It’s a real mixed bag of emotions in the Ironsnook camp

It has now been about 10 days since I signed up for Challenge Weymouth, my first ever Iron Distance race.  By way of a reminder and for those people new to my blog, an Iron Distance race is consists of a  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run raced one after an other.  There is a cut off time of 16hrs and 30 minutes for Challenge Weymouth.  I am predicting a time around 16hours 29 minutes!!!

In the last 10 days I have veered from one emotion to another regarding this incredibly daunting race.  Initially I was terrified.  Can I even get fit enough to complete this?  Is a year long enough to train?  Will I be one of the unfortunate souls whose kidneys shut down during the race and require hospitalisation (yes Mum, this does happen to a few people!)  Will I even make it to the start line?  Will injury prevent me from competing?

Added to this fear is the pressure I feel. The reason I am doing this is far greater than one man wanting to become an Ironman.  There is nothing wrong with taking on this challenge just because it is there. 1000’s of people do just that ever year.  My calling to become an Ironman was nothing to do with a burning desire to train and exercise.  If anything I was quite happy being a couch potato.  The fact that I am racing to raise money for The Chestnut Tree House hospice, who have provided such outstanding support and care to my friends during a horrid time in their lives heaps the pressure onto me.  Nobody is putting this pressure onto me other than me.  It is an internal drive and desire that I have rarely felt before.  With this comes the realisation that if I fail and cannot complete the race I am letting so many people down.  I am not a religious man, but I am tempted to start praying that I am able to make the start line in reasonable condition and haul my arse round the course in less than 16hrs 30 minutes.

I think that pretty much covers the fear element 🙂  

The other emotion I keep feeling is a sense of excitement and joy that I am taking on this challenge with two very good friends, the day itself will most likely be amazing and if all goes to plan I will raise some money for a very good cause and get to call myself an Ironman.  It is bizarre to feel so excited about something that also scares me to death.  The only similar experience I have had is when I became a Dad.  Exciting and terrifying in equal measure.  So far that seems to have gone OK, but to be fair it didn’t require me to train for hours and hours, week after week.  My wife did all the hard work on that one.

Lastly and probably most importantly I finally feel a real and deep desire to train.  I have never, ever felt this before.  I played football as a kid, but treated the training sessions as a bit of a muck around if I am honest.  I have dabbled with weight training at the gym, but never really put any concerted effort into it.  I have occasionally done a bit of running, then given up because I couldn’t be arsed.  Training for this Ironman seems to be entirely different.  If I am being entirely frank with myself, although I have competed in 4 triathlons this year I really didn’t put in enough training.  I was taking part just to complete the races and knew deep inside that I was fit enough to plod round an Olympic distance triathlon.  Because of this, I probably trained a couple of hours a week, with an occasional long bike ride thrown in just because I like riding the bike.  

All of this lackadaisical attitude seems to have melted away as soon as I booked up Weymouth.  I have bought a Turbo Trainer and love it.  For those of you who are not familiar with a Turbo Trainer, they are one of the best torture devices ever invented.  Essentially it allows you to use your normal bike as a static bike at home.  You get as much out of them as you put in.  Cycle hard on the Turbo and when you get back out on the road it all seems a lot easier.  That’s the plan anyway.  I haven’t yet been on the road since getting the Turbo.  Fingers crossed my master plan works.  

Anyway back to the plot.  I have written a training plan and have managed to stick with it quite well so far.  I have joined a gym where they run twice weekly Triathlon specific training sessions which I will be attending from Monday.  I even got up early on a Sunday to go for a swim!  All in all it is fair to say I am enjoying my training.  I do feel fitter and Cat already says she can see that the Turbo sessions are tiring me out less.  Time to put more effort into those I feel!

The only missing link is the running.  I am still in a very slow build up to any sort of reasonable mileage following being diagnosed with shin splints.  The plan is to get to 5k distance by the New Year.  Very slow progression, but this is the way it has to be.  I have also discovered barefoot running.  This is exactly what is says on the tin.  You run with no shoes and socks on.  Since starting running barefoot I have had no shin pain.  Am convinced it is the way forward.  I won’t be competing barefoot (at least I don’t think I will at the moment) but will continue to train this way.  Ken Bob Saxton is the main man for barefooting.  Anybody who has ever suffered a running injury should read his website.  It might just change your life.   Plus who wouldn’t be interested in finding out more about a man with such a superb beard!

So that is about it for the time being.  It is my intention to post twice monthly updates on how my training is progressing.  The first one of these will be in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime wishing you all much love and happiness.  Any of you Portsmouth based people, if you fancy meeting up for a swim, bike ride or a very short run let me know 🙂



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