The nice folks at Triathlon Ireland have asked me to log my training, thoughts and experiences in the lead up to TriAthy. Here begins the first instalment…
Two weeks ago I made a decision, it made perfect sense at the time, half of me thinks it still does, the other half thinks the positive side of my brain is completely nuts.
In 6 weeks, I’m going to do an Olympic triathlon.
I might have been injured for the last 10 months, but I’ve run 2 marathons, at least 5 half marathons, too many 10ks to count and I have just spend 12 weeks training to swim for a mile. I also own a wetsuit and a bike, so how hard could it be?
A little background; at the end of 2011 I weighed over 20 stone. I hadn’t exercised in years and I was going nowhere except to the sweet shop and the fridge. In 2012, I appeared as a leader on the RTE TV programme ‘Operation Transformation’. In 7 weeks I lost over 3 stone, trained for and ran my first ever 5k in 28minutes. I continued running and ran the Dublin City Marathon that October.
After that, the Limerick marathon came and went and I began to feel the effects of so much training and it was obvious the body was beginning to rebel. I was encouraged to take up tri as the effort split over three disciplines was going to be easier, 4 weeks after hobbling around Limerick I did my first sprint and was hooked.
But so much running and training in such a short period took its toll, the body said enough and I didn’t exercise for 7 months with a case of plantar fasciitis and later, a torn achilles.
In January 2014, having not exercised for months I got stuck in to the Swim Ireland, ‘Swim for a mile’ initiative. 12 weeks, 1600m, off you go. This was my opportunity to get back training, back fit and back to my goal return event of the TriAthy sprint.
The swimming went well, so well in fact, that I was reaching 2000m in the pool at least 3 times a week and sure isn’t an Olympic triathlon only 1500m? That’ll be ok so, decision made. ‘Hellooo, is that TriAthy? Can I change my entry from Sprint to Olympic please?’
Now I have to learn to run, injury free, again. I have to dust off the bike and I have to maintain my new found strength in the pool. Shouldn’t be too bad.
Week one into training was great, 2 interval runs, some swimming some turbo training and I was off. A decent if unspectacular start, I am under no illusions on this, I want to do my best, but mainly it is about finishing.
Then week 2 happened, the Achilles was sore so I took time off the feet. Now that should have been the cue to get in the pool and on the bike, nope. That didn’t happen. I wallowed in my frustration and injury and did nothing. I felt better by Wednesday and got in the pool and put in a decent 1000m. A 5k run at goal pace followed on Thursday and things were looking up.
Rest day Friday and prepare for my first ever beginners spin on Saturday with BelparkTri, my new club. I laid out my gear, cleaned my bike (which was already the cleanest bike in Dublin) stayed in on Friday night and got a decent night sleep, all set for the following day.
Well, unfortunately that didn’t go well either! The beginners spin morphed into a TT up the side of a mountain, not a course for a beginners introduction. My fault, not theirs. I got to the top though, I may have walked a little, I may have been last but I didn’t quit. I should have taken control of the situation and done my own thing. Lesson learned, move on.
I’m more aware than ever of the task ahead of me now, you can’t take this stuff for granted. Times, distances, medals and t-shirts are earned. It is up to me to make sure I deserve to start with the Olympic big boys. Time to rock on.
Oh, and after I upgraded with TriAthy, I entered the Dublin Tri for August. The Olympic distance. Sure I’ll have one under my belt at that stage, another wont be that difficult…