Monthly Archives: April 2017

Feeling weirdly relaxed – (Still scared though)

We have made it through the long winter, the sun has shone, early weekends have meant long bike rides in solitude and loving the tranquility and beauty of our great countryside….Life affirming and exciting, if a little chilly. Apparently, not as chilly as the lake.

In previous missives I have shared my fears about the bike, having only recently graduated from a Raleigh Grifter with various decorations on the wheels that really don’t help triathletes in anyway and the general fears about such an event. However, bizarrely, maybe after reassuring words from my coach and perhaps gaining a greater perspective a feeling of calm has descended. Perhaps ancient buddhism is right. Learn to accept the challenges, focus on the now and probably more realistically, learn to breathe properly. This is clearly a clear way of prevention of panic attacks and hyperventilating.

There is a serious point in here – the training and concentration do induce a sense of well being and calm. Of course, there are worries and fears, but I am not sure this is specific to attempting an Ironman. I could easily trot out cliches about ‘controlling what you can control’ and other such meaningless mantras, but in essence having a focus and enjoying what you do is far better than worrying about what you cant do or what might not be right.

This is not an attempt to stop striving for improvement, far from it, but it is an attempt to stop trying to achieve perfection. As specialists in Continuous Improvement will tell you, the clue is in the title…. The journey will not be linear. Some weeks, some days will feel better or worse than others because that’s life. However, it is important to acknowledge, and even celebrate getting out for that run swim or ride, or even a walk. The tough ones are probably the most valuable for so many reasons. In addition, listen to your coach, not every session has to be hard. There is a method and purpose to easy sessions. Maybe this is something to dwell upon in life. Beating ourselves up for the smallest error or taking it easy, is no way to live. Enjoy the fact we have down time. This is perhaps when we get better at things.

Spectating at the London Marathon this weekend was just the tonic – watching different folk with all sorts of different goals, and reasons for running puts everything in perspective and does remind me that the human spirit is fundamentally, strong, good hearted and resilient. That is something to aim for…And helps keep the training in perspective.

I am sure the fears and the panic, will rear their heads again. I will be open to that and enjoy the process. After all being scared can be helpful some of the time…Right?

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Spring does make a difference….

The dark days of winter are behind us, no longer indoor drudgery of indoor bike sessions and rising early in the dark for that early morning swim.

With 5 months to go until Copenhagen, there is light. My mood has changed with the ability to get outside. Long bike rides….. Now I say this, so far I’ve managed a few and of course this has been great with some pitfalls.

The obligatory tumble because I forgot to unclip in time, middle of the road with two other cyclists. Of course, they were gracious enough not to laugh but cartoon time was clearly with us. Everything in slow motion, my legs moving to get free in mid air, well they weren’t because they were stuck to the bike. Luckily only ego and pride bruised, a standard lesson for all cyclists.

Then the glories of early morning bike rides. Early spring sunshine illuminating the countryside, just the noise of the wheels whirring and  tyres collecting the miles. However, no one told me, it’s bloody cold on the bike. Within, 40 mins hands and toes solid blocks of ice, with still 30 miles left. Eskimos would be better suited to this training.

However, there is still the exhilaration of being on the open road until you discover the real state of Britains roads. I think I know what it was like to ride a Penny Farthing. Bones shaken and rattled, like I have in a good blender. The pot holes are deeper than craters and your body anticipates tbe judders with Pavlovian ryhthm.

The fresh air and exhilaration does counterbalance this and being in the sunshine and fresh air stiffens the sinews. Those early swims are getting easier and it seems the indoor training of the winter does pay off. I could go into the detail of Heart Rates and my speeds but that seems pointless, nerdy and overblown. After all, I’m not going to win tbe Ironman, I’m there to enjoy and for once in my years of running and competing, stay in the moment and savour this endeavour. After all, I could beat myself up about a minute or two here but what will that achieve. I’m healthy and have some great people around me… and tbe cause I’m raising money for does make a difference to families with greater challenges than I’m facing…..

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