The last time I entered Ironman UK, I made it to the start line at Pennington Flash, and I had, by my standards a pretty decent first lap, but it all went wrong on the second. When my race day finished sitting in T1 with concussion after taking a foot to the head during the second lap of the swim my day was over, some 14 hours earlier than I expected it to be.
That was in 2016, about 12 months after my niece, Christina was born and diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Since then, despite the best of intentions, I’ve never made it to the start line of another Ironman or triathlon. I’ve entered them and deferred or withdrawn because I wasn’t pulling my finger out with the training, there was always an excuse, a cancelled rest day at work, a late off and getting home at 3am from work when I promised myself that I would be in the pool at 0630 when it opened. There was always something else going on.
Then last year, when I entered IronMan Wales, Gemma (@GemsieM on Twitter – sorry not clever enough to know how to link her handle) who I knew from my pervious coach, had just completed her Triathlon Coaching qualifications and had set up her own online coaching team Podium Addict (https://www.podiumaddict.com) and I jumped on board.
I thought I had my mojo back, talking to Gemma was getting me excited about triathlon again, and she was keen to get me back to collecting some bling, so I signed up for my first ‘race’ a two mile swim in the Cotswolds, and it went well. A lovely weekend camping with Vicky (the better half) and a lovely warm 2 mile Open Water (OW) swim, I thought I was back on it! Amazing what the infectious influence Gemma – and the rest of the Podium Addict group can do. But then BANG, something happened at work (and this isn’t the place to talk about it, those who know me, know what happened and that’s as much as I am going to say) and it knocked me. I was advised by many, many people to take some time off work and I thought I’d fill that time with training but I couldn’t. There was too much going on in my head to switch off and commit to the training. I probably went back to work a bit too soon, but hey, that’s another story. Then before I knew it, it was Christmas, I was on an attachment at work that came with a LOT of overtime, and the sort of work where we couldn’t go home until the job was done. Add into that studying for my promotion exam and then we are in March – remember I said about how there was always something else going on? I would go through fits and starts of having a really good couple of weeks training then losing my mojo again
Then came the Long Course Wales Weekend. A weekend of swimming, cycling and running. The first event, and my first since the Cotswolds swim in 2017, was the Sea Swim in the North Bay in Tenby, an absolute stunning place for a swim, and the course that is used by Ironman Wales. My first sea swim, and I was petrified of Jellyfish! Cue seeing all the pictures on social media and all the talk about how the swim would be like the scene from Finding Nemo where Dory bounces off the tops! The swim was a nightmare, to say the least, and that was in a picture perfect calm sea! I was expecting to be done in about 45-50 minutes, it had taken me double the time I told Vick to expect me in, and from my Garmin, not only did it take me twice as long as I did nearly twice the distance of the planned 1.9km!
So, swim done, bling in the bag and Pizza back at the tent, I set up my bag ready for the 70 mile sportive around Pembrokeshire the following morning.
70 miles turned into 20 and ended up with me in a hedge, and it turns out with a bit of a boo-boo on my shoulder. Long story short, after 8 hours sat in a local A&E – nothing broken however I had damaged the ligament between my collar bone and shoulder, so that was the weekend over and a few weeks in a sling to limit it’s movement while the ligament heals. And if it was ever in any doubt after the disastrous sea swim the night before, Ironman Wales was also out of the window.
So that’s where we are now. I am sitting at home, typing up a blog very gingerly and after talking at length with Vick and Gemma, I am going back to Bolton and Ironman UK with its lake swim in Pennington Flash.
That is where this blog comes in. I’m going to use this as a number of things, a training record, a progress report, sharing what goes into Ironman training alongside working full time as a police officer, sharing some of Gemma and Sam’s training sets, and also an extra layer of accountability. I’m also planning on doing some more fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust –https://www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/ – but that’s a long way away yet, but I will try and highlight some of the work that they do and more about what living with Cystic Fibrosis entails, because I’ll be honest, before Christina and her sister Amelia, born in 2018, were diagnosed with the condition I knew nothing about it!
The plan is to write a new blog each week, to be published on a Sunday with what I have been doing, what training I have done, what has happened and any reasons why I have missed something. I’ll show you what my Training Peaks account looks like and hopefully plenty of green tiles!
So there we are, I suppose if you have stayed with me this far, I should tell you some more about me.
I am Rich, a 34 year old copper in the Metropolitan Police. I am overweight, 17 stone and have been married to Vick for 10 years! And that’s about it I suppose! I am sure you will get to know me better in the coming weeks and months.
So there we go, tomorrow, the 22nd July entries open again for Ironman UK – Bolton and I start training again slowly with Gemma and some Turbo Sessions while I’m still in a sling!
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