Ok, so I’m starting my journey again. My last journey that was supposed to start from the Colombo Half Ironman in Sri Lanka came to a grinding halt when a combination of ridiculous travelling and continual bouts of coughs and colds totally derailed me, mentally and physically, from my attempt to qualify for both the Half Ironman 2018 and the Full Ironman 2019 world championships.
I had written in my final post of my previous blog, that I was needing to restart but that I wasn’t sure what my target would be. I also said that I was sure that inspiration would come to me, as it always seems to turn up just when it’s needed..
And guess what – that’s exactly what happened 🙂
On 4th January I had moved to Javea on the Costa Blanca as planned, even though my dream of qualifying for 2018 Half Ironman finals had been shelved and I had dropped my coach and cancelled my training camps. The whole of the Valencia region is a beautiful part of the world, sitting on the edge of the Mediterranean with quiet well maintained roads, warm weather and a complete spectrum of terrain from the fast and flat to the long hard mountainous peaks, so is very popular with cyclists and triathletes, including the pro teams. It is also the perfect place to get my mojo back, even if I only manage to regain the level of fitness I had before my immune system took an extended holiday.
My first week was as hectic as you would expect moving to a new place, but at same time very relaxing. I had taken an apartment on “winter let”, which basically means getting a holiday apartment that would be rented at ridiculous expense during June-Sep, but at knock down bargain basement prices in the off-season. It is comfortable but basic, close to all amenities and a 15 minute walk to the sea front. I immediately went to see Martin at Xabia Bikes and rented myself a road bike, unpacked my running shoes and was all set.
I had put on a few kg during the forced lay up in Dec and early Jan, but I was still shocked how hard I found my first “proper” run in my new surroundings. I’d done a slow relaxing 6km run around the airport on 1 Jan (having been stranded there on New Years Eve due to flight delays) which seemed fine, so when I set out for a 10km run a week later I wasn’t expecting to struggle.. boy was I wrong! The first 10 minutes I was extremely stiff but put that down to the flight, however instead of loosening up as I normally do, I stayed the same, stiff and sore and without any puff to push on. I did manage 8km eventually but my knee and hip were suffering, my time was slow and I was done for! Was very obvious I had really gone backwards.
During the next week I managed two 1 hour ish bike rides, two gym sessions(more about the process of choosing a Gym later) and one further run. The blue skies and sunny weather certainly made the outdoor training enjoyable, but my performance was still slow and ponderous. Not having any target to aim for was also curbing my enthusiasm, and I must admit I was basically just going through the motions. Any thoughts of writing about my exploits banished to the nether regions of my mind, my only real driver was to do enough training to complete the Japan half Ironman in June with my friend.
After just over a week of living in my little piece of paradise, I had to head over to England, travelling up to Valencia airport this morning. The weather was perfect – perfectly blue skies, perfectly warm sun, and I could see the Mediterranean was perfectly calm.
My telephone certainly wasn’t calm though, as it had started buzzing the previous evening from Facebook members of the local bike club I had just joined, trying to rouse each other for an upcoming first weekend ride of the season, which had me insanely jealous knowing I couldn’t join as I would be in grey, cold and wet England! But at same time I felt positive about joining them on my return, which was a definitely a change in me.
Let me take a second to explain – since I gave up smoking and drinking in January 2012, I had become a total loner, avoiding any sort of social interaction. This was initially to avoid the temptation of falling back into bad ways. However it was also due to the fact that I had originally taken to alcohol so strongly because a somewhat fucked up childhood had left me painfully shy, and I found drinking was the only way for me to be able to interact socially with my peers. And now, even several decades later, without the lubrication of a few drinks I immediately slipped back into my shell. This included activities based around sports and training so unless I knew someone very well I would generally shun group rides or runs. Now I was reaching out to a bunch of unknown guys and gals and asking to be part of their group… Was the warmth of the sun and the friendliness of the local people beginning to rub off on me??
Part II to Follow Shortly