Just six weeks to go now before the biggest physical challenge of my life – the Outlaw long distance triathlon in Nottingham. This ‘ironman’ distance race consists of 2.4 mile lake swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, then a marathon, all without stopping. The good news is I feel like I’ve got the bike nailed now – this kind of distance is quite manageable for me having a done a number of rides around this length. Also great news is the fact that the hip soreness that has prevented me from running over the last 3 months has finally gone away – yesterday I ran for 90 minutes without any soreness at all during or after. A few longer runs over the next 4 – 5 weeks and a few ‘brick’ sessions ( running immediately after the bike) should see me through the run, even if a bit slower than usual.
I now must focus on my lake swimming and get used to swimming in this environment without trepidation. I’m a very slow swimmer, having only learnt in my thirties so I could do triathlon. I have the swum the distance in the pool (152 lengths) several times, including yesterday, when I discovered to my horror that my time for the distance had declined from about 1 hour 46 mins a year ago to over 2 hours! This could be an issue because the cut off for the swim is 2hours 20 I think. So I really must get confident in the cold water of the lake in the remaining time available.
I’m not bothered about what time I get overall, as long as I beat the cut off time of 17 hours. This will be the culmination of a dream that started about 5 or 6 years ago when I started getting myself fit again after a long lapse. I am now 58 and I know my speed has gone but I can make up for this with mental strength and endurance. Being slow on the swim is also not so bad because it means I overtake all the way through bike and then run and am almost never overtaken after the swim! It’s a brilliant feeling of power and strength to be flying past people half my age and less as the race progresses, even though I know I’ll do well probably to get in the top 75% in a race like this.
I may not get many more chances to become an ‘ironman’ distance triathlete in my life, so I am determined to do it, whatever the price in terms of suffering and possible injury later during the run. If I can just survive that lake swim and not get too freaked out by the cold water and all the other bodies thrashing around, I will succeed and achieve something that no-one can ever take away from you – that awesome ‘ironman’ status.
Bring it on!