Sunday, 7 June 2009

merseyside mission

Having distributed my baggage from Lanzarote trip in various locations around London, catching up with club mates as well as the guys at Diadora (who are sponsoring me by way of some free shoes to review for tri247) and a brief visit to Somerset, it was straight up the M5 in mum’s little purple Nissan Micra to Merseyside. The last week has been spent on an intense painting and decorating facelift project of my Nan’s old house, which has had the sh*te kicked out of it by various short-term tenants since she passed away 2 years ago. During the recent 4 day heat wave we’ve done a head to toe job on the place, and I’m now sitting here using paint cans for furniture having just whipped up an improvised meal of steak and marmite sauce followed by angel delight (a Lanzarote throwback) – whisked up using a fork in the electric drill. The steak and marmite sauce is a bit of a revelation, actually – it’s bloody delicious. The marmite goes all sticky – just like the stuff that’s on Twiglets. Actually, I think that’s what it is, isn’t it? Imagine how many Twiglets it must take to make a whole jar of Marmite- I’m surprised it’s not a lot more expensive. Anyway – that’s irrelevant. The point is that after 7 days of pretty hard physical work and inhalation of paint fumes, 4 of which were accompanied by a pretty nasty gastric upset, I’m spending my last night in the house and looking with satisfaction on a vast improvement on the place that we walked into last weekend. Though it’s not exactly been restful it’s been a complete, and necessary, break from life as a triathlete. Scott had scheduled a week in which I’d have returned to fairly solid training routine by now, but with limited knowledge of local facilities, 8-10 hours of work each day and being ill really made that unfeasible. So, whilst acknowledging that Scott really does know what is best in theory, I know that the added stress of trying to cram 3-4 hours a day in would not have done me any favours and just tried to get one of his sessions done each day, amounting to about 10 hours this week. The break has done me good – I don’t feel tired when I have managed to get out and have renewed enthusiasm for it.

Having spent many holidays here as a child, I am fond of this area. Despite a slightly ‘rough’ appearance, it’s a very friendly part of the country; with struggling and run –down but decent, cheap and very well used facilities and some great locations. This evening I met with Alex – a distant Tri London member temporarily living in Liverpool – and his girlfriend Becca for a run along Crosby beach to see the Gormely installation. A fantastic piece of public art –a typically eerie display of probably a hundred cast metal figures arranged on the shore, looking out to sea, static as the incoming tide swallows them up…An additional treat this evening were the flocks of swallows (or swifts?) flying in massive swirling formations over our heads. The noise of hundreds of thousands of beating wings was astounding. I certainly had the feeling that I’d feel pretty happy spending a longer period up here, if this house ever came available to us to occupy – a reasonable possibility given that Mum’d do us a mate’s rate ;o) Reckon I have my work cut out convincing Steven though, who is convinced that living on a peninsular would limit his cycling repertoire too much.

Getting back onto the triathlon related stuff - I cant help wondering whether I have unusual difficulty in recovering after a race. Speaking to Alex i was staggered to hear that he was out performing very hard chain-ganging session with his local cycle club, and swimming 5k sets just a week after Ironman Lanzarote. It really does seem to take me much longer to get back training again, with distinct muscular fatigue and racing heart at even a moderate amount of exercise for about a week following the race. This is also the second occasion that I have been really quite ill roughly 2 weeks after a race. I am beginning to conclude that this is likely to be largely attributable to a sudden change in diet and lifestyle, specifically where alcohol is concerned. Which in turn is likely to relate to the mental pressure of the control that training towards an event has over my life – I suppose I’m a characteristic all or nothing type. Whatever it is that I may become involved in, I tend to get ‘on a mission’ with it, becoming totally absorbed and obsessed with doing it the very best that I can. This has generally worked to my advantage through life, but the flip side is a constant level of stress which I have learned to manage, but not without certain tensions in other areas and the occasional need just to derail and denounce responsibility for a period. In this case the behaviour could be proving damaging to the longer term goals, and it may be worth tempering it. Or maybe not - perhaps the sickness response is my cue to regain control, focus and get back on the case with renewed vigour. Having wrapped up this latest ‘mission’ I’m certainly really ready to resume my life as a triathlete, though I'll be taking the beer that my mum owese me on my return (and trying to get bargain for a curry too!)

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