One week countdown!

Well, maybe I should apologise for not blogging more, but not surprisingly, I’ve been fairly busy training! 🙂

The swimming’s coming on, and I’m pleased that last week I was able to swim over double the race distance in open water. However, it’s all about speed, and on that front it’s a different story. Thinking sensibly, I remember that I couldn’t swim at all in January, and to get through the swim part of the race safely is the real aim.

This weekend I got the chance to test out my new carbon race wheels from Spin Industries. While I feel more nimble and generally the journey feels easier with less effort, I kind of shot myself in the foot by changing out the saddle to one with a wider double nose and which weighs twice what the previous one did. This meant that on yesterday’s ride I wasn’t able to focus much on anything apart from finding a comfortable position on the saddle and getting used to the width of the nose pushing out into my thigh muscles and restricting my movement. It was a real reminder that a negative state of mind can affect your performance from one day to the next way more than weeks or even months of training – and there’s no doubt that I’ve been putting the hours in.

On the run, I feel that it’s the last stage of the race and once I get there it’s kind of easy in that all I need to do is keep pushing hard and as long as my legs behave and cramp doesn’t come, I’m at no risk of crashing, falling off or drowning. I’d rather not, but I think I’ll wear my Compressport calf guards to minimise my chances of getting cramp.

I discovered beetroot juice concentrate since my last post on here, and I’m really enjoying having it as a part of my daily diet. I didn’t find a horrible taste that I needed to mix with mint or the other things I’d heard about, and there’s no downside.

On the Human side, Rasmus Henning has been a great source of ongoing encouragement, and emails from my friend Juri Ide are really positive too, especially the great news of her recent Bronze position at the ITU World Series race in Chicago. I’m glad to hear that Tom Dudden and Jano Soto will be at my race, and I’m looking forward to catching up with Tom again after our chats at Ironman Exmoor.

Thinking back over this journey, I’m really grateful to Marsha El-Hage for her encouragement in the early days when I was just learning to swim, and often angry with myself and fighting the voices that said I should accept that I couldn’t swim. Also along for the journey but the loudest recent voice and most of my recent coaching has come from Phil Paterson whose tough love and methods derived directly from concurrent race experience allowed me to use effective techniques I could never have picked up by myself to progress far beyond what I could have by myself. In between these, encouraging words and wise advice from Simon Kibble and John Brame (don’t mention the doughnuts!) and everyone that’s trained alongside me including the way Joe Maule has dealt with me have all really helped.

Thanks to all these friends.

So what now? I find myself torn between wanting to push hard for this last week and ‘keep my hand in’ before the race as opposed to heeding the advice of those who know that I should rest this week.

The other spanner in the works is that there are actually two races available to do on the day. I’ve been training to make it through one from the position of a non-swimmer and a master of aikido but not of biking or running…but my training mate Rob has pushed me to do both races. I do feel I’ve got more in me after a day’s training but I’ll see how I feel on the day and be sensible. If I feel I can complete the second swim of the day safely then I’ll go for it.

Although I’ve shown a ton of fighting spirit, I hope and look forward to the award for RG Active’s athlete of the year going to Anne Renshaw for her heroic journey to Ironman Exmoor.

Even over these past few weeks I’ve been making new friends week on week at training sessions and online, and I’d like to thank every single one of you. You all help me way more than you’d imagine you have.

The one place I wish I could have done better? Sponsorship. I’m doing all this to help to raise charitable funds for Cancer Research UK, and we all know someone who has been affected by cancer. Still far from the target, I’m sincerely grateful for every donation, but it’s like an itch that won’t go away to know how much better this effort could be doing if more people just put say £5 in instead of two visits to Starbuck’s or whatever, a packet of cigarettes. You know, those stick things that give you cancer. you could be helping others and yourself, smokers 🙂

Thank you to everyone. As I swore weekly in the Scouts, “On my honour I promise to do my best”.

Training in #pinkforpapa with Bambi in Richmond Park

Training in #pinkforpapa with Bambi in Richmond Park

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