As I enter my taper phase of the Double Brutal, I think it’s important to look back on the journey of the last few months and reflect on some of my personal achievements. This is something I recommend to athletes before they reach their destination. When I drew up a training plan for 2018, there was a very clear objective, but I also wanted to have a fun and challenging year of training. No matter what happens on Brutal weekend, I can look back and reflect on a great year.
So, here are my bullet point reflections on this year’s achievements:
· I have become an endurance athlete. I’ve done long distance events before, but every marathon or Ironman I’ve previously completed has been at the far end of my capability. This year’s training has taken me beyond that, physically and psychologically. Long distances no longer hold any fear for me, and that’s a really important wall that’s been knocked down.
· Unlocking the secret of the run/walk marathon. After some trial and error, and with a bit of will power, I managed to record a twenty minute personal best for the marathon simply by walking for a minute after each 3km of running. I feel like I learned how to do a magic trick.
· Stayed (relatively) injury free. With the addition to my routine of daily stretching, regular sports massage and yoga, I have remained pretty much free of injury throughout the year. As I get older, and add more workload into my training, this is of vital importance.
· I learned how to swim butterfly. Okay, this is not relevant to Brutal, and if I am honest, I can really only manage 50m fly, but this is a result of attending masters sessions this year to strengthen my swimming, and I have enjoyed turning my hand to perfecting something completely new.
· Trained with friends. I have had some really fantastic days out with friends as part of this long year of training. Highlights have been Ellerton swimming with Lizzie, the Brutal Recce weekend with Zoe and International Triathlete Lucy Burn, the Three Peaks run with John and Rebecca, and probably the highlight was the 26 lap “Normanton Marathon” when loads of friends joined me for the completion of my Six Day Double.
Reading that back, I can see that 2018 has already been a very successful year. I go into Brutal with confidence and excitement. But whatever happens over the weekend, I have enjoyed the journey.
So, if you are still here, my challenge to you is this: list three achievements of this year, and try to avoid just making a list of results and times.