Well, where do I start? I’ve spent a week wondering how many versions of this there are to write…I think the answer is many, so bear with me.
There is the one where I feel so different to how I did the last time, the one where I’m just so incredibly lucky to know an amazing amount of wonderful humans & the one where a personal worst is actually a personal best.
The weekend started with a slight visible loss of sanity, I just hadn’t started packing early enough, I was easily distracted and NO ONE TOLD ME IT WAS FATHERS DAY ON SUNDAY. There was also a small facebook discussion occurring about weather in which it was advised anyone not there yet bring their coat and as I am from the south this really meant bring your winter coat and what did that mean for the bike and the run?
My ankle had progressed from mild tendinitis to ‘argh it hurts to move’ so I took my sports therapists offer of taping it the Friday morning before we both left on our respective adventures.
What. An. Adventure
Kewick is beautiful, Derwentwater is the most glorious puddle, my friends are the most wonderful human beings & I think one of my most favourite moments was playing with Rach‘s pupper Basil in the water with his ball, with my friends..
Standing at the start line was the oddest feeling. Its exactly like listening to Everything Everything – No Reptiles my heart mimicking the drum beat but the rest of me just like the melody (very much feeling like a fat child in a pushchair old enough to run), just taking in the view, feeling grateful for everything I hold dear.
This weekend was never about anything more than that. When I booked it the bike course was so beyond my capability & I hadn’t run in 6 months. I’d fallen out of Outlaw half in 2017 more broken then when I started, it took Becky & all the team at Hall Training a long time to get me feeling like the old me, we tinkered programming, diet & supplements so I no longer needed to nap at lunchtimes just to make it through a day’s work, let alone consider a 15 hour a week training plan on top of that.
Before I had set foot in the water the wonderful *Ahem* IronBean was out of the swim having started an hour previous swimming twice as far. It’s been wonderful to watch Beans journey to Iron distance from the other side of the internet, she is a massive inspiration, she knows herself incredibly well and her very personalised approach to her training along with her honesty is very refreshing in a world of the fitspo.
The minute I stepped foot I the water, my plan for the day became clear, the main thing was going to be to keeping the main thing the main thing. My ankle hurt & I couldn’t worry about whether I’d make it to the finish line, I just had to concentrate on the swim and then see what happened next.
I had a beautiful swim, Derwentwater is glorious, it wasn’t pancake flat & it wasn’t full on chop, but that nice dice between will I get air or a mouth fall of water in my next attempt to get some air. The swim summed up my entire race, I gave all I could with what I had to give and while I am disappointed with the time, I was pleased to have made it through.
The Bike course was brutal, but oh so beautiful. THAT WIND. My unreliable ankle made for some interesting climbing, but with those views it was easy to take my mind off the pain and I couldn’t have been prouder of that bike effort. As I rolled in Keswick my heart was singing, and so was I, always a good sign. Rach to came into view & I felt like I was home.
Lakesman is a truly wonderful and inclusive event, the entire team care that you have the best day possible and Jamie (Technical officer) was there at bike dismount with the biggest hug I’ve ever had. At that point I knew no matter what happened on the run I’d made it.
I came out of T2 to the biggest noise, the most gorgeous sea of faces, including some unexpected visitors and it was on to the run…after the wind & the rain it was nice to feel the sunshine on my face. Laps 1 and 2 were powered by knowing I could move for that long off the bike as I’d done that in training.
Lap 3 was powered by Dr Sarah. She so very kindly ran her final lap with me, at my pace, sacrificing her own race to help me round. Things had started to hurt by then, I was struggling to place my foot down in a way that didn’t send some pain up my leg to my hips.
Sarah was wonderful, she let me fan girl – I have no idea how she manages to fit in everything she does, she’s phenomenal & an amazing advocate for womens cycling. She let me ask her some probably rather silly questions about Dr’ing & she gave me some wonderful support, her last salt tablet & some food for thought as to how I could manage lap 4 and 5.
She had bought with her the most wonderful support in the form of Mel and James who I heard roar as Sarah entered the finish straight. (I want to cycle like them all when I grow up by the way. I think I’m older than all of them, so that’s not at all depressing)
Laps 4 & 5 weren’t pretty, but I had the Family Drought and the boy for support. The strategy of limiting the distance for walking was a brilliant one and the course markings & landscape allowed it to be broken quite nicely into a run walk to the final corner, at that point it just became wall of noise & a sea of faces.
I crossed that finish line having had the time of my life, I smiled the whole way round.
A personal worst in terms of any metric you’ll find by typing my name into the internet, a personal best on every other measure.
Thank you to everyone who made it possible.
The best days don’t happen without organisers, volunteers, supports & competitors.
Lakesman you were the best.
But the best days don’t happen without those behind the scenes, to everyone who sent me messages and supported along the way, that was for you.
To my wonderful SwimShed family, Friday nights are where magic happens, a wonderful bunch of supportive inspirational people, who make you believe anything really possible.
To Neil for services to spreadsheets, checking my homework, being all the passive aggressive when you had to be but hated it AND for the most amazing PowerPoint presentation just when I needed it most.
To Brian, he’s a big part of my life, he is wonderful human, I’m so lucky to have him and the family in my life. I can rarely support him like he supports me, selflessly without question. His belief in me in unwavering and his honest feedback allows me a safe space for honest review. On my way to the swim he hugged me & told me I had to do it for him. When I crossed the line I told him he has to be very careful about what he asks me to do because I would do anything for him. I really would.
Finally to the boy, who it’s safe to say struggles with ALL this. You don’t always know what to say, or what to do but you try and that’s what means the most. Thank you. Its not over yet, you’ll get the hang of it.