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Blenheim: Twenty Six Days To Go...

When I last wrote, six weeks ago, I was off out to test cycle some bikes. I am with bike, but more of that in a minute.

Swimming progress first. I am delighted to report that my arms now have a role to play in my full stroke swimming. In theory they are to play second fiddle to my core (it, my core, always leads!). I should not use them to balance with (intuitive swimming/old programming) or to haul myself through the water. Elbows should be emerging out and forwards and most importantly hands should enter the water again at a crucial point just ahead of my down-facing head. My arms should then lengthen ‘down the rails’, definitely not spearing in at an angle and crossing my centre line.

So much to remember and that’s just the arm bit! This last week I have been working on my breathing too (quite an important one really!?). But that for me is information overload, I liken it to patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. Keith reassures me to have just one focus when doing a length and that it will eventually all come together. Well with 26 days to go I am in the pool pretty much every day now!

Through The Swim Shed I have been lucky enough to meet many of Keith’s clients. You are all such a constant source of inspiration to me. I love hearing your swimming stories (and struggles!). It’s exciting to know that there is a growing contingent of you that are also competing at Blenheim on the 4/5th of June too. Two of those are my sister Bethany and my friend Leigh. All three of us will be first timers at Blenheim.

With the launch of Shed Triathlon looming ever nearer (our new tri club), training with Bethany and Leigh over the last few weeks has felt like we have a nucleus of a tri club! We meet up for a swim whenever we can, looking very much like a synchronised swimmers club with our hats, goggles and serious swimming cozzies, all practising similar techniques!

The three of us have all become first time bike owners in the last month and have now expanded our conversation from skating, fishlike and elbows to cleats, derailleurs and frame sizes! On a couple of occasions now we have ventured out on a ‘group ride’ with the three Ironmen (Keith, Bernhard & Bryan) which has been invaluable learning how to mount/dismount, the etiquette of riding as part of a group, mastering the correct gear to select, having a slurp of your drink whilst still in motion, ‘spinning out’ and how to mend punctures (Keith)!!

Clothing. What to wear. Cant believe I haven’t mentioned it yet. Since the introduction of the bike Bethany, Leigh and myself have been doing our homework. Questions, questions…boobs, padding, tri-suits??? What shall we wear under the wetsuit, on the bike and during the run? We found this interesting reading –

We are trying to keep things simple and costs to a minimum, but comfort has got to be the key. I’ll be honest, I imagined that I’d have a lot more ‘comfort’ (mattress padding) in my tri-shorts! Pah, sorry fellas, it was akin to a panty liner (what a let down)! Having spoken with one of The Swim Shed clients Sarah Crisp (a super cyclist!), she said that cycling shorts afford you a little more comfort on the ‘under carriage’ and were good to train in, however tri-shorts (by the very nature that you are expected to swim and run in them) are more economical on the padding! Make sense and makes my eyes water, but I will toughen up, stop complaining and rise to the challenge (quite literally actually, have learned pretty quickly to rise out of the saddle a fraction when negotiating some of our rough roads and pot holes!).

Just before I go, the rubber really meets the road this Thursday evening as a small possie of us are bracing the open waters in our wetsuits. It has been convenient to forget that the swim leg of this triathlon is in a lake! No longer can we side step the inevitable, we are taking the plunge! It’s got to be done. I am excited, nervously excited.

So for the next 26 days I have pinched a very positive mantra from Andy, one of Keith’s great clients, “I can do that, with practise”!!

I’m off out on my bike now, for some time trial practise!

Thanks so much for all your encouragement and funny stories!

Jane x

p.s. I’ll let you know how our foray into the lake went!

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