Ready to go – If it stops raining.

I’m writing this whilst sat at the kitchen table with my head in my hands, metaphorically anyway. It’s a Spring morning – sunny, fresh and full of possibility. Well, not exactly. In fact the sky is that classic cloudy grey that we in Britain know so well, rain is pouring down with a vengeance and it’s blowing a gale. Suffice to say that the Sunday club run for which I had made an effort to return home for the weekend is not happening.

Last week I had begun to hope that winter might finally be showing signs of remission, my happy illusion has been well and truly shattered. Any thoughts of riding the summer bike have long since gone down the drain, it’s sitting indoors looking sorry for itself. I now face yet another long turbo session, Zwift might make it more bearable but I’d always much rather be out on the road. Oh how I envy those who live in warmer climates!

I’m convinced its one of the main reasons why Cycling has only recently taken off in the UK as a mainstream sport. Our weather has a nasty habit of playing havoc with riding plans, even in the height of summer it’s unusual to have a week without at least one day being rained off. Of course it could be worse, at least there is no longer snow and ice to contend with. Having been forced to cut down on volume this week, my legs are feeling fresh for the first time in a while.

When I have managed to get out in between showers, the PR’s have been coming thick and fast. I’m certainly not at my best yet but am hesitantly optimistic that it’s time to start competing again. I’ve entered a local TT in three weeks time, a hilly course that should suit me well. The thought of wearing a skin suit is doing a very good job of dissuading me from indulging too much on the food front. I’m grateful to finally have the chance to put my training into practice, numbers can only tell you so much – the best indicator of performance is performance itself.

Project Ironman has also taken another step. Having finally succeeded in organising my finances it was time to pay the entry fee for my first 70.3. Backing out is officially no longer an option, I’ve made a point to tell as many people as possible about my goal so as to further minimise chances of dropping out at the last minute. I’ve had my nose in the Triathletes Training Bible for the past few days. With only a few months to prepare, I’ll have to come up with a quality training program and follow it to the letter if I am to get round in one piece.

It’s the run that worries me the most. Like many aspiring triathletes I have what can be referred to as ‘glass feet’ – meaning I’m highly prone to injuries. Moving to a front foot strike is paying dividends, for the first time in my running history I can go more than a mile without incurring a protest from calves, ankles, knees or a combination of the above. However, one problem has now given way to another – spectacular blisters on the balls of my feet. A mere two miles is enough distance for these to flare up. I hope that running more regularly will be the solution, as they say “that which does not kill you makes you stronger” (though I can find fault in that philosophy, no shortage of examples to the contrary).

Like all Ironman events, it will begin with a swim in open water. Short of swimming in the mediterranean whilst on holiday, this isn’t something in which I have much experience (I dare say the English Channel in September will be very different). I enjoyed some modest success in the water as an under eleven but haven’t swum seriously since then. It’s going to be a race against time, getting myself fit enough to survive what I’m told is often the most treacherous stage of triathlon. I’m not expecting to post a competitive time in the water, hoping I’ll be-able to make up some of the lost time on the bike.

Having given the bike course a quick glance, it’s a nice one. Taking place on roads I regularly train on, with some good hills thrown into the mix. My TT bike isn’t the most aerodynamic but does happen to be lighter than most, likewise my strength as a rider is power to weight rather than absolute wattage. I’m hopeful of posting a decent bike split time (i.e. banking on it as a consolation prize when looking at what will probably be an abysmal overall result).

On that, I really had better stop procrastinating. Time to get my kit on, drag myself out to the garage and climb onto the dreaded turbo trainer once again. Onwards and upwards.

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