new direction · triathlon

Status update

I’ve started so many different versions of this post that it makes my head ache.  You know me – in the past 4 weeks I’ve been through a lifetime of emotions, most of them in the course of a single morning – but I keep starting a post on a particular tangent and then losing it.  I read it back the next day and think “really?  That’s how I want to sum up what’s going on?” and then abandon the post again.

Someone commented on my last post that “it must be time to put all the doubts & measurements away and just get on with it”.  And I guess with all my whingeing and whining and self-doubting I must give the impression that I am not doing that – that I am not getting on with it.  And that would be wrong – I am.  I just whinge, whine and doubt myself as I’m doing it.  So here’s where we are at, in each discipline:


Progress: 7/10.  Given that I am still very much a newbie swimmer I think things are okay.  I permanently hover on the edge of a shoulder injury (both shoulders now).  Some of that has been remedied a bit by changing / improving my swimming stroke with my swimming teacher but overall I think it’s still bad technique and a not very strong upper body that’s holding me back. 2  sessions a week (one, preferably with my swim club but that doesn’t always happen) mean that I’m getting a bit stronger, getting more endurance.  On the upside – I am enjoying it. There is something very zen-like about swimming, about plowing up and down the lanes.  To my surprise I even enjoy hard swimming- it’s very hard to do anything other than live in the moment when you can’t breathe and you can feel yourself on the verge of throwing up by the end of the interval.

Freakouts: 4/10.  Most of the time I think I will make it out of Lake Zurich before the cutoff.  Had a mini freakout when driving through a tunnel recently that was almost as long as the swim course is.  It took me a while to drive through the tunnel.  I don’t swim fast.  So this was a slight downer, but overall I’d describe myself as steadily, doggedly, semi confident.


Progress: 6/10.  That sounds bad, I don’t think it is but I’ve just got a long way to go.  I’m doing hard work, interval work, tempo work and some endurance work.  I’m constantly learning new stuff (last week’s lesson was about how to go up and come down hills).  I enjoy it sometimes but have to battle myself to get out there when it’s super windy (welcome to Lincolnshire – few hills but MUCH wind).  Cycling with the cycling group has made a difference but I struggle to always make the meetups.

Freakouts: 9/10.  Yeah, I know, I just had a massive one last week.  I’d been kind of spiralling down to thinking I was not making any progress and I was slow as molasses when I burst a tire out on a training ride without repair kit.  The full on drama was followed by angry tears as I replaced my inner tube and had a meltdown to my poor husband.  I do bounce back though – had a gorgeous bikeride in the Lake District last Tuesday where I just forgot about average pace and attacked the hills and really soaked up the beautiful scenery. This was followed by a ride with a friend on Thursday where he helped me to really push the pace for 3 hours, showed me the basic of bike mechanics, helped to work out what I didn’t need in the massive bag of kit I was carrying about (= most of it) and generally built up my confidence.  So ultimately all is back to normal there. I still have occasional panics about the distance (112 miles!) and the cut off (I’m going to have to go hard!) but I’m trying, generally, to keep my head down and just keep training.

How can you have freakouts on days like this?


Look! Shorts! Knobbly knees!
Just working up a bit of a glow up these hills…
No, I didn’t bring my wetsuit so I just cycled past. Another time.
And another beautiful scene. It all made the freakout go away.


Ah, and then there’s running.
Progress: 6/10.  Yup.  I know.  But note the lack of freakout below.  To my amazement I have suddenly and completely out of the blue managed to develop plantar fasciitis.  I’ve never had it before in over 10 years of running, I’m not sure what’s caused it, but I definitely have it.  I’ve been through the various stages of handling injury (denial / panic / googling endlessly) and for now am managing it by regular treatment from my osteo, stretching my calf, icing the plantar fascia and not running on consecutive days.  This morning I wore my orthotics for the first time in 3 or so years and I think that makes a difference – I am not sure I will run in them but around the house it certainly improves how my foot feels.  Where this leaves me for Boston?  It looks like it really will be a training run for Ironman Zurich. As in, I will have an opportunity to try out how to run a marathon in sub optimal circumstances.  I’m not sandbagging when I say it will be slow, and hard.  I’ve simply not done really specific marathon training so don’t have the speed or the distance in my legs.

Freakouts: 2/10.  I’ll gut it out.  I’m going to Boston with my lovely mother, spending time with my wonderful coach and a whole bunch of other friends, and I am incredibly fortunate to be able to be out there celebrating this amazing, historic marathon with 33,000 other runners in a really meaningful year.  I know when I am lucky and fortunate, and I am.  That it won’t be fast or pretty is fine by me – you don’t get a fast or pretty marathon without putting in specific work, and I haven’t done that.  So I’m okay with it.

So that’s where I am.  4 and 1/2 months away from my Ironman and my average freakout rate is 5/10 over the three disciplines.  I’d say that’s not a bad situation to be in – for me that’s manageable stress. I started on this journey because I wanted a new challenge and I’m getting it – in spades.  So far, I’m still standing.  And swimming, biking and running.  Speaking of which… it’s time to get back to training. Talk soon!

6 thoughts on “Status update

  1. normal to have ups and downs in the midst of training. your mojo will come out as you get closer to race day, as it always does. enjoy boston. it will be special this year. will send you a link re the foot issue.

  2. I love that you give freakout ratings for each of your training areas! You crack me up!! I would be freaking out, too, if I drove through a 2 mile tunnel and had to even think about swimming that far. That is VERY FAR! Not to freak you out or anything. 😉

    You and I have the same goals for Boston and neither of them involve a fast time. And that’s okay! There will be so many more things to celebrate that day than PR’s.

    I’m so proud of you and inspired by you for embarking on this crazy Ironman challenge. I love that you are showing your kids (and everyone else) that life is just beginning at 40. Our wrinkles and laugh lines just serve to show that we have lived a little, right?!

    Oh, and send any special PF info my way. I have been experiencing sore arches for a couple of weeks. My heels haven’t been hurting, though, so I can’t tell if it is just early PF or if it is something entirely different.

    Okay, off to do some St. Patty’s celebrating with the family. xo

  3. Ha!! The freakout rating is perfect! I have some serious issues, most of which are stressors that are only there because i absolutely love to run and do not want to stop. ever.
    I read it all… and think you are amazing, Petra.
    Dealing with bike tires that pop- that is something I don’t have patience for, but will allow you to do things I would never attempt!
    I admire your tenacity.
    So bummed to read about the PF. I hope it is better by now and that you are well on your way to a great, easy, training run at Boston. Wishing you the best! ♥

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