First of all, apologies for the slightly low-brow title of this blog, but it just worked too well to ignore don’t you think?
So after the shocker at Wandlebury a couple of weeks ago, Alan and I teamed up this lunchtime along with Mary for a 6 x 400m session. That number of laps is one that I find easy enough to consider in my mind without freaking out, which shows that Alan is getting extremely good at understanding my mental limitations. If he had told me 8 laps I would have started the session feeling a sense of panic and looking much like this:
There was a sense of foreboding over the track when I arrived thanks to an epic black cloud and a general feeling that my mojo was completely AWOL. But it’s extremely hard to be negative when you’re in the company of Alan and Mary, especially when Alan turns up in his neon green Hoohaah hoodie that he earned for doing all three of their 10ks this summer (BHA*).
After our usual long warm up (Alan is NOT a fan of rushing this) Mary and I tackled the laps with a 4 minute rest inbetween on a staggered basis with Mary shooting off first and me following when she hit the 200m mark. Thanks to Alan having an (ahem) senior moment with the tech, I don’t know how quickly I did the first lap but I managed the 2nd one in 79 seconds, and the next two in 78 seconds. I’ve never gone under 80 seconds before, and quite honestly I was gobsmacked. When Alan and I first started training together I was doing 400m in 88/89/90 seconds so to see an obvious improvement is SUCH a lift. I then got a bit of a bollocking when I said I was going to take the next one a bit easier so I could really smash out the 6th. Mary then came out with a slice of gold. Here’s how the conversation went:
Mary: Don’t think about the 6th lap, think about the one you’re doing now. Live in the moment.
Me: Really? Why?
Mary: Because you might die on the 5th one.
Seriously, I’m going to start a little notebook called Mary’s Mantras that I can refer to whenever I feel like I’m struggling with my mental toughness. She’s got a knack for saying the right thing to me at the right time (and I’m finally starting to listen).
I’m not sure what I ended up doing the 5th lap in but the last one was 80 seconds. Whilst it’s frustrating to have not managed that one in under 80 I feel like I truly gave that session everything I had and that my pacing was solid. My legs were absolutely toast, and even if the last one had come in at 85 seconds I still would have been so utterly delighted to have not let my head get the better of me this time. So whilst physically I felt like this:
Mentally I felt like this:
Alan texted me afterwards and said “you’re learning to trust.” Whether me meant trusting him or trusting in my ability I’m not sure. I think probably both.
And now on to part two of the title of this blog post. I have my first ever sprint triathlon on Sunday, and today it properly hit me that it’s nearly here. Yes I cycle to work every day and can smash out a 5k in under 22 minutes, but I’ve never done them straight after the other and I certainly haven’t done a swim before either of them. As you’ll know from a previous post swimming has never been my forte but I suppose it’s a good thing that I get that bit out of the way first. And luckily, serial triathlon and duathlon warrior Mary gave me a few tips today which made me feel slightly more prepared, and my best friend Michelle is letting me borrow her insane tri bike which is equal parts awesome and terrifying.
Obviously I’ll post a blog after the event, but if you’re in Ely early on Sunday morning please come and cheer me on. I’ll be one with her number belt on backwards, wearing one trainer and looking like this:*Before Heart Attack