Maybe this event was doomed from the start. I had signed up for the Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Board triathlon after the Bath half marathon was cancelled due to the Beast from the East and all of the snow. By Thursday I was having suspicions that the event organisers were not happy with the weather forecast. Heavy rains and high winds were forecast. Not ideal conditions for SUP. These types of triathlons are designed for all; some participants would have never SUP’d before whilst others would have been pros. It was understandable that the organisers would have been cautious.
At 7am on Friday, an email popped up on my phone. The event had been cancelled and all entries would be automatically transferred to next year. Fine for some. The panic then set in. Doing 30 endurance events in one year doesn’t give me much time for movement and I don’t have a spare week now until January! The SUP triathlon was also one of the smaller events as my body would not be fully recovered from the 100mile Ultra-marathon last weekend.
A quick search on the internet brought up some other events. These event mostly revolved around running. I didn’t want my body to have to do a long run so quickly after the Ultra. Lots of other events were also cancelled due to the weather. My thinking cap had to be put on.
Looking at the forecast there was going to be a lull in the weather on Saturday morning. Right, I will do the triathlon by myself. I don’t have a paddle board so had to change that for swimming. The DIY triathlon was created. Trying to stick with the event distances; a 2km sea swim, 10km mountain bike and a 5km run.
I posted my idea on the local swimming forum and had two other lovely but crazy people agree to join me. I was truly grateful for this.
Just before 9am on Saturday morning this tiny group of triathletes got ready to get into the sea. It was very windy and very choppy. Swimming is still petrifying for me and this would be the choppiest swim I would have ever done. Having two other experienced swimmers in the water with me was reassuring. The swim was quite an adventure and I had a good time, I was however, glad to get out! A quick transition onto the mountain bike. It was quite cold so I added a good few layers. The 10km ride went by in a flash only taking 22mins. Off the bike with numb feet to start the run. I was not sure how this was going to go. Only 6days before had I finished the 100mile run, my body felt good but I knew deep down I was not 100% recovered and all of the little micro-tares may cause me some issues.
The first few kilometres sped past as we were going at a fast pace, my feet were still numb so that was a strange feeling. After 3km my feet started to come back to life and I felt more comfortable. At this point I was smiling to myself as I felt good, I felt strong and was quite shocked and proud of my body for coping with all the challenges I was putting it through.
The three of us ended up running for 7km altogether. I was glad for to to be over but also in shock about how good I felt. It was much easier having people taking part in the DIY triathlon with me. The power of support is huge and makes all of the difference.
I have been thinking about my week of recovery and how my body has coped so well and thought I would share a few ideas with you all:
Loads of sleep. At least 8hours per night since the ultra marathon and naps if time has allowed.
Active recovery. Keeping the legs moving and not seizing up I think has really aided my recovery, the week following the ultra I have done some gentle bike rides at under 75% max heart rate to flush the lactic acid out. I have walked the dog daily, this has got easier throughout the week until it felt normal and I have also being doing yoga everyday, mainly stretching poses.
Food and rehydration. Eating little and often; listening to what my body wants as most of the time it will let me know. I have craved liquid type foods such as melon, soup, stew and yogurts. Drinking lots of fluid such as herbal tea and squash. Bodies rehydrate better if there is a flavour in the water.
Reflection. Sometimes I think it is easy to focus on the things that I should have done differently, but this time I have tried to be proud of myself and all of things I have achieved.
Being kind. Life stills goes on and there has still been stuff to do and work deadlines to reach. However, I have been slower than normal, my brain seems to be working slowly. This is due to being tired, even if my body feels fine it is working hard to repair itself. I have tried to remember this and not push myself to hard.
Days off. After completing a big event at least one day off is needed. For the 100miler I gave myself two days off work. I am so glad I did as it gave me time for me and also no pressures.
Sports massage. Throughout these 30 events I have had regular massages. I really think they have been key to keeping me subtle and injury free.
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Thank you so much x