Triathlon days are over?
For the first time in ten years, I have not stepped foot in a swimming pool for more than three months. On the one hand I’m not missing it at all (although I was a relatively strong swimmer, I can’t ever say I really enjoyed the training) but on the other hand I’m feeling suitably guilty and more than a little broken.
That’s because most of what would have previously been pool time has been replaced with visits to the gym. And my ageing body just isn’t loving that either. Perhaps a little too much ego has led me to have a constantly sore lower back (every time I think it’s okay and I risk increasing the weights on squats or deadlifts, I mess it up again), I’ve done something to the lower bicep on my left arm that makes things like dumbbell curls excruciating and I’ve now done something else to one of my deltoid heads on the right shoulder which is severely limiting upper body exercises. A bit of a wreck, really.
Having focused more on cycling in 2019, I learned that being a ‘good cyclist’ in a triathlon race is a million miles away from a podium in an open time trial. While I would regularly take the top spot for ‘fastest bike split’ in a triathlon, my highest position in an open time trial in 2019 was fourth (and that was on a drenched A420 when I suspect most of the fast guys thought “bugger that” and stayed away). More often, my position was somewhere in the teens. Not even troubling the top ten.
So that kind of makes returning to triathlon more attractive. I like being competitive. There’s no satisfaction for me in finishing well outside the top ten in a race.
But then I’m also wondering if I want to be ‘competitive’ against people who are also not very good cyclists (sorry for saying it like it is, triathletes!). I’m also struggling to find the time and the motivation to get back to ‘proper’ training for three different sports. With work commitments (albeit work travel is a bit reduced these days) and a young family, finding time to train became a real issue in 2019. I don’t think it will get any better in 2020 (yes, I could get up at 5am to get two hours in on the turbo or out on the roads, but I’d be kidding myself, I’ve never been a morning person).
So, what to do? Knuckle back down and hope that I can at least get the same results in time trials as last year? Try to create some kind of miraculous return to triathlon form when my run and swim training is currently non-existent? Go and find something completely new to do where I have no expectations? Or just accept that I’m getting too old and too lethargic to be competitive in any discipline?
I made my first visit to a velodrome a week or so ago. And I loved it. I was a bit concerned about riding a fixed-gear bike with no brakes for the first time (yes, I know, I’m 46…..) and the steepness of the banking (much more terrifying to look at in person for the first time than it appears on TV!). But it was great! Either thankfully or sadly, the nearest velodrome to me is over 60 miles away, so the chances of me switching to racing track is minimal (and I can’t afford yet another bike, anyway).
I think I either need to make a tough decision and really commit to it, or perhaps more likely I’ll keep putting off the decision and just stumble through 2020 in much the same way as I did 2020.
If I’m going to be serious about 2020, I need to buck my ideas up now before it’s too late. I’ve entered a few early season time trials, but haven’t even looked at any triathlons or run races (even the thought of a 5km parkrun makes me sick). What’s it gonna be Fisher?