Getting back to it! In my last blog I was full of my tales of woe, injury and illness repeatedly setting me back from my training goals. But things are definitely on the up! My last FTP test and my power was back to where it was, of course it would be nice to be in a better position than where I started, but now that I’m trying to train for 3 sports rather than 1 I’ll take it!
No one would ever tell you it’s easy trying to train for an Ironman while also holding down a full time job and trying to maintain something that resembles a social life. So efficiency of training is key. I’m managing to fit in around 2 hours of training a day during the week, the weather keeps messing with my weekend ride plans (I’m sure I moved to the south of France for the sunshine, it’s been conspicuous in its absence of late, at least at the weekends) so there’s been some weekend turbo based brick sessions and swims that aren’t the most fun, but it’s getting the job done. Fuelling all of this is absolutely critical, and I’ve been experimenting with the timing of my meals and snacks throughout the day to make sure I’m getting enough food in to fuel and recover from sessions without wanting to be sick while I’m training. For some reason swimming makes me starving, while cycling and running have the opposite effect, but I put my trust in Supersapiens to tell me whether I am in that purely mentally hungry post workout state but actually the body is well stocked with energy or when it’s time to get some extra calories in.
A couple of months back Skye Moench talked to us about controlling the controllable, focussing on the things you can do on any given day. As the Ironman has gotten closer and I’ve felt more and more physically ready the issue playing on my mind has been how mentally unready I feel because of the uncontrollable. This time last year I could not swim, was very scared of the water, and fish, so Ironman really did seem like a stupid goal. And Nice is a sea swim. I live in Nice, and run and ride along the prom, so most days I see the changing condition of the sea and know that on those lucky mornings it can be pan flat, in the afternoons it can be crashing into the rocks with such force that they close some of the beaches, and there is no real predictability of the conditions throughout the year.
The uncontrollable factor of the sea conditions, particularly when the Ironman Nice swim course is more or less straight out to sea and back again, has been playing on my mind. On my long run yesterday I was watching the sea and thinking to myself that if it wasn’t a sea swim I think I could make it to the Ironman finish tomorrow. Not fast and not pretty, but I could do it. So why did I sign up for a sea swim? Truthfully I never even considered which event I should sign up for. I watched the finish of the event in Nice last September and decided to sign up, without ever having swum in the sea, without even being able to swim 100m in a pool. And it didn’t occur to me that not all events are the same, or to even look at any others. But now, with some encouragement from my friends that it is not a sign of failure to do so, I am looking at whether I can compete in a lake or river swim event.
But BEFORE the Nice event. Because I know that I am ready, I have done the work, I have pushed myself, there have been tears and fears and doubts and I am here. Completing the event is enough of a challenge for anyone, and for someone who could not swim in September even more so. I don’t want to postpone the challenge, I have worked too hard, but it’s possible for me to move the start line to the banks of a lake or a river. For a novice swimmer, 1km out to sea in potentially challenging conditions is a lot. So stay tuned, the Ironman might be sooner than I had planned. I’m taking control of the controllable and saying “I can do this”, thanks Skye!