3 weeks – are you having a laugh? It seems as if someone has their finger firmly held down on the fast-forward button as I try and scrabble around ensuring that all the logistics are sorted as well as getting the actual training done. Katie’s spent the last 5 hours scouring the internet for the perfect bikini to wear for the underpants run; proper first world problems.
For some reason, I’ve decided people want an insight of what’s going on inside my head with the finish line in sight. If I’m being perfectly honest – I’m actually really struggling. On the surface, social media and recent results can make it seem like everything is rosy. I won the highly prestigious Brighton Triathlon last weekend (might as well retire now), I’m logging a ridiculous amount of training, and I’m privileged enough to be racing at the Ironman World Championships in just under 3 weeks time. Things are great right?
Well – not quite. I think everyone goes through their own personal struggles in a training cycle, and deals with them in different ways. I’ve felt completely flat all week. I’m just not enjoying it. Throwing my toys out of the pram. What’s the point? It’s all a load of crap.
It’s been a struggle to get out of the door and do anything. I should be absolutely buzzing; racing in Kona is all I’ve ever dreamed of. But instead, at times, I’ve genuinely thought about not bothering with any of it. How ridiculously pathetic; so many people I know would trade in their own mothers to get a place on the start line in Hawaii. (This isn’t something I’d consider, as I wouldn’t get a good price for mine, and she’d probably talk them to death).
I took a couple of really easy days to try and get my head together. Katie made me remember why I’m doing this sport; because I love it. We drank a couple of beers and chilled out a bit. Things started to turn around; I ended up going into the weekend looking forward to training again after a full rest day on Friday.
Saturday was a big run session. 5 x 5km alternating between 3 hour marathon pace and tempo pace with no recovery in between. It was going to be hard; Katie to the rescue once again. Quite handily, my tempo pace matches her 5km PB pace, so I timed it so I could reach the start of Burgess parkrun for my 2nd ‘tempo’ section and run with her in a PB attempt.
I could tell she was fairly nervous, so I attempted to say things of a calming but motivational nature, most probably making things ten times worse. Luckily we were quickly underway, the time for talking over. We took it out hard for the first mile and she was absolutely flying – if there was anyone who was going to drop off the pace, it was me.
Disaster nearly struck during the 2nd mile, as a couple of rogue geese picked the wrong moment to waddle into our path. For the first time since we’d started, Katie spoke, with a hint of terror in her voice: ‘They’re going to get me’. Heroically, I charged at them whilst she remained on a straight course, putting my own life in danger for the sake of a sub-19 5km time.
Thankfully, the next few minutes were bird free, and we entered the last mile. Being in charge of the pacing, I knew barring disaster she was going to do it. But there’s no way I was going to let her know that. Instead, I kept insisting it was going to be so close, and she needed to draw out every bit of strength and speed that she’d worked so hard in training to attain.
Crossing the line in 18:50, she shattered her 5km PB by 18 seconds, and she was absolutely exhausted. But I’ve seen how much work has gone into this Chicago marathon campaign, and I was so happy to see her rewarded with a time she thoroughly deserved. I literally cannot wait to see what happens in 2 weeks time.
Sunday dawned, and with it some absolutely horrific weather. I’d already made the decision after seeing the forecast the previous evening; I’d be doing my 5 hour ride indoors. Mentally, this was probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done to date, but I kept myself amused and just got on with it. Don’t give yourself an option to not do it, and then doing it becomes easier.
I also kept the windows firmly shut and didn’t allow myself the luxury of a fan with Kona in mind. I ended up consuming 8 litres of fluid. I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life – if I’d been collecting it I’m pretty sure I could’ve filled a small lake. I don’t think anyone would want to swim in that though.
A surprisingly good 40 minute run off the bike followed, and that was another training week wrapped up. Just a few more hard sessions to go before we travel; motivation well and truly restored.