Fatdan’s back is back. Hooray. After an injury and work enforced lay off, I now feel confident enough to claim that I’m fixed and training properly again. Which is good because for the best part of the last three weeks I’ve been a royal pain in the arse. It wasn’t intentional, but it turns out that being unable to move and facing the prospect of watching the past ten months hard work disappear down the deep drain of despair turned me into a sulky, child. I’ve been moping around the house and have generally hated everything. Life couldn’t have possibly gotten any worse. Ever.
In the end, it turns out I missed a grand total of 2 days training, my weekly totals hitting 12 hours 30 hours instead of 16. Not being one for massive overreaction, I quietly dropped my petulant child act in the hope that no-one noticed and set about training with a renewed determination. It was a determination that was to last about 70km into that weekend’s long ride. It was at this stage, just shy of halfway, that Ben callously upped the pace and my bottom lip reappeared. Now, everyone knows Ben is a heartless, calculating bastard but the sheer malevolence required to put the hammer down when it was clear that I was struggling and Wayne’s broken clown bike was on the verge of giving up the ghost was something else. At least that’s how I viewed it at the time. It had absolutely nothing to do with my post-injury rustiness or the fact that Ben is in fine form this year (and indeed looking good for his 9.41 (self) predicted finishing time).
I completed the ride feeling a million miles from being ‘ironman fit’ and set about renewing my renewed determination. In fact, so renewed was my determination, that I promptly had a week off, choosing to help coach the school’s sports teams in competition in the Philippines rather than run and bike around Saigon. For anyone that’s not been responsible for a group of primary children on a residential, these trips are about as far removed from a holiday as it’s possible to be. Dealing with lost passports, improperly completed immigration cards, minor medical emergencies, homesickness and bizarre dietary requirements really takes it out of you. Luckily, the children were a magnificent bunch whose innate maturity meant that I could devote time and effort into assisting Wayne with all of the above issues. Opportunities for training were understandably limited, though we managed a couple of runs around our small corner of Manila (including getting lost near a shanty town and a very quick dash through an underpass so intimidating that it was being patrolled by its own policeman).
Arriving back home on the Saturday evening, we did what any right thinking people would do having survived an exhausting week and severely lacking sleep. We met up at school at 8am the next morning to run a half-ironman.
Completing the 1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21km run requires a lot of effort in an organised competition when you are surrounded by like-minded athletes. To do it on your own around the streets where you live, out of choice is, quite frankly, bloody stupid. The ridiculousness of the situation was best summed up by Damo who happened to drive past us while we were out finishing the run leg. Upon seeing us crawl past in tri-suits, the curly haired Australian lothario merely pointed and audibly laughed. It was the timely boost to my self-esteem and motivation that I needed – I found the final leg a real struggle (at one point making all the actions of an adult male running but without actually moving anywhere, apart from the bit when I tripped over a dodgy patch of pavement and went sprawling in front of a table full of boozing taxi drivers) and was pretty much done for – thanks for that Damo.
Once again, I found myself feeling like this race was going to be beyond me and set about re-renewing my recently renewed determination. Finally, something gave – this week has been a genuinely good one on the training front. 5am starts and two sessions a day all week, topped off with my first ever 180km ride (at a 32kmph average, followed by a 45min run, followed by some celebratory afternoon beers and non-stop eating). It’s the first time since embarking on my year of absurdity that I’ve felt like I might actually finish the race and, as a result, am feeling rather chipper. As previously stated, hooray.
Swim – plan: 3hrs actual: 2hrs
Bike – plan: 7hrs30 actual: 5hrs30
Run – plan: 5hrs actual: 5rs
Swim – plan: 1hr30 plus half-ironman race actual: half-ironman race
Bike – plan: 2hrs plus half-ironman race actual: half-ironman race
Run – plan: 2hrs30 plus half-ironman race actual: 1hr30 plus half-ironman race
Swim – plan: 3hrs actual: 2hrs
Bike – plan: 8hrs actual: 8hrs 30
Run – plan: 6 hrs actual: 4hrs
Fatdanironman award for (tolerating) athletic endeavour – week ending 19th May:
The lovely, and patient, Hayley. A long overdue tip of the hat to the fiancée for putting up with my colossal mood swings over the past couple of weeks with something approaching good grace (can this count as your birthday present?).