The Scribbler

6 July 2012

Tri inspiration

Another weekend, another tri for me. A pool based 400m/20k/5k at Hebburn on a course I’ve done before and enjoyed.

My time and thoughts have been pretty tri dominated recently. Last weekend, Susan spoke of herself as a triathlete that runs, and I’m beginning to think that way myself.

I can’t remember when my PT Ian first mentioned triathlon, or I began to think triathlon was something I could do. I know I held off for a year because I wanted a good Great North Run in 2010 and didn’t have the emotional space to deal with something new as well. And in truth I haven’t done that many yet, but they feel right.

Even with a million areas to improve, even with my status firmly at the back of the pack, in the shallow end, they feel like where I want to be. I wonder where I’d be if he’d mentioned kick-boxing or taekwondo?

But I know I started to read, to find out more about triathlon, and that the appeal and the challenge were easily struck. I found people on Fetch that did it, including my good friend Lesley, and began to read race reports, magazines and blogs.

Along the way, somewhere I encountered two people who I’ve watched quite closely through their triathlon experiences.

I can’t remember when I first read Andy Holgate’s book, ‘Can’t swim, ride, run‘. But I do remember thinking how utterly bonkers he was to go from one short tri to doing an ironman. And at the same time, realising this was just a regular guy, who had some daft mates and was putting himself out there for the challenge, training hard, doing a regular job and getting ready for his wedding.

And since then, I’ve had a good taste of tri. So much so, that when Chrissie Wellington writes about the support, the friendliness, the buzz of taking part, I get it. And just for a few moments I share something in common with a four times World Champion.

I re-read ‘Can’t swim, ride, run’ recently. And having had my great tri experiences, it doesn’t seem quite so crazy any more and I find myself drawn towards the deeper water.

I was anxious to hear Andy got on at his recent iron distance events, against his nemesis in Lanzarote and then closer to home, at the Outlaw, an event I knew of through my pal Peter.

It would be Peter’s first iron distance event. A heck of a challenge for a guy who didn’t swim three years ago and who has had his own difficult experience in open water.

Peter’s taken me out on a couple of bike rides, flicked my ponytail, been cheeky and cheered me on on a couple of tris and runs. So when the time came, I was anxiously watching the athlete tracker online, willing him on to finish. I’ll let him fill you in on the rest of the story, but I know he crossed paths with Andy along the way.

I’ll be wishing Ian similar success and a lot less pain as he tackles a new triathlon distance this weekend too, at the Cleveland Steelman – roughly half ironman distance, and certainly an endurance challenge.

So cheers to some very special guys and girls. And to all the others who have blogged, or offered advice on the various forums of the splash, wobble, plod variety. It’s nice to feel part of this crazy bunch. Still just a minnow, still just splashing around in the shallows, but dreaming of larger oceans.

I have, I hope, two more tris this year. It’s suddenly struck me that they’re both in pools, so I’m going to have to turn in the swim. I haven’t done a lot of pool swimming recently, but I’ve already swum further this year than I did in the whole of last year. Still not a huge amount by any standards, but it does tells you how much my training has changed and makes me feel good about the things I now take for granted I can do.

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