So this is a day late yet again – but in my defence, Rest Day Monday demands either the pub or the cinema, and this week I managed to do both (Winter’s Bone and Fargo – very suitable given the weather). Which meant not managing to do my weekly writing and yes, I did consider just leaving it for another week. But following impatient cries from my rabid fans…Oh, FINE. Following a tweeted reminder from Rowena (who writes a great blog on her tri-training experiences over at Running for people who don’t and who provides endless support on the training front via twitter) I decided not to disappoint.
But what to write about? I’m going to go ahead and work with my beloved bullet points for this one.
- Speed, ability, whatever… I wrote a week or so ago about how proud I was for shaving ten minutes off a half marathon time, and I say over and over again that I’m not quick. But I think people often think I’m exaggerating out of some false sense of modesty. I’m really not. I can barely cover 5k in half an hour. I am always proud to finish a race. I am basically a not-quick person and that is partly due to my physical make-up (I’m hefty; I lack any decent number of fast twitch fibres) and partly lack of any real self-belief (which is improving). But I annoy the hell out of myself when people ask about my times and I shrug and say that I’m slow so perkily. It sounds as though I’m proud of it when I’m really not. I’m proud of finishing. I’m forever intimidated by cut-off times and pleased to beat them. But I’m not actually pleased to be in the last ten of a race, you know, and I am actively embarrassed to share my times when (random example) a particularly good athlete, who is representing the IOM at the Island Games and who I used to go to school with, pops up on a medal picture from my first tri and asks what times I’m doing.
- Splishsplashsplosh … this past week I covered my longest-ever swimming distance so far (4k) which is due to be the standard distance for my swimming sessions for the next few months, I think. I’ll be honest – I didn’t stick to the laid-out length and recovery plan. I just wanted to cover the distance and worry about that stuff later. It wasn’t a quick session (two hours – kicking was involved and I can’t use my fins in the council pool and [more excuses here]) but swimming, comparatively speaking, is my fastest discipline. I really enjoy it, but I don’t know anyone else who does. Which is a shame, because it’s boring doing it by myself. And yes, I know, join a tri club etc etc. Technically I have. I just haven’t worked up the nerve to go to a meet yet.
- Support … I’m so used to having a substantial part of my brain thinking about training and practicalities that I had forgotten that, really, this race is only important to me. No one else (by which I mean, in real life) actually cares that I’m doing this. Most folks aren’t really aware what a half ironman is. Last year, when I was doing the marathon, people were always impressed and asking about it. Say you’re doing a half ironman (or even an ironman), though, and they kind of shrug and say, ‘Well, I don’t really know what that is’. And if you explain, it’s similar to when you reach the point of too many zeros on a sum of money. It stops mattering. The distance is so far that the sheer length doesn’t really register unless you’re actually trying to cover it. Anyway. I have, amid the training, and the thinking, and the funk that continues to hover, been quite crap at staying on top of basic domestic duties and was pulled up for that over the weekend. This area of annoyance is a fair thing to, well, be annoyed about (it’s late and I can’t be bothered to reconstruct this sentence) and yes, I am making an effort to get up earlier and do more household stuff. But to some extent I feel as though I’ve lost support for doing this – that if my partner can’t understand just how much more important to me training is than doing the washing up, he’s never really going to understand just what an undertaking this is – especially for non-athletic, snails-pace me. Which makes me feel quite lonely. Which brings me back full loop to the woman who pushed me into writing this entry. Social media is a fucking life saver. To be able to log on to Twitter and share gripes about the cold, and chafing, and how difficult it is to change a tyre and try and fit life around training with other women who have been here or are here, and are just as nervous and who (frankly) have way more to deal with in their lives than I do (children, anyone?) is keeping me sane.