Ok so the title probably makes this sound like more of a comeback than it actually is. The truth is, I used to race a little bit (triathlon that is) but for whatever the reason I haven’t done anything of the multi sport type in five years.
How it all began
I initially got into triathlon because, coming from the Isle of Wight I grew up surfing. The one problem with surfing in the UK is that typically there isn’t much surf, and it was during this period that I would twiddle my fingers a bit. So being a handy runner, having an unhealthy love for cycling and spending half my life in the sea, triathlon kind of made sense.
Anyway jump forward five years and it’s not like I have just sat on the sofa all that time and am making a comeback true underdog style, I just moved away from the Isle of wight after Uni and enjoyed riding my bike more than running and swimming.
Right so, all you triathletes will be like “why ever leave?” and all the cyclists will be like, “why return?”. The truth is, I’m a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none when it comes to sport, so I was more competitive in triathlon than any singular sport. I also love the variety of training, as whilst I love sticking 100+ miles a week in on the bike, it can get a little “samey”, especially in winter. So here I am, making a comeback of sorts.
Deva triathlon, Chester
The first race of the comeback is the formidable Deva Triathlon in our hometown of Chester. It’s Olympic distance, which is my preferred length truth be told. Now, I signed up for this a few months back and had a good base level of fitness so this isn’t exactly out of the blue or anything. The first challenge was putting the running shoes back on. It had honestly been verging on 6 months since I had even looked a them, so as most of you cyclists that have attempted to run will know, the first run hurts like hell.
Now, when you’re out it’s not that bad, your lungs are like “hey this is easy what’s all the fuss about” but your legs are letting you know what the fuss is about. For me, it’s the leg speed that’s really hard to get back and takes time, not to mention being a forefoot runner and the calf burn.
Then comes the DOMS about 24 hours later, and it’s hard to even climb the stairs. The reason for this is running and cycling use two completely different muscle contractions, so by only cycling for a couple of years, your legs adapt to cycling and forget what running even is, so you have to effectively start from scratch. Thankfully, this was all done and dusted months ago, and I have been steadily mixing at least one run per week into my training which is predominantly bike based to be honest, but what do you expect.
Leaving the not so best until last
So the bike takes care of itself if I’m honest, it always has and always will. 40km (25 miles) is the sort of distance you debate is even worth going out for as a cyclist, so this isn’t intimidating at all. Then comes the run, and I’ve pounded out enough miles to get me home on the day. The one leg that I have never and I mean never, put in enough training for, is the swim. It’s been 3 years since I have even dipped a toe in a swimming pool so you would have thought I would be more worried than I was/am/should be.
Add to this all the upper body atrophy that comes with cycling and I am no longer intended to go fast in water. I have a couple of anchors in the form of legs and a nice set of noodle arms that are supposed to be propelling me forward. Oh well, better get in a pool right? Nope, let’s leave it until last as always and hope for the best on the day, or at least hope for no rainfall in the week prior to the race, or I might not even get upstream. Hey ho, 4 swims in and 1 to go, oh and that’s the race.
So that’s it, the race is on Sunday and I’m as prepared as I could be, but not as prepared as I could have been. Note to self, swim more before the 1/2 iron man, oh did I not mention that’s next.