For a few weeks now, I’ve been having an itch to enter a triathlon. And not any old triathlon…I want to enter the mother of all triathlons, the Ironman. Ridiculous I know, but also inevitable considering my slightly obsessive personality and love of a challenge. Whilst Jess’ dream was always to complete a 100 mile ultra-marathon (which she did) my sights have always been set on the Ironman, a triathlon made up of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run to finish it off. Inspired by my Ironman uncle (who we interviewed here), the thought that I might one day enter this event has been lingering at the back of my mind for a few years, and unexpectedly reared its head over the last couple of weeks. As a novice triathlete I know that this dream is far-fetched and perhaps a little ridiculous, but that’s what makes it a challenge – if it wasn’t difficult, then it wouldn’t have the reputation for being one of the world’s hardest endurance events. Reading Chrissie Wellington’s incredible autobiography, ‘Life Without Limits’ has completely inspired me and has made me realise that with a bit of grit and a lot of training, anything is possible (as my uncle Adrian below proved.)
Right now, I know that my Ironman dream is a long way off, but I’ve decided to begin the journey with smaller events to see if it’s a realistic goal, or something I’ll just have to let go (like my completely unfounded desire to be a ballet dancer.) I’ve been lucky in the past that I’ve been able to complete events with sub-standard training, but I know that Ironman takes no prisoners. This kind of distance requires serious dedication in the months/years leading up to it, and it’s a commitment I know I’d need to consider carefully before hitting the ‘submit’ button. So, to see how I adapt to training and its inherent commitments, I’ve entered 3 events over the course of the summer: the sprint distance event at the Diamond Triathlon on 14th August; the olympic distance at Hever Castle Triathlon on 24th September; and the London Duathlon on 18th September.
At the moment, I’m not too worried about the running, with improving my swimming technique and confidence on the bike being my greatest concern. To help tackle these areas, I’ve joined a triathlon club which runs weekly run, cycle and swim sessions, which I’m hoping to start next week. However, I might need to sort out some unresolved issues with my bike before I join a group cycle. Let’s just say, my road bike and I got off to shaky start and since then our relationship has soured slightly Currently, it’s stashed in Jess’ shed waiting for me to pluck up the confidence to give it another go. I’ll be taking my bike (by train, not road) to Richmond Park to gradually build up my confidence and hopefully I can learn to love the bike. Without gaining confidence on wheels, Ironman really is totally out of the question, so I think it’s better I find out sooner rather than later.
From next week, I’ll be posting regular updates about my training and progress. If any triathletes out there have any advice for a novice like me, it would be great to hear from you!