Highs and lows.

I’m still on about my triathlon. Run away, run away now.

I am still working up to the full Iron Man distance Outlaw race (July 24, provisionally) but I have found a few diverting projects besides.


In may (21st, to be confirmed) there is a half I.M. distance race in Cornwall. That really appeals! Quick swim around St Michael’s Mount, (1.1 miles) tootle to Lands End and back on the pushbike (56 miles) then a half marathon run (13.1 miles). Even the swim won’t be on a level surface!  So enthused am I, that I’ve talked Wendy into taking a weeks holiday down there. I would like to make it two, but she won’t leave the cat for that long!  



That could be me!

Also, as a cheap warm-down to the season I’ve just booked a small but taxing triathlon in the lake District. It’s the 14th of August. 1800 metre swim in Semer Water, 42 miles of pure hell hills around the Lakes, lots of 1:4 hills, then a leisurely 12 miles up and over the hills. It has been rated as the toughest (for it’s distance, presumably) triathlon in the U.K.

In a rush of blood to the head I’ve gone and entered that! I was going to build up my stamina at cycling and see if I was up to it, but I just went on the home site, Trihard (love the name!) and one of May 2011 events is already sold out. I panicked and signed up.

Shit, I’ve got some training on now! 42 miles of Lake District hills! There’s incentive for you!

My training has been a bit patchy. I did a quick 30 (hilly) miles to test out my tri-bars. They are not as life-threateningly weird as I’d been lead to believe. Did a 10 mile run just to keep my hand in. Today I got a surprise half day off work so I had a nap then went to the pool. I started off, determined to crack the four strokes/ breath, without lifting my head. Still not ideal but improving. The thing I’ve learned is; don’t blow all your air out as soon as you submerge your head again, hold it until the third stroke, blow it out, then breath on the fourth. It stops that horrible panicky feeling that you have to breath RIGHT NOW, that causes you to gasp in water.

Anyway, I thought I’d try and learn as I trained, so set out to do 100 lengths. Succeeded, carried on to 150. That’s 150 x 20m, or 3k. My rough maths told me (2/3rds of a Kilometre to a mile) that that was 2 miles. Damn you Johnny Frenchman! It’s 1609 metres to a mile, ie 11 lengths short.

I could have been a contender!

Anyway, that disappointment aside, I was thoroughly pleased with that. Less than a month ago I was taking my first swim in 15 years, and was delighted to do 10 lengths, head up. Excuse my maths, but is that a 1400% improvement? Probably not, confused myself in the working out. My point being; if I continue to improve at this rate, by the time of the race I may well flip like Sir Donald Campbell in  BlueBird. I’ll be skipping along like a skimmed stone, hit a bow wave, tragedy. Better learn to pace myself.

The other news is my biking misadventures. I bought a seat pole thingy, (the bit that sticks out of the frame and holds your seat at the right height.) It was a fancy one, designed to push the seat forward into a position favourable for holding an aerodynamic hunch.

When I got it it made me realise just how crap my bike is. I only got it for exercise. I realised I’d paid more for the seat post than for the bike! Then the bloody thing wouldn’t fit! I tried to ‘adjust’ the frame with the application of an angle grinder and bloody-mindedness, to no avail.

Which set me to window shopping for a decent bike. A dedicated tri-bike is out of the question, the crappy ones start at £1,500. My car is probably worth about £400. Never going to happen. So I read about decent ‘entry level’ road bikes, that are fit for purpose with the addition of tri bars (got) and a forward seat post (got). They start at nearly £500! Still wasn’t happening, yet anyway.

Then the chap in the bike shop mentioned Bike2Work, a scheme whereby your employer gets tax breaks for buying you a bike, the cost of which they then stop from your wages, tax and interest free, over a 12 month period. So a £500 bike ends up costing you a smidge over £300. I’ve enquired at work.If they will do it, I can justify that.

Things are shaping up. I have lots of fun stuff to occupy my every free moment, and more besides. I got back to my sax practice today, after a couple of week absence. It was starting to build into an aversion. Enjoyed it tonight though, even if it felt like my cheeks were tearing!

Tomorrow I have to get back to the other hobby that really has turned into an aversion, Kung Fu. I’ve not been for several months now. Once you miss one lesson, you’re more likely not to go to the next, miss a few and you feel awkward going back. Still, that fool from the army has proved that even though I don’t need the skills for the fight I was expecting around here, you always need the skills.

Bite the bullet tomorrow. They want my money, I want to learn. Deep breaths, don’t panic.

If I can go once I’ll be fine, it’s just ignoring the deep formless dread of what will happen when I go back, and doing it.

Right, see if I can muster enough bottle and start again.

Enough for now, I’m knackered. But happy with what I’ve achieved today.