Day 83 – Honesty of Effort

Posted: March 26, 2012 in March
Tags: , , , , , ,

So today I had a physio appointment booked for after work to see whether I’d be able to race this weekend.I knew that doing the Wicklow Way trail was out of the question but I had some other options depending on how well healed up I was – either the Naas Duathlon (3.5km run, 20km cycle, 3.5km run) or the Lap of Laois charity cycle (60km). Before that though I called into McLoughlins Cycles as I’d spoken to Alison earlier in the week and she told me they’d have some lovely spanky new sponsored kit for me.

I’d seen some of the McLoughlins branded cycling gear in the shop and hoped mine would be the same as it looked great, primarily black (always the best colour) with white and red trim, so needless to say I was delighted when Alison presented me with the very same. She game me the cycling jersey to try on first, and then the matching shorts. Obviously I was delighted with those, but then to make things even better she gave me one of their trisuits as well. Due to the figure hugging, unforgiving nature of trisuits some of them can look a little gimpy at times, however I happen to think these ones look fantastic, all black with just a smattering of red lettering. Before I left the shop Alison sorted me out with some electrolyte drinks and arranged getting my bike in for a service as soon as it suited me. This really is fantastic. I’m being treated like a proper, legitimate athlete and I really can’t thank McLoughlins enough for their support.

After that it was up to the physio for a once over and, hopefully, a pre-race massage. Realtin was the physio looking after me tonight and after a quick chat and examination she was happy enough to let me race this weekend. She said my calf wasn’t an issue at all now, but my right hamstring was a slight cause for concern. As is often the case it appeared that it was actually my lower back that was the seat of the problem, rather than the hamstring itself. We agreed that I should book a session of deep tissue massage for my back for next week, and today’s session would just be a rub down to get me loose and relaxed in preparation for Sunday.

So having got all my fantastic new gear, and the all clear to race this weekend, I thought that today couldn’t get any better, and I was absolutely right. It didn’t. I went for a swim when I got back from Newbridge and as so often happens, I seemed be right back where I was before last Wednesday evening’s session with Mark. No matter what I tried to do I got to roughly the half way point in the pool and then I just stopped – either out of breath or out of momentum or out of pure frustration. After an incredibly irritating hour, filled with setbacks, I eventually gave up and went to sit in the steam room for a while, just to have a think and try to figure out what exactly was going wrong. After some consideration I realised that there were a number of things slowing/stopping my progress:

  1. Over analysing everything I do. In the coached sessions I have I just do whatever I’m told to do whenever I’m told to do it and without thinking. I have a really bad habbit of stopping when I think I’ve done or am doing something wrong but I don’t do that any more with Mark. I do the drill he tells me to, then let him tell me what (if anything) I’m doing wrong at the end of it.
  2. Constantly stopping feeds into the negative mindset I have about my swimming. It becomes a vicious circle where I think I’m doing something wrong, so I stop, get frustrated that I’ve stopped and/or am doing something wrong and and making no progress. This is on my mind when I start my next drill or length and so I become fixated on the things I’m doing wrong, causing me to do more things wrong.
  3. The spectre of a 3km swim constantly looming over me. No matter what I do during a solo session in the pool whenever things start to go awry my thoughts will invariably turn to attempting to swim 3km. That’s 3,000m. Right now I’m struggling to swim 30m. How the hell am I supposed to swim 100 times this distance, or to spell it out a little more starkly, another 2,970m. I’m going absolutely nowhere here so the best thing to do is cut my losses now, come back tomorrow/the next day/the day after that for a good long session and get really into it then. Well I’m sorry but the 2nd of June is really not too far away and here I am still nowhere near ready. In fact to say I’m nowhere near ready for that kind of swim would be to employ levels of understatement and obfuscation that would guarantee me instant election to any political post in this fair isle. The delusion has to stop here.

Now that I’ve actually admitted that to myself it feels as if a massive weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I’m still going to do TriAthy, just not the Double Olympic. I could do it, or start it at least, but it would be monumentally stupid of me, not to mention ridiculously irresponsible, as someone, somewhere along the way would have to pull me out of the Barrow. It’s not like doing a really long run where you could just gut it out and keep plodding or grinding along. No one ever drowned on tarmac for a start. Anyway, as I said, I’m still going to do TriAthy, and I’m still definitely going to go long before the end of the year. In fact I’ve started making some tentative plans. Before I set anything in stone however, or more importantly before I actually apply for anything, I’m going to have a good long talk with some people far more qualified than I, and I’m going to make a rational, logical assessment of just what is and isn’t possible.


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