Boy did I cycle that year, in fact it started at the end of 2016. All I could think of was to beat Cullen Goodyear at the Ironman World Championships the following October. I was on a mission.
Then, somehow I ended up in Flanders in April with eighteen experienced cyclists from Weymouth. This was a chance to see the Pros and then ride the course ourselves with it’s notorious cobbled hills.
I was way out of my depth and yet again came a ‘cropper’. It was after lunch, inattention, chasing the faster guys and on a cobbled cycle path. My left buttock blew up like a balloon and turned black. A grazed knee nearly down to the bone. But it was fortunate it coincided with my appointment at the tattoo parlour upon my return – so out of the water for 4 or 5 weeks.
Swim sessions were still down to only two a week with Weyport Masters. I had cut out the late Wednesday session as I found with my training for the Ironman it was just too much.
Although one hour sessions, I frequently only swam for 45 or 50 minutes, often taking time to get in, chatting and generally procrastinating. Unlike in September 2016 when I had been so motivated to get my swimming back on track, after breaking my collar bone, that in addition to full one hour pool swims, I happily did several two hour open water swims a week, albeit in my 2mm sleeveless wetsuit. And in 2006/7 for my previous Channel swim I was always first in the pool and last to get out and did many extra sessions.
All bode well when I caught a cold early in 2017 and happily had a winter dip in the sea just in my costume (something I used to do all year round) to relieve the symptoms and boost the immune system. So once the Spring came, I’d be in the sea regularly, or so I thought!
Spring and summer came, but try as I might – could I swim barely more than an hour in open water.
As with all sports its about 20% physical and 80% mental and it was so true in this case.
My head kept telling me I was cold and no way could I continue. Despite the sun being out, husband on the beach with feeds ready, and even keeping my wet suit on, each time I did one circuit of the Tower and back I got out, unable (unwilling) to continue. It was a round trip of less than two miles. I didn’t even get to do a two hour swim.
I was cold – I had convinced myself it was because I was now a stone lighter due to the triathlon training – down to just below 9 stone – but in truth it was my head – I just could not get myself motivated.
However, once in Kona my swimming felt good in the clear warms waters. I also took the opportunity to book a session with swim coach Karlyn Pipes – what a lady – look her up – amazing. She lives in Hawaii but travels the world coaching swimming, which is when I first met her in London years previously.
The 2.4 mile non-wet suit swim went really well in lovely clear water with the fish and turtles – but I saw non of these as I had perfected my drafting. I was in a sea of bubbles for 1.2 miles to the turning point where I then latched onto one swimmer just a tad faster than me and I got a ‘tow’, following her feet, all the way back to the beach. I beat my previous times and the ‘new kid on the block’ in my age group by less than two minutes. Phew, that was close. Then I smashed her and all the others on the bike – I had achieved my aim and thoroughly enjoyed it the whole experience – unlike the previous year.
A cycling holiday was booked in Tenerife for November so I promised myself that in the New Year I would have to seriously start swimming – but would I be able to – would I be motivated to ???????