Update June 2014 – The Highs & Lows

Where to begin?

Injuries, victories, defeats and utter failures. Misery, excitement, euphoria and deflation. Since starting the training events beginning with the London Marathon earlier this year I have passed through all of these phases, some more than once. These are the highs and lows that I am now becoming accustomed to. I never thought the road to #7days7irons was going to be easy. I knew it was going to test me and I knew that some of the events, at least at the start, would be beyond me or, at best, a massive stretch.

In my worst moments I ignored my own strategy and so struggled through the London Marathon, I broke my toes after just 15k into a 24 hour endurance run and I bailed out of a 104 mile bike ride due to injury.

20140422-140230.jpgIn my best moments I crossed the finish line of the London Marathon. I ran 90k in a 24 hour endurance event, 75k of that was on broken toes and I cycled 75 miles, the longest distance for over 20 years.

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What’s that about every cloud having a silver lining?

One of the main themes of all of my events so far is injury and whilst it would have been difficult to avoid breaking my toes the other injuries were probably avoidable. I considered that may be I had been overtraining and that I had worn myself out, limbs and muscles need to recover don’t they? But then, after speaking to my wife, Laura (biggest fan and right about most things) it became more obvious that I hadn’t been training enough. The more I think about it I think it’s not just volume either, it’s quality.

I’ve always been an advocate of getting out and running, no big plans, no complicated sets, reps, shuttles, intervals or fartleks but just running. Same with swimming and cycling. I figured that the more I did the better I would get. If I wasn’t doing #7days7irons I would still be confident that this strategy would generally work. But as I experience more and more about the distances that I’m looking to cover in the times I need to cover them I realise I need to shift things up a gear and to change the type of training I do.

When I set out to do the #7days7irons challenge and put together the basics I decided, quite adamantly that I wanted to do it
alone. In fact this formed the basis, it was, in itself the catalyst. I wanted to prove that in my late 30’s with no athletic experience, a recent ex-smoker, back-op recoverer and all round unhealthy layabout, I could motivate, train and push myself to an seemingly impossible physical challenge. I know the challenge itself can be done but perhaps I was naive to think I could do it without some input from others more knowledgeable than me.

This brings me back to that cloud with its silver lining.

When I realised I could not do this by myself it disappointed me more than most of my poor performances. I felt like I had failed, that I had let go of something I really believed in, really wanted. And I knew that once I involved others then it wouldn’t be my vision anymore, it wouldn’t be my victory.

But now I hope to find enjoyment involving others, listening to and being motivated by those who know more than I do (that’s just about everyone) about running, swimming and cycling. I want to take on board good advice and use it to get stronger and quicker so that I can succeed in the Summer of 2015. Then it will be a victory to be shared and that must be better than a lonely victory.

So it is with excitement and positivity that I went alon to North Shields Poly Athletics club last week.

I’m lucky enough to know some of the members already so was made to feel very welcome. I got stuck in and loved it…really loved it. I’m looking forward to getting back there very soon and to seek out those involved in Triathlon too.

It’s time for me to be told what to do for a change!

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