Saturday, 18 December 2010

Wetsuit Wonderland

The wetsuit has arrived and the training has begun!

It felt amazing getting in to the gym several times this week, finally using my new trainers, and running faster, lifting more and going longer than I had expected to be able to at this early stage. It seems I may actually get round the course in less than 2 hours at this rate!

This was not the only surprise. As I say, the wetsuit has arrived, and it shocked me to the core. When I got it out of the bag I thought they had sent me a kids' wetsuit by mistake. It looked so tiny I thought I might never get in to it. However, once my boyfriend had hooked me up with a top tip - you put a plastic bag over your foot to make the suit go on easier - I was in to the wetsuit and it didn't look too grotesque. Also, the lace pattern on the front adds a nicely feminine touch I reckon. It looks like a corset or bodice top, and had £100 off in the sale. Female practicality, perfectly balanced with aesthetics.

The issue came though when I had to get the blasted thing off again. The lovely wetsuit has a fantastic back panel and a very secure zip, which ensures that no water will flood down the back of the suit and chill me to the bone whilst I'm swimming in Blenheim Palace lake! So far, so good. Unless that is, you want to get out of your wetsuit in a hurry, which nobody does do they? Except people who do triathlons. They need to get out of wetsuits quickly and without help... Oh bugger!

As the boyfriend laughed at me, and referred to what was affectionately called a 'monkey dance' as I tried to get out of the thing, he also TIMED me. Bless him. At the moment, at least 3 minutes of the triathlon is going to be taken up by me monkey dancing around and trying to get out of the wetsuit.

So, now I have an added difficulty. I have to get fit, get fast, and get used to taking off a wetsuit on my own. Great. And I haven't even begun my Christmas shopping yet.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

On with the show

Oh dear! Someone has sponsored me.

Well, actually, lots of people have sponsored me. Although quite why I am so surprised about this, when it is what I have asked people to do, I don't know. [See previous blog for details about what I am doing and the reasons why]

The results of this though are pretty darned clear. I had better actually get in to gear and do this thing.

So far my training has consisted of several Google searches about triathlon training programmes, which all assume you are already a competitive runner, cyclist or swimmer; being given some magazines by my aforementioned sporty friends; a chat with a champion duathlete who might take part in June "for a laugh"; and buying a new pair of trainers to not run around in.

Still, I feel like I have achieved something. Research is part of good preparation. Right?

This week in truth I stand little chance of getting any training done as I am directing the school show and will be in work every evening until late. After this I shall need a glass of wine, a bath and my bed. I have been informed that it is possible to run in the morning, but frankly that is absurd.  A friend has offered to run with me, and another to swim with me. I made some vague references about 'after Christmas' and dodged that rather well I think.

This having been said, I really will have to start doing something. My first aim is to be able to run 20 minutes without stopping and to swim 8 lengths. I will worry about cycling when it is not freezing cold and icy - I had a rather bad experience falling off my bike in May and it will take me some time to want to get back on it again.  I am aiming to be able to do the running in 1 month, when I have to go skiing in Switzerland with a bunch of skinny fabulous people.

Also, getting a message from Pauline, the (not so wicked) step-mum of one of my greatest friends Claire, reminded me why I am doing this. When I was at school, Claire's sister Laura, who died from Leukaemia and in whose memory I will be racing, found it funny I was doing a triathlon. In fact, I think she and others laughed at me for a week before and afterwards! Laura would have appreciated the sentiment though. Every morning I must remind myself that I am racing for Sue and Laura, who were taken too soon, and who are missed by so many of us. Anything I can do to raise money to help fight Breast Cancer and Leukaemia will be worth it in the end.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Once upon a time...

As I only entered the Blenheim Triathlon yesterday, and I have 6 months to get fit, I have not actually started training yet - why would I? No. It was cold and raining this morning. I didn't want to put myself off training before I actually began. As a result I have very little of interest to say about triathlon training. Instead I shall tell the story of how this madness came about.

Once upon a time I fell in love with a man. This man is sporty and active. He spends his life gadding about like a puppy. He runs, he surfs, he skis, he plays hockey... you get the picture. Content to sit on the sidelines like a dutiful girlfriend, I cheer and gasp. I spend freezing afternoons shouting "Well in!".

Then, as is expected, I introduced my man to my friends. Actually, I introduced my sporty, triathlon running man to my sporty, interested friends and before long.. they are all in to this triathlon thing. So now, if I want to spend quality time with them, I have to watch them swim, bike and run in various locations across the British Isles. I hold the bags and do the motivational shouting. I have never, ever participated...

One night, in a bar somewhere, I was asked if I ever wanted to do a triathlon. "Look at me!" I scoffed "Do I look like an athlete?" Then came the fatal moment. I was reminded that, at one point, I had in fact completed a triathlon. Long before my sporty friends were marathon runners and triathletes, when I was Games Captain of all things, I did a triathlon... and it didn't actually kill me.

A seed was planted. One triathlon every 15 years won't hurt me, will it? I could be part of the crowd. Oh, and I could do it for charity. That would make sure I went through with it and didn't wimp out. If people sponsored me, I could hardly change my mind. And one little triathlon would be quite nice. There I would be, in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, a World Heritage Site, jogging along, smiling, people would cheer me... the seed grew into an idea, the idea in to an intention and then, like a mad person, I signed up and paid the entry fee.

I'm in. I'm going to do it. And what's more, I'm going to prove to myself that I can be sporty if I want to. Perhaps I had better get up and go running, even when it is raining?

Breakthough Breast Cancer

Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research