Saturday morning was a parkrun morning. We've not done a parkrun in ages so it was a bit of a change for us. Our local course had changed twice since we last went, and has become slower, so no chance of a PB. Given we actually (shock, horror) had a free morning, we decided to jog the two miles up to the start as well. For me, this was a sluggish, stress-ridden run followed by a very slow parkrun. The bottlenecks on the new course didn't even bother me that much! But with 5 miles under our belts we wandered home in the sunshine feeling virtuous.
Next on the agenda was Swimathon on Saturday afternoon. This was to be my third time taking part in Swimathon, having increased my distance on each occasion from 1.5km up to 5km this year; far further than I need to be able to swim for the triathlon and a challenge in it's own right but useful nonetheless for confidence building. I'd been on BBC Radio Berkshire (listen from 41:40) the day before having a bit of a chat about it and was somewhat nervous. It was to be the first time I'd ever swum the distance, having only gone up to 4000m in training. Dean had covered the distance before but not this year. Both of us had swimming lessons as adults and Swimathon is a great motivator for keeping up with our swimming and improving our technique, I cannot recommend it enough as a life skill. Our pool was Bracknell Leisure Centre. We duly arrived at 2:30(ish) for a 3pm start and were surprised to find the car park almost empty. Previous years had been much busier and more atmospheric with music and spectators. We took to our lane with two other swimmers and started our swim finishing just a little over 2 hours later. I can't fault the staff or the facilities, but it did feel a little lack luster this year, perhaps as it was a much longer time in the pool than before. Still, medals earned and confidence boosted.
Last but by no means least was the cycle. I'm not a cyclist. I've never considered myself as one nor found an affinity with the bike before. I envy those who go out and do long rides on Sundays... and suddenly here I was, off to do a long ride on a Sunday! I'd been encouraged to sign up to a Sportive as a way to ensure I didn't duck out of the cycling. I'd done a couple of short outdoor rides early in the year and since then, steadily built up time in the saddle on gym bikes. I'd tried rollers but not managed to progress past hanging on for dear life to the back of the dining chair, and I'd stubbornly ignored Dean's attempt to get me suing cleats by fitting clip in pedals on my bike so it was only the weekend before the event that I took the plunge and actually went out for a ride using them. And I didn't fall off - result!
So Sunday rolled around and we headed down to the New Forest with both bikes stuffed in the back of the car, enough snacks to feed a small army and my nerves jangling so loudly it was a struggle to hear the radio. And it wasn't just the clip in pedals that were making me nervous. When we'd signed up the standard distance was listed as 50 miles. Two weeks prior to the event I discover it's been increased to 66 miles. But that's only 16 miles more, I hear you cry. Ah yes, but I'd only managed to get up to 40 miles in training. An extra 10 miles on top of that is quite manageable in my head but a jump of 26 miles... something quite different.
|Feeling like a plonker|
|Spoilt for choice|
|There are tears behind those glasses|
Do you use events as part of your training plan?