managed to draft off some hips.

T1 – 11:09

Ridiculously slow I know but that includes 500m hike from the lake to T1. I walked it. Not wanting to risk my knee and knowing that in all honesty, if I had run, I wouldn’t have been that much faster! Then I had to try and dry my feet enough to get my socks on. Then walked up to the bike mount line, again – not much point in running. Successfully ignored the weak cheering from the ex. I MAY HAVE GLARED.

Bike… 3:34:11

I made the decision to wear my waterproof on the bike. Not so much for protection from the rain but as an extra layer against any chill and I am really glad I did. I probably would have been fine without it but I genuinely felt strong and confident on the bike – even in the rain, but I think this is partly due to the fact I’ve ridden in worse. It may have rained but at least it wasn’t windy! It was undulating and some roads were a bit busy – I saw some rather interesting (read – dangerous) driving but it was mostly good. Think there might have been one or two accidents but with the weather I don’t think this is much of a surprise. The last 10km were hard though! Just endless. Even with my TT head on – I was glad to get off the bike. The new trisuit is actually reasonably comfortable but I think for any longer distance I would be tempted to have a full change of clothing! I fuelled my ride perfectly – so actually going into T2 I still felt full of energy – I really tried to pace myself on the bike and make the most of descents – but I have to say, Tailwind is awesome stuff!

T2 – 8:03

Yep wasn’t busting a gut out of T2 either – change of socks and race belt (really glad I took my running belt actually). Went to the loo, sauntered out without a care in the world but still smilling!

Run… 3:00:03

Ok ok the run was more walk than anything but with my knee not happy I wasn’t willing to risk running it – even on pain killers. Although in the end – the blister on my left foot on a toe hurt more! I ran/walked the first lap – so far so good, then walked more/ran the second lap with a lad from Darlington Tri Club (both motivating each other) and then I walked most of the last lap with another lady who, having not quite completing Weymouth 70.3 two years ago after chemo, was back with a mission to finish! The marshals stationed near the car part were epic – how they kept it up like they did with the cheering is beyond me! Again, managed to ignore the ex. Without swearing at him!

The route itself was actually really nice – again – no-one saw it until race day due to it being on private property but it was a mixture of road and trail and was just really lovely. I really hope they run this race again as I would like another go at full fitness – three laps and good cheer crowds.

The end!! 

I hadn’t suffered any cramp until the last 200m. Headed off to the finish line and just before the orange carpet got cramp! Sod it – I had to run the finish if nothing else and as I came round the corner – I got my own shout out – and was absolutely beaming – think my mate got a bit of a shock to be honest.

The adrenaline and pure fact I finished without DNF made my day – I can honestly say that even when I was out racing – apart from a wobble during the swim (the bike was my fave part yesterday) – I wasn’t ever thinking ‘I don’t want to. do this again’. I think the attitude in middle distance tris and longer is different. I really enjoyed the whole day! Even the rain. Sort of! I rescued my medal and T-shirt after a massage and went to find my stuff.

Absolutely buzzing! If it hadn’t have been persisting it down – I really would happily have stayed for the free meal but both of us were a bit like – shall we just go get KFC on the way home?

Although couldn’t manage much of it. When I did actually finally get home, I didnt quite have the energy to unpack properly and put things in the wash. Had a bath and basically collapsed on my bed.

The morning after

Tired, stiff and aching. Stairs are an issue and I still need to wash/clean my bike. Still buzzing though! The tiredness is real!

Actually looking forward to potentially doing another 70.3…. and I don’t really like running……

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Chillswim Coniston End to End 5.25 miles

The 31st of August 2019 may go down as a day that I decided never to swim again.

Temporarily anyway. I’m waiting for sleep and time to dull the painful memories.

It’s already fading as it is and I am beginning to think that I actually might have enjoyed it – in a type 2 kinda way!

So the decision to do the End to End was made nearly a year ago. A year ago when I went to watch and support friends. I walked up a hill to watch from afar – little spots in the water in the far distance swimming beautiful calm water in a beautiful calm part of the world. I was wishing I was in the water – not watching!

I decided that I would have to give it ago, and low and behold, Saturday morning came round and I found myself stood next to a lake wondering what I had let myself in for.

This weekends adventure started as we left York – I say we, as there was one of my mates, his gorgeous pooch and myself, all packed and loaded into the car and on our way – and already planning/researching an epic trip for next year! We stopped en-route at a fish and chip shop in Kirby Stephen that has not seen any modernisation in about 30 years (except maybe the till). They weren’t bad for all I mock. The second stop was Kendal before arriving quite late into Coniston. By this time we had already learnt that the swim had been put back five hours due to the weather forecast which meant we had time for a drink and chance of a lie in. Winning!

Morning came round and breakfast consumed – we wandered down to register and investigate the water (walk the dog and attempt some geocaching – we even bumped into Sean Conway!) and waste some time. Milling about waiting is actually harder than it looks. Our complacency though backfired as we realised the time – quickly scoffing some lunch before getting changed (I have NEVER put a wetsuit on as fast in my life) and heading to get the bus to the start line.

For once I didn’t feel nervous. I knew I could do the distance but that it might be uncomfortable – my kit was all ok, ear plugs in, hats on – even booties – which was a good call! Checked in, scoffed a snickers, stuffed one up my sleeve and finally got in to the water and off. And a water temp of 17 – I knew I could swim in that happily!

So far so good. Managed to keep up with one of my mates to the second food station. Was struggling a bit with sighting and a bit off initially but the first half was quite uneventful – I cant say easy – it wasn’t and some of the food stations meant getting so close to shore you had to walk out of the water. The real fun came between miles 3 and 4 – the sun had been out for the first half and considering the rain and wind of the morning – the afternoon was looking promising. Then the wind got up and the rain started. One the plus side I saw a rainbow and didnt notice the rain so much! Mile 4 or rather at the 6km mark, my shoulder started to give me issues and I debated getting out and DNF-ing. I am a bit stubborn though and I could not have worn the hoodie if I had so I carried on and the last mile was the worst!

After the fourth feed station pain, boredom and negative self talk started. My shoulder was making me miserable, I was struggling to see the five mile buoy and I misjudged the finish – like a few others. I also needed the loo – anyone who knows me, knows how hard I find it!

It seemed to take forever. All hopes of coming in in under three and a half hours were shot and I just wanted to finish. I have never been so happy to see a finish line!

The photos of me exiting the water say it all!

My mate was waiting for me as I wandered out of the water, down the finishing shoot and to the exit – first two things to sort were my need to go to the loo and food. Both satisfied – we got the buses back to the registration point. Lots of people around me mentioned that they had found it harder than last year and the conversations since suggest that a lot of people were about 20 minutes slower than they expected – which makes me feel somewhat better about the the 3:50 when I know I can do it in under 3:30!

Achy and sore, both my friend and I wandered back to our cottage and got showered before heading out for a drink and then eating tea. Wetsuits in the drying room, fed and watered, bed called. I have never been more happy to go to bed!

Still woke up tired though, but less painful memories of the swim!

As for the event itself – considering the delays – communication was excellent, organisation was excellent, the volunteers and safety crew were excellent and the whole set up fab. It really was worth doing and is worth doing – just because!

And yes, I was glad I wore booties and had snickers up my sleeve!

Will I do it again?

Ask me in a week or two!