We Saw the Deep

It may have been noted that I broke my usual rigid weekly schedule to add an extra post on Thursday for Time to Talk day. Thanks to everyone who read it, liked it, commented on it, shared it, and did other stuff with it that I’m not aware of. Between trying to keep on top of all the responses and the other stuff happening on my phone that day, I’m fairly sure my work colleagues thought I was being a right lazy shit; a bloody entitled millennial, supporter of all things venti-mocha-soy-chai-latte and Jeremy Corbyn. Which they totally don’t always think, honestly.

Besides writing even more than usual (which may mean this ends up being a shorter/less thoughtful post than usual because I’m mentally fatigued and stuff, you’ve been warned) this is what I’ve been getting up to over the week:

Monday: 30 mins physio exercises, 15 mins strength/conditioning, 2 hrs swimming
Tuesday: 30 mins physio exercises, 50 mins turbo
Wednesday: 30 mins physio exercises, 1 hr swimming plus 20 mins each way cycling there and back
Thursday: 1 hr 15 mins each way cycle commuting, 25 mins physio exercises, 15 mins strength/conditioning
Friday: 1 hr 20 mins each way cycle commuting, 25 mins physio exercises
Saturday: 40 mins swimming, 1 hr turbo
Sunday: 50 mins swimming, 1 hr 5 mins turbo

As might be noticed above, my training this week has been a little bit erratic. Certainly earlier in the week, I was still recovering from the terrible mood I found myself in last weekend, which always sends my training up and down – that said, looking at the numbers again, I am a little surprised to find I didn’t do too badly (and a little worried that I seem to have no real recollection of a two hour swim set on Monday).

Towards the tail end of the working week, cycle commuting happened. Having picked up on this just before Christmas, I spent all of January absolutely fobbing it off and saying things like “oh, all the people with healthy resolutions will be out clogging the roads” and “I don’t much fancy that sound of all that ice business”. Well, no more. I got back on the road, and it was wonderful. I felt so free again, so in tune with my environment. I had found my 7am place in the world once again, and all was well, and all was right.

Obviously that didn’t last. Nothing ever lasts. I have found my place in the world, and that place is full of terror and woe.

So full of lycra-fueled hubris was I that on Thursday evening, I decided to head out and be sociable for a while with Goodgym folk rather than hop on the turbo. Somewhere between three pints and the next morning, my phone died, and I only realised when I woke up about an hour late to the sound of the local foxes doing what foxes do in the not-so-early morning and making a bloody racket about it. Panicking, I hopped on the bike as quick as I could, skipping breakfast. It’s only an hour’s cycle, he said. It’ll be fine, he said.

It was fine, all the way up to the traffic lights just the other side of Kew Bridge. I stopped and a fairly unassuming man on a Brompton pulled up besides me. We exchanged glances, me in my sweaty lycra finery, him in baggy cargo trousers and a hoody. So un-aero. What an amateur. We revved our metaphorical engines. The lights went green. The Brompton sped off. And me? Well, my legs had stopped working.

Apparently, even a short ride is enough to completely bonk when you’re a little bit hungover and have used what little energy you’d stored overnight in the adrenaline-fueled first three quarters of your commute. Queue instance number two in my life as a fledgling triathlete where I’ve been overtaken by some smug prat on a Brompton. Yes, I’m bitter about this, they probably were neither smug nor a prat; but do you know how humiliating it is to be overtaken by a Brompton when you’re meant to be an elite-ish endurance athlete? If my lycra was not already sweaty as all hell at that point, the streaks left by my shameful tears would have been clearly visible.

Over-elaborate tales of woe aside, it’s not been a terrible week. The swimming is clearly coming along well: I think this week was the first week I’ve been to a Chasers evening swim session and felt like I might be outgrowing my comfortable little home in the novice lane. It’s only taken me a year to get there, but finally, finally I am improving.

Emboldened by my newfound confidence in the water, I decided to add a new skill to my repertoire so I look properly like someone who almost knows what he is doing – I can now tumble turn! Or ‘tumble turn’. It doesn’t feel nearly as graceful as it looks when anyone else ever other than me does one. I imagine what I’m doing when I ‘tumble turn’ actually just looks like a weekend drunk falling over, only underwater. All the weird angles being created as my limbs go a-flyin’ every which way have probably led more than one experienced swimmer watching to assume C’thulu is rising from the deep. It’ll be a while before my new skill is actually functional, and I’m still not quite fast enough to warrant it actually being necessary for me to be able to do so, but let’s ignore that in favour of congratulatory back pats. Give me my small victories, dammit.

Also, I’m back to nailing the nutrition. Look at this bad boy.


Yeah, that’s right. Malt loaf with peanut butter liberally smeared on it. Triathletes everywhere rejoice, I’ve solved all of your bike nutrition problems right here. SiS, go eat your stupid carb-dense hearts out.

On the running front, things are still not happening. There’s not a lot of pain anymore, but the achilles still feels like an overstretched old rubber band, and my physio says I’m still a few weeks away from running. But then again, she enjoys poking me with sharp things and getting paid to do so; maybe she’s just saying I can’t run so I can’t up and out the door, leaving her to find a new test patient. Hmm. Food for thought.

So, where are we going from here? I’m going to continue to strap ice packs to my ankle a few times a day, and do hundreds of those funny clam leg exercises and other stuff until it gets better. I’m tentatively a bit more positive about the injury situation than last week; partly because it’s actually getting better, partly because the other stuff is also getting better. I’m still gutted about missing Worthing, but now I have something to distract me from that little sadness.

Coach Dan has finally given me license – no, has commanded me – to get Agro out on to the roads. My Sunday long runs are being, at least for the immediate future, replaced with (weather permitting) TT bike tempo rides. People of Windsor, be warned: I will be out and among you, going at speeds I shouldn’t be on a bike I don’t know if I can fully control. It’ll be a blast, I’m sure. I’m totally looking forward to that, and the rest of next week.

So yeah, not a terribly deep post today. But after the last couple of posts, that’s probably a good thing. See you next week! If I haven’t died in a blaze of glory and a fireball on the A308. We’ll see.

Enjoyed this post? Spread the wealth! Please share this post via WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit. Or, y’know, anywhere else you like.

Also, part of the reason I’m doing this is to raise funds and awareness for The Maytree Respite Centre, a small charity in North London that provides support for people going through a suicidal crisis – so if you’d like to support my fundraising efforts, please click here. Thanks so much!

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