It has been over a month since I have updated my blog, and looking back at what I wrote it is interesting to see how much I was struggling to motivate myself at the time. That lack of motivation also kept me off-line.. well mostly it was lack of motivation, but there has been another reason too.
I have been training hard… and harder. And even though I have been a bit tired of it all at times, I have kept up the focus and managed to get back on track, both mentally and physically.
One big reason for this change in attitude was something that so many people take for granted, but is something I have been missing for quite a while. Quite simple I found some training buddies. I met someone at the local pool who invited me out for a ride, nothing special, just a small group riding around 50k, but the buzz I got from being with others was phenomenal. We chatted on the straights, motivated each other up the hills and (for me) was left behind on the downhill. We had a coffee stop half way, which lead to an invitation to participate in a 10k foot race in a local village that weekend, and then we continued to ride on the beautiful quiet and smooth Spanish roads back to home.
And I made it to the 10k race on the Saturday evening – I hadn’t realised it before but that was actually my first time ever at that distance. The event was in Pego, Alicante and is part of series of races that takes place every weekend between Feb and June around the towns and villages in the Marina Alta area of Valencia. The atmosphere was very relaxed, the locals all sitting around outside the coffee shops in the square that served as the start and finish area, enjoying the spectacle of around 1000 athletes who invaded their little town. I really enjoyed the whole thing, the race took us out into the countryside, through the orange and olive orchards, past vineyards and back into town. The winner came in at 33 minutes so the competition was quite hot, and although I had only 3 days to prepare for it, I was pleased to post a time of 48 minutes, putting me in the top 40%
I wish to note here, the Spanish are so accepting when it comes to the disruption caused by sports, whether it be getting stuck behind groups of cyclist on the narrow winding roads or the streets actually being closed for some race or other. Rather than the negative aggressive reaction I see from the Brits both here and in UK, the Spanish are totally happy and relaxed, slowing down behind riders until it’s safe to pass or just enjoying the spectacle of a race. The local councils are extremely supportive, putting on a whole host of small races, covering cyclists, runners and swimmers, with costs so low they put other parts of the world to shame (I paid 5€ for the race I did, it was fully marshalled by police and locals, had marching bands, a support car upfront, closed roads and a finishers bag including T-shirts, juice, water, chocolate bread and oranges. There was also two hours of kids races beforehand, which was wonderful to watch)
Unfortunately, just as I seem to have found my mojo this will all come to a (temporary) end next week, as I have to start my travels again. But I have managed to up my game and get in few good weeks of training, my shoulder is almost fully healed (still aches on swims or bumpy rides) and my weight has at long last started to come down. I have a half Ironman in Japan planned in 6 weeks’ time and while I certainly wont be qualifying for any slots to World championships, I at least hope to not do any worse than previous years, which I will be happy with considering the time and fitness I lost due to my accident in Feb and the 2 months of illness at the end of last year.
So there we are, more ups, downs and happy endings, the world keeps turning, and I am still alive and striving to make sense of it all. I may even manage to start updating this blog with my adventures, thoughts and training stats a little more regularly again… but aint gonna promise that! 😉