By URSULA BRENDLING
I’m going to be 50 this year and I have never done a triathlon.
I’ve been a fitness instructor for 25 years and have done my fair share of squats, lunges and planks, but this is something completely different….
Swimming 2.4 miles in open water when I hate having my head submerged and I can only swim a slow breast stroke. Hmm, interesting?
Cycling up the steepest mountain passes in the UK and covering 112 miles, when I only bought a road bike last year. Hmm, deluded?
Running a marathon up the highest mountain in England when my furthest distance has been 20 miles and that resulted in an Achilles injury. Hmm, insane?
So why? What do I need to prove? Am I capable?
You bet I am!!. In fact, I am super excited about doing all the things I love the most in one day….
Being in the mountains, pushing hard physically…..and being amongst the world’s fittest men sounds like a day out on the hills that I will never forget.
Not only am I a fitness instructor and first class nutter but I am also a Personal Trainer and although I don’t know everything about fitness training, I am a great believer in training specifically for what you are hoping to achieve.
So what training am I doing?…..just in case you are in the same situation as me and fancy giving it a go?
Well firstly, I believe you need a good base level of cross fitness to start with ie, run a mile in 7 minutes, do 30 push ups, do 500 squats without collapsing and hold a plank whilst the kettle boils.
So hurray, I think I have that.
And secondly, you have to believe in yourself, be disciplined and stay positive.
I don’t take life too seriously so I am going to make sure I enjoy every minute. If I begin to hate it, I won’t do it….but that’s unlikely because I like a challenge.
It’s the specific training I am really going to have to work on……and hard.
I still have to work as an instructor but I will be doing more supervising than taking part so that my energy is saved for the important stuff.
So if you’re interested in the training diary of a very enthusiastic complete novice of extreme triathlons, I hope you will read my weekly blog, and maybe it will inspire you to do something extraordinary too.
12 months prior to the event
Bought a road bike and decided I would try and cycle to Hexham from Ambleside (about 65 miles) with no training. 1. To see if I would like it. 2. To see if I would need to call the Air Ambulance.
Result: I had to pause going up Kirkstone Pass (25%) incline at least 12 times. My pedal fell off going up Hartside Pass (18% incline) near Alston but I never stopped cycling and I still managed to reach my destination….slightly broken.
Everything hurt especially my bum but I was ok. Could I do double that distance?. Em, not at this stage but in my mind, I thought it was achievable, and if you think you can. You can!
Swimming: I love the open water but I hate submerging my head. I prefer to look at the view and not the murky water and the fog in my goggles. I have started swimming lessons to get used to getting my head under water. I picked up breast stroke technique in one day in July 2015…..now front crawl is another story and I am still struggling with it and it is now February 2016. I will master it. It is just a question of technique.
Running: I only started running 7 years ago. Before that, I danced. I have danced since I was a child. I wouldn’t say I loved running. I prefer walking up hills but hey, it’s great for cardio and it’s cheap. I have slowly been increasing my time on my feet. I’m not bothered about distance, I’m just keeping it slow (talking pace) and gradually increasing how long I run for, so that I don’t affect the Achilles again. I am up to 13 miles and next I will run the route to the bottom of Scafell Pike.
To enter The X see http://www.triathlonx.co.uk