Do as I say, not as I do

Having just completed my first Triathlon, albeit a sprint version, I have refound my love of exercise. Yes, I am completely aware of what I said. I enjoy putting myself and my body pain.

It started a couple of weeks ago, we were visiting friends and enjoying an afternoon BBQ. My friend mentioned he was planning on doing his first triathlon in a few weeks time. Before I knew it, I received a text message asking for my full name, date of birth and rather worryingly my next of kin. 

How hard could this be? 400m swim, 33km cycle and a 5km run. I was confident that I could complete all three individually, so it was surely just a matter of putting them all together.

I used to run a fair bit. The fact that I stopped running because my knees would swell due to my  man running down a pathrheumatoid arthritis had escaped my thoughts. In turn the fact I used to swim at a relatively high level in my teens was at the forefront of my mind and I had clearly chosen to forget that I was now in my mid 40’s and not particularly swam much since. Oh, I also don’t own a bike!

How long did I have to prepare for this? 

In short, less than a week. 

I hastily borrowed a bike and managed two 15km bike rides, together with a 4km run and before I knew it, race day was upon us.

As I  listened carefully to the rules and regulations being given by the organisers on the poolside prior to my wave of entrants starting, it dawned on me how tough this was going to be and how unprepared I actually was. While the majority of those around me wore tri-suits, looked fit and came prepared with goggles. I, in contrast stood there looking nervous, wearing a pair of knee length swimming shorts and was twitching around nervously. 

The event itself started with the swim element at a city centre leisure centre, the ride would take us out of the city and followed a beautiful countryside route, passing several lovely looking country pubs before looping around back to the city and the leisure centre. For the final part. The run would take us along a  road before turning onto a parkland path to the midway point and back along the same route to the finish, at the leisure centre it all started at.

As I crossed the line about two minutes behind my friend, I distinctly recall saying

“that is the hardest thing I have ever done”

However, a few minutes later as my body started to recover, a weird thing happened. I was buzzing, high from life. I genuinely felt brilliant. To coin a phrase…….. I felt alive.

I had done it! As it turns out I didn’t do that bad either. My final time was 2hr 18mins. With splits of 11min 33sec for the swim. 1hr 28min for the ride and 31min for the run. This put me 108 position out of 300 entrants. Not bad for someone who didn’t train and is considered by the organisers to be in the mature age group (not far in age to be classed a vetran).

It was during another BBQ at my friends house, while enjoying a post race beer it was decided that not only did we both enjoy it, but we would enter another one. Only this time we will train properly. 

I have learnt several things over the course of this. 

You are not too old to start exercising, the body may ache but the feeling of exhilaration is still about. 

Exercise is great. Not only does it help keep you fit and healthy. It also gives you a buzz of excitement and a sense of achievement. It is also great for your own mental health. I recommend that everyone should give it a go. But, unlike me. Give yourself time to prepare and train beforehand. You will enjoy it a lot more. 

And finally……

BBQ’s  at a particular friends house, always seem to end in me agreeing to do something out of the ordinary.

If you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and watch this space for the next update on my new found hobby and triathlon adventures. 


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