Sunday, 8 January 2012

That was the year that was...not?


Nearly eight months since my last post. Hmm..'last post'. Kinda the appropriate theme tune to the Lanzarote Ironman. Failure: whatever the reasons, whatever fate threw up for me last year, it was still failure. I can deal with failure; it holds no fear for me. I've been to some very low places-some out of my physical control, which allows me to step back and view that 'bigger picture' which is always a sobering, grounding perspective. Less than three hours after being pretty much unconscious at the top of Lanzarote, my baby boy was sitting on my knee, unaware of the thumping headache(and sorry-arsed heartache at not achieving a dream) telling me that "it's alright, Daddy" and being interested only in what I can entertain him with, and what fun things we could do next. In an instant, the Ironman dream mattered not one li'l bit. I simply could NOT wallow in any self pity. I did go out and complete the bike course 5days later, just to get it done..but...MOVE ON!!

But only for a while, OK??? It is most definitely an itch that not only needs scratching, but needs ongoing attention. I have the long distance bug, regardless if I'm built/conditioned for it or not. I have not been scared off, I'm not full of 'revenge', more like...I have a reborn desire to improve on myself; to learn my life-limits in training, understand more the importance of preparation, and carry out a race plan that I know will work.

I didn't waste much time in toeing the line again, the Nokia Windsor Olympic distance Triathlon was only three weeks after the big day on Lanza, and as a first time participant, and wounded warrior, the goal was simple: enjoy the race. Go through the motions, soak up the atmosphere, love the Tri life again. It went great; lazy but not too shabby swim, smooth bike, and a decent run, in awful conditions. Loved it, and I was happy with my performance. Two weeks later I had a big day out planned: 154miles of Flatout in the Fens with my work pal Al. I went into it never having gone further than 95miles on a bike. WOWSERS, what a day; mental barriers broken through, back pain suffered and dealt with, a friendship built upon, a big deal done.
The end of July brought my next BIG goal: going under 02:30 for Olympic distance at the Virgin Active London triathlon. I was firing on all cylinders in the week preceding this race, and I mean really firing; flying for me, but still with that 'in reserve' feeling. Two days before the race was Fletcher's 3rd birthday and I spent the morning on the floor playing with him and his new toys. Great..or at least it would have been if I had done my stretching properly for my back issues that week. 'POP' went the lower vertebrae. Agony ensued, and the race was a painful mess of lop-sided swimming, super-fast biking on aerobars(comfy in a doubled over position), and a painful, wonky run. I finished 56secs outside of my goal. I feel sure I lost at least 3/4mins thru painful, uncomfortable racing. Gutted. MOVE ON!!

I got wind of a chance to race the Vitruvian on September 3rd from my twitter pal Jon, and jumped at it. I wanted I guess, to prove to myself I could put together a raceplan, stick to it and finish comfortably. I did. It went smooth as can be, not as fast as I could have been, but quick still, for me; an improvement of 50mins on my previous middle distance race, and I felt in total control throughout. I can't really say how happy/relieved I felt at this result. It was a confirmation of what I thought I could do. I got the chance to say hi to Twitter pals Claire and Corinne, and wave back at Sally(who I didn't know was racing but guessed it was her, lol) and had 2 guys, Ian and Kev I know from home racing to gee me on on the run too. A very good day at the office.
I entered the Brighton Marina tri on a whim, at the end of Sep, with the aim to have fun, in front of my boy, Ma n Pa, flew around with a smile on my face and somehow crossed the line 33rd out of 126 finishers. Nice curtain call.

So that was the racing.
That was the year that was NOT the year I became an Ironman. Or went under 02:30 for OD.

It was also the year that was NOT the year I cemented the relationship I went into it with. Irritations and small differences in personalities ate away at me there. It was also NOT the year I rekindled a relationship with Fletcher's mum and made a little utopian lifestyle for me/us/my boy. But in all honesty, I am glad we can both move on, still on good terms, and find our own personal happiness however we can. It wasn't to be; life was never made to be easy, or perfect. MOVE ON!!

It WAS the year that:
I conquered my second of the three high peaks of mainland Britain; Ben Nevis, on an epic ridge walk with the guys from work, who had put their trust in me to get them safely to the top of the Ben with an adventurous route thrown in for good measure. Cracking weekend.
I popped my 100mile cherry on the bike in style, a feat in itself considering my mangled back.
My relationship with my beautiful boy moved up a level as he has grown. It's like having a mini, extra special best mate with cuddles and kisses on tap!
I started a new relationship, thanks to a connection with two of my twitter/Facebook pals: Ally and Steve, that came out the blue but just 'works' and feels right. Very right. Didn't see that coming AT ALL, I'd contented myself with just doin my own thing for the foreseeable, but I'm in a very happy place with the wonderful Diane right now.
I committed to becoming a better athlete. I know that I have not even come anywhere near achieving what I should(not could) do, and it's time I started to correct that imbalance. I enjoy my racing but need to perform a bit better now.

Where are we now then??
Well..That was the week that was...

The first week of training for 2012. A year which has two main goals:

Virgin London Marathon in April, and being lighter, and leaner than my previous two Londons, I'm aiming for a trouble free build up for the first time and see how I can go. I am positive that my 04:34 will be obliterated.
The Outlaw Ironman distance Triathlon July 1st. This is THE focus of this year. I have already visualised this race over and over again. I WILL complete it, and complete it well. I WILL COMPLETE IT.

I have signed up to the Dailymile site, and hope..well know, that it will help with my focus and motivation for this year. There are lots of you guys from Twitter and Facebook on there that I already respect, and appreciate feedback from, and some new guys that have been introduced to me. I hope I can find the time to properly share your experiences this year, and do justice to the time you invest in motivating me.
I already have some fantastic support from old friends, colleagues, and new friends on my adventures, and hope that you will enjoy following my antics. It's gonna be a good year.


Leekyboy out :)