Way back when I completed my first triathlon in March 2011 (read about it here), I decided that I wanted to complete an olympic distance triathlon. I didn’t really have a good idea of what that entailed.
Then in April 2012 I realised I hadn’t given myself a deadline to complete so I determined that I would do it before I turned 40 (read about that here).
In February of this year, I was struggling to fit my training into life, or to make it a priority. I hadn’t even completed a sprint distance race at that time so I changed my goal to just finishing a sprint triathlon (read about the decision here).
I have now completed two sprint triathlons (one at Penrith, and one at Forster) and I have come to the realisation in the last couple of weeks that I have been unfocussed in my training and nutrition.
Off an on I’ve still been thinking about the olympic distance but haven’t mentioned it to a single soul. It just seems so far when it already takes me almost two hours to do the sprint distance. Sprint distance is half the olympic distance. An olympic is a 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and a 10km run.
But then I read this post from the so-called Unsporty Woman. All of a sudden, it was ON! I wanted my original dream and goal back.
So in the midst of making our house presentable (we’ve decided to sell and downsize) and trying to get enough sleep to function at work, I sent an email to my coach. At 11.45pm. An excerpt follows:
Yes, I know, I should be sleeping. Or at least cleaning my house ready for the real estate to come and take photos. Instead, I’m looking at Olympic triathlons anywhere close to here. I know I changed my goals earlier in the year because I didn’t think I could find the time to do the distances in training required for an Olympic… but it still keeps popping into my head that I wanted to do one before I turned 40. Now I’m running out of time.
I read this blog post today on a blog I’ve been following for a while now (http://unsportywomencanrun.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/celebrating-50-the-unsporty-way). She totally nailed her goals for turning 50. I want to do the same.
Can I get to Olympic distance from Sprint in a few months? Is that possible do you think (totally disregarding my past behaviour, and my crazy next couple of weeks).
Can I do an Olympic with my current bike or would I need to have a “real” one?
Is it achievable? Unrealistic? Stupid? Finishing would be my goal.
It kind of freaks me out even contemplating it but at the same time it would be really nice to meet that original goal.
I didn’t sleep much that night. My mind was spinning. I had found an olympic distance triathlon in the month before I turn 40, and it’s within driving distance so I wouldn’t need to take any time off work – I could get there and back in a weekend.
The next morning I sent a second email:
I have been thinking all night about this. I’d really like to give it a shot. I’ve gone through my “life schedule” and worked out what I’d be prepared to give up temporarily until after this race. If you could give me an idea of the amount of training (frequency and length of sessions) I’d need to do to put in a decent attempt, then I can decide if I can fit it in. I don’t want to hit 40 and wish I’d had a go at it. This was the first time I’d ever set myself a goal like that. I gave it up at a time when work was exceptionally busy and stressful. Right now it’s manageable. It could go off again at any time but I’ll deal with that if and when I have to.
I managed to run my full 40 minutes this morning without walking. Admittedly it was 7:04 pace, and with someone else but I didn’t walk. At all.
I have set this as my desktop picture on my work computer:
Time to get serious. Again. I nailed that first race I did last year after I started with your coaching plan. I can do it again.
The difference this time around, I think, is that the other things I usually fill my nights and weekends with won’t have to be put on hold forever, only until this race.
My coach wrote back:
Both emails – now I have tears in my eyes!
Loved reading the blog particularly at the end where it said “I had the courage”. I would love to help you! and I will be the first one there across that finish line! You have done amazing – I will always remember your mum at Forster and how amazingly proud she was of you – you could see it in her eyes and words that she was super super super proud that you had the courage to do a triathlon. I was beaming all day. You completely blew away your mum that you had the courage to take on something that you felt that was completely outside your comfort zone and do it.
We have about 12 weeks.
I know you will be nervous about it but I would like you to do the distance together on that day (and not before). We will do more distance individually but just not together. I feel the day will be special.
So your biggest ride will be about 2.5 hours (we would build up to that). … Your runs will get up to 1.5 hours.
Your swimming I think after January I would like to commit 3 days to swimming for that month with interval work. Prior to that if you can get in 2 a week. We also need open water (Ocean) swimming so will factor that in in the January camp [I am going to a triathlon camp she is organising on the January long weekend, at the coast – I won’t be doing any ocean swimming around here!] as well and whenever you are down in Forster.
So Mon (1 hr Strength and Conditioning)
Wed/Thurs (2 hours of Cycling)
Tues, Sat and Sun Run (40min sess x2 plus longer run 1-1.5 hours)
Sun Brick (Ride/Run)
Swims can fit in when you find it most convenient for your schedule. Thinking no swimming on the weekend and you fit it in during the week but not sure if that’s possible. Will probably do some Swim/Bike rides on Sunday too next year.
So total time between 6-10 hours per week. We would have 2 recovery weeks in there too which would only be 3-5 hours of exercise.
How does that sound?
My short reply:
Incredibly scary yet exciting!
So my coach thinks it’s doable and I’m going to do it. I won’t be aiming to break any records but after my next pay I will be registering for my first (and probably only) olympic distance triathlon. It will be at Coffs Harbour in March. No turning back now – it’s public!
Thank you Unsporty Woman for inspiring me – I feel energised and excited, scared and overwhelmed, but I know this is the right decision. Thank you to everyone else whose blogs I follow (even if I don’t comment often, or at all). Your determination, courage and efforts are also inspiring.
95 days and counting…