This is my first report for a very long time. Going back just a few years, it seems I was writing reports almost weekly. In fact I remember 2011, completing 27 events, most of which were reported but life, as they say has a habit of getting in the way. I had always assumed that retirement would usher in a golden age of fitness and competition. I would suggest to anyone thinking along those lines to think again and just get on with stuff now because you simply don’t know what is round the corner.
OK, I spent most of last year caring for ailing and dying parents and dealing with a couple of health issues of my own. Like they say, you don’t know that you are down until you are actually on the floor. Fortunately I have a wonderful wife and thanks to this club, a number of very special people who helped me through it. I maintain that the best friends are those that you share stuff with and in our case, it is going out and getting muddy, sweaty and trying things which we had never thought possible (Ironman swim, moi?), encouraging when things get a bit much and pushing each other when we know we are doubting ourselves, above all, making sure each of us is safe. And when it is all over, relaxing and sharing together. That is what this club nurtures and why I am so very very thankful that Alison and I stumbled upon it.
So, that is the back story to the past year – context. Anyway, this is a race report, sort of.
With Alison’s encouragement, I have got myself off the sofa and competed in three events so far this year – more than the whole of last year already. The Uckfield in April which is always an easy way back from illness etc, super friendly and over very quickly. Mid Sussex – we have done this about 8 times but never an aquabike. It’s great, you can just leave it all over the road (effort that is) and this year strangely, my best ever swim time at this event! Lastly, this morning, the Sussex Tri. I love this event. Nothing to do with the fact that I have been an AG winner of course.
I had few expectations , I mean really. The swim is 750m in a reedy lake – love reeds, weeds and mud. In fact anything dodgy underfoot and I am 5 years old again. Anyway, I usually count on being able to beat the breast strokers. I am also prepared to be swum over. Stuff happens when you are my speed and insist on starting at the front. Unfortunately this time, I got a good kicking and inhaled quite a lot of lake. By the time I surfaced and the boat escort were satisfied that I was actually making forward progress, even the breast strokers had frog- swum into the distance. I had the lake and my kayak escort to myself (as usual). I hate it. They sit there on your breathing side (sorry Coach, sorry Hildi), a constant reminder each time you draw breath, that they are there for you and you alone, the slowest, the last. Seems that this year the field were quick. My swim time was actually less slow than my 2017 time. Yay, me.
The bike was good – love my bike (love the new bike even more). Conditions not great but a good ride and moved up about a dozen places. The run, well. I used to be half decent. Now I’m dragging an extra 4kg on flaccid legs. EVERYONE overtook me. But again – fast field.
It’s always good to reflect on past glories because sometimes results reveal that you are not as crap as you thought you might be. In 2017 I was 4 months into preparing ( I wouldn’t dignify what I did by calling it “training” ) for IM Sweden. In fact the times were pretty much the same. You can draw whatever conclusions you like from that.
Well – as they say “I’m back”. For how long, we just don’t know but I commend you to the advice given by The Specials all those years ago.
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink. Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.
Thanks for reading this far, Pete.