Monday 13th August 2018 (2.50pm)
The questions I am being asked at the moment are:
1. ’What will you do after Ironman?’
2. ’What is your favourite out of the three – swim, bike, run?’
Firstly, tackling question 1, my carefully considered response is ‘retire’ (again). With less than four weeks to go until the big day I am thinking about my options. These though depend on A) surviving the event itself and B) employment status.
What I do know is that my wetsuit will be left to sail into the Bristol Channel, my bikes will be in the nearest skip and my daps will be burnt somewhere along my favourite run route.
Then I remember that two weeks after IMW I am swimming the Serpentine, then two weeks after that I am running the Cardiff Half Marathon. Maybe I wont retire after all. In 2019 I have plans to run the London Marathon and to Ride London. My aim is to get the London Classics Medal. To date only 649 people are recognised in the hall of fame.
In reality I do not know how I will be either physically or mentally four weeks today. Physically I have an idea that my body will be broken. Currently, my knees hang on by bolts and threads and my left hamstring / glute scream if I sit down for too long. I am seeing a Physio on Thursday who I am hoping has a magic wand. I am not too bothered by these niggles and they are not concerning enough to keep me from the start line.
I have trained for this since last November and I can say that I have done my absolute best following the plan and directions of my amazing coach. There is no way that I would have been in the shape I am in today without such guidance. The structure has been what I have needed giving me focus each day. My body has achieved things over the last few months which I never thought it would. If it was left to me alone, I can assure you that I would not have had the discipline to do what I have done.
I have enjoyed every moment of my training (well 99%). I look back to the cold dark winter months being out in all weathers which was a serious test to my commitment. Sitting here now (in Costa) I cannot believe where the time has gone. I have met some supportive people on this journey, both in real life and through social media. Such people have been so inspirational in their own journey which has given me the motivation to keep going.
I will not just stop training when this is all over. I will drop the intensity then maybe take a short break. I don’t know. I know that mentally, exercise is my therapy and has become a lifeline over the last few years. I will need time to reflect on what I have achieved over the last year, often through some tough times. I usually book my activity diary up in January so no doubt I will be looking.
I have said to myself that I will not commit to a full Ironman again. I have other things that I would like to invest my time in which are as equally as important and therapeutic. I have had to put my book on hold and I would like to do more with my blog. I have a number of ideas in terms of where I want to go and what I would like to do but most of this is dependant on what happens with my employment situation.
What I do know is that I have to keep my brain active as this helps it declining into a negative slump. I have even considered doing another degree or course (online). I will not be putting any pressure on myself for anything, and these are just ideas which are currently floating around my head. I need to do things in my time and not be dictated by anyone or anything.
The answer to question 2 differs every day. I do not have a favourite as I enjoy all for different reasons. I love the freedom that I get from hours on the bike, the places that I discover and sites I often miss when driving.
I love the buzz that I get after a run and the friends which I have made through the local run club. I will never forget how lucky I am to actually be able to run after being told that I never would again.
The feeling I get when hitting the sweet spot through the water is incredible. Mastering the skill and technique takes patience and time and it is an area which I have worked hard at and seen big improvements.
There are times when I am cycling and my legs are screaming at me and all I want to do then is put on my run legs. This works both ways.
Though I have no particular favourite, the one I see as least going wrong and the one I will look forward to is the run, yep 26.2 miles of running (or shuffling). Not only is it the last event, but I feel that if I can get to the run, I hopefully will get to the finish. The bike cut off times scare me and there is always the chance of a mechanical or crash. Before any of this though is the swim. I just hope I can keep the sea sickness away and not get eaten by Tenby size jelly fish.
Remind me why I do these stupid things?