After couple of years thinking about it, I realised there never will be a right time for me to do an IM – life is busy, excuses are formed, priorities change. There was an IM buzz about the club this autumn with so many signing up for IM Barcelona in October 2017, but I knew that that was not the race for me. As my brother had done the year before, I entered the Challenge Roth lottery on December 6th leaving a start line place to fate. When I didn’t get one the disappointment sent me back looking. The ideal course for me would have a sea swim, a not too hilly bike and a flatish run. I also wanted it done by August so I could enjoy some of the summer. While the big races do sell out a year in advance, I realised I could get a place in IM Frankfurt through Nirvana, it ticked enough of the boxes and I decided this was the one for me. It was my husband who said, just go for it – although I am not sure he realises he won’t be golfing before July 9th.
I don’t have a sporty background (20 years a smoker with no involvement in any sport), but since crossing the line in my first Sprint in 2009 I have loved triathlon, setting new targets and ambitions every year. When I was younger I had always thought you had to be good or win to enjoy something – who knew mediocrity was so enjoyable? In my 7 year triathlon career I have done 7 Half IM (Mallorca x 2, Lisbon, Salou, Kenmare x 3) none which were spectacular, but all of which I finished and enjoyed. Before deciding on a Long distance event, I was doing 5-7 training sessions a week anyway. A mini challenge I set myself was to do something every day in December. This proved a mental battle and I made myself run before work or in the evenings after 8 – something I had never done before. With the good weather over the Christmas holidays, my streak kept going until December 27th, when a few days away with the family took priority.
I want to do this without it taking over my life and to paraphrase Chrissie Wellington in a recent interview, to do the best I can, within the context of my life.
December 2016 training summary:
New Year’s Day was a Sunday, most of the world was still in bed but I headed for the Parkway for the Club spin, my birthday celebration and a positive start to the year (10 of us did a 55km spin). I started to let people know I was doing IM and planning what I needed to do. The other LTC guys going to Frankfurt (Keith, Ken, Philip and Mike Q) added me to their Whats App group, and the banter began.
There’s a wealth of IM experience and encouragement in the club. There’s also advice from every angle, whether you ask for it or no, so I think it’s important to be able to filter it. Everyone is different, as is every coach and training plan.
I continued my base training using the Don Fink plan and had 3 consistent weeks before a week away. My swimming is fine, it’s time in the saddle and on my feet that’s need. Learning to pull back to a lower heart rate is harder than it sounds and I have started to really enjoy sessions on the Wattbike in the gym (although I hate the Turbo). My other priority it to eat well – to me there’s no point in training hard and eating badly. At 72kg, dropping a few kilos would be nice, but I am guessing I could be the first person ever to train for IM and put on weight!
January 2017 training summary:
(Ski data skews the monthly training stats, but it was still aerobic exercise)
Non triathletes ask me :
My week’s holidays turned into 10 days off swim/bike/run, but I came back to it raring to go. The general outline is Monday off, Tuesday – Friday has 2 swims, 1 bike, 1 brick and 2 runs. Saturday is a long bike and Sunday long run. Not forgetting some Pilates. The part I hadn’t expected is the time it takes to get organised for kit and food the night before, especially on double training days.
Struggling to make myself go out the door on a recent wet evening, I got a pep talk from my 10 year old son: ‘Mom, do you want to be an Ironman?…….. then just go’. Between the support at home, the club and the ‘Frankfurters’, it’s been fun so far and I am not as exhausted or daunted as I imagined I would be.
February 2017 training summary:
4 solid weeks of training done, and now the build phase begins.
To be continued…….