I screwed up my courage and went to the Warrington Triathlon Club swim session. Hooray! They are a really keen bunch, with two proper training coaches. I did two lengths then they started trying to sort me out. Being basically untaught since whatever they said at school they have their work cut out.

I was windmilling, my breathing is all wrong, I need to rotate my body with the strokes, lift my head by 45 degrees when face down, stretch out my leading arm, raise my elbow on the pulling arm,and only kick to balance my strokes.

The killer one for me is the breathing. I am aware of all the others and I’m trying to put them into place, but buggered if I can get the breathing. Rest your head on your leading arm, push the arm forward to rotate in the water, as your pull arm clears your face, breathe. Ha! Suck in loads of water and cough your guts up, more like. 

If I can crack the breathing I really stand a chance. As one of the coaches noted: “You swim like a runner.” Hahaha. Fair point.

I’ve broke the ice now, just got to keep going and I can batter this. One of the coaches took me to look at the lads in the fast lane. It was an awesome sight. It looked like zero effort, half the strokes I was taking, and they just glided down the lane. And they were about 3 times as fast as me, on 100% effort. If I can get those skills…

I’ve still not been out for a long test ride. The weather has gone from cold and horrible to fucking freezing and unbearable. The Beast From The East, they are calling the arctic weather front.

I’ve been going to the gym and doing brick sessions. Just half an hour on the bike, then an hour on the treadmill, but the bike kicks the crap out of your legs for running, so it feels harder than it sounds.

Yesterday I did an hour on the bike, on a ‘hills’ setting, then ran 7 miles (smidge over an hour).

I was off today so I did an hour in the baths, trying and trying and trying to get the breathing sorted. Nope. Hopefully they can sort me out over the coming weeks at my Tri club. Ooh, that felt good. My Tri club.

Then I went back and did half an hour bike, but only managed 5 miles on the run. I think the beasting yesterday, and the swim, must have took it out of me.

One thing, I’ve had a very belated and utterly obvious epiphany. I’ve been going to the gym in my running shorts. These are lycra with a mesh undercarriage. Which is not a good thing if you are wriggling about on a saddle. Basically I’ve been grating my bollocks. I noticed this by getting in the shower then trying not to scream like a girl.

Then it struck me. I did my last full Iron tri with my running shorts under my lovely padded cycling shorts to save time in the transition. 112 miles of utter misery. Talk about stupid.

Today I bought a pair of normal sports shorts. They say they are running, but they are not lycra, so quite loose, with mesh vents in the sides, not underneath. No screaming in the shower. What a moron.

Just a follow up note on my last blog. It seems the set calf was just that, which is a huge relief. And the no sugar/ fat/ illness thing remains unresolved but absent, so I’ll take it.


In other news, I’ve dropped lucky with the weather. Warrington is doing OK, the roads are clear, it’s just bitterly cold in the wind. The problem is the whole rest of the country. Which becomes a problem for me as that’s where I work. Scotland’s M80 motorway was gridlocked and motionless overnight, the M62 was closed for 6 hours, Wales is a write-off, even Devon and Cornwall have had blizzards.  A terrible, terrible time to be me.

However, the weather gods have smiled on me. Yesterday I had a day’s training at work so I didn’t do any driving. I had a day’s holiday booked for next Thursday, but they cocked it up in the office and booked me off today. (So happy about that.) My normal day’s off are Friday and Saturday. Hopefully it will start to improve by Sunday. Hopefully.

I think I’ll take a sleeping bag with me, just in case.

Just looked on Twitter. There is currently no route over the Pennines. The Snake Pass, Woodhead Pass and M62 are all closed. 300 people are trapped in cars in the heavy snow in Cornwall.