As I have some time to kill whilst waiting for my flight, I wanted to write a few reflections about the road to Kona this year. In many ways it has been a very different build up – last year I had low expectations, I wanted to enjoy the experience and put together a reasonable Ironman. I wanted to see what the big deal was about Kona.
This year, having put together a good race at Nice I have higher expectations, and I want to win. That may seem like a silly thing to say, of course I want to win, but it feels like this year if I have a good race it is a possibility. I also feel like I have invested a lot more in the process this year, mentally, physically, emotionally (and as always with triathlon – financially!)
Having been promoted into a new job in June, work has been much busier and much more intense. I’ve been doing roughly 70 hour work weeks, but one of the main challenges with the job is it is one you can’t really switch off from. Supporting someone who heads up a team of 7000 looking after IT for Lloyds Banking Group means that you always feel on call. Although it has been tough, it is really interesting and I am loving it. One of the main challenges has been trying to learn a whole new world and language, it is completely different to Commercial where I was before.
Juggling the build up to Kona around that working week has been tough, and fitting training sessions in when you have meetings at 6.30/7am gets more challenging! Will as always has been great at switching some of my sessions around, and I have occasionally had to miss a few sessions which I have been better at not beating myself up about!
The biggest challenge has probably been how selfish I have felt. Sport can be very selfish, however for the professionals it feels more justified as it is their career. As an amateur, being selfish to try and excel at your hobby can often feel like you are being too selfish. There have been many weeks the last few months where I have barely seen or spoken to Barney, being out the door just after 5am and not getting back until after 9pm, at which point I just want to eat and go to sleep! Whilst he gets it, and is similar with all the training he does, I do sometimes wonder whether it is always the right choice.
This year I am feeling the fittest I have ever felt. I haven’t had a chance to test that, given I had to have my first DNF at Hever castle as I just couldn’t warm up from the swim, and having shivered my way around 45km I called it a day as I thought I could cause some serious damage if I kept going! However, I have done some heat chamber training at Roehampton uni, which I feel has been hugely beneficial, but let’s see when I get out there! I have managed to fairly consistently log c.18-20 hours of training and get some real quality sessions in. I didn’t want to go to Kona this year unless I thought I could improve on last year – as ever there is the unknown in terms of who else shows up, and trying to compete against some amateurs who might as well be full time athletes is always going to be tough – but it wouldn’t be rewarding unless it was a challenge!
So I fly out confident that I have done as much as I could to get in the best shape possible. I can’t wait to see so many people out there, and enjoy the amazing experiences of swimming with dolphins. I am excited that I get to see Will race after him being chief supporter last year. I am even more excited that Barney will come and experience it this year, and I hope I can do him proud. But most of all, I cannot wait for that feeling of nervously treading the water waiting for the cannon to go, with the anticipation of the whole race ahead.
Thanks to everyone supporting me – this year I have definitely needed it!