this is the longest spell that i have been located in one place in the last 3 years! apart from a 10 day trip to Morzine in july, and a week in Tenby this spell in taunton has really given me a chance to establish a some great training routines and set up a few 'projects' both at home and in the local community.
at home my small scale agricultural projects have delivered disappointing harvest but useful learning experience and real enjoyment. Actually i am quite proud of my slow-starting chilli crop, though desperately jealous of my neighbours far superior tomatoes. they really DO need to be watered everyday, apparently. Needy things!
since it'll be a winter ( mostly) here, my next project is likely to be the construction of a 'cold' frame and of course the home-brewing!!
outside of domestic life i have been enjoying the chance to get more involved in the local triathlon community. with steven having been away quite a lot through the summer, it has been nice to have some company in my week and although the great proportion of my training is still solitary and specific, and during working hours there are a few club sessions that i have tailored into my own schedule. this is partly about access to facilities, part about suitable training company and motivation during tough weeks and part as a way into the local scene, which will be of real benefit through the winter and also, ultimate to my coaching business.
i do not make any attempt to push my services whilst out training with the clubs, but i am now coaching four local athletes as a result of getting to know people, sharing the experiences of my triathlon life and sometimes a little advice. whilst the work is still mostly done via email and online, it's nice to see these guys and girls out and have first hand experience of their training routes and environment.
i'm not quite sure how it happened, but i must have had a quiet week or afternoon and seem to have taken on the tasks of setting up and delivering a couple of beginners courses in conjucntion with Tone Leisure and the Somerset RC Tri club.
you may have seen my Facebook page for The Taunton Ladies Cycling Club (do me a favour and "like" it, please!!) - this started off as an idea in response to a lack of a slower club ride more suitable for some of the girls in the club, and has developed into a combined bike skills and fitness development course with one of the personal trainers at my gym. She offers a special fitness spin class during the week, whilst i run a 45 min session covering basic bike handling, group riding and a few mechanical tips before leading out a very gentle (for now) short ride. our hope is that after the initail 8 week course, we have established a network of local ladies of similar ability who will continue to meet on a sunday morning to ride together.
meanwhile, more triathlon specific and aimed at a slightly more advanced level, myself and another of the Tri Club's enthusiastic members , Sarah are in the process of finalizing details of a 12 week " triathlon for beginners and improvers course" which will commence in November, after my return from Challenge Cape town. This is not intended to be an advert (although I WILL write up some details on this too in due course!) but i suppose it's a demonstration that if left unsupervised, this is where my attentions will tend to wander.
it's not very PRO-like, I know, and i have been criticized for taking too much on (true at times) and "giving too much of my energy away". whilst it's possibly true that i'm creating more distraction in my life than is good for my training and racing performance, it's clear to me that i have a need for this type of project and involvement. This was true back when i was in Tri London, too - i quickly became not only the race captain, but one of the club and committee's key active members. It could be i'm just a busy body and want to see things done my way, but i think that there's a lot more to it than that. whilst being the best that i can personally be in this sport, is important to me and i am motivated by this in itself, there are other reasons for my commitment to this career, and one of them is being able to motivate, advise and even inspire others. Satisfying this provides the balance that is required in my life to enable me to train hard and race well.
It has to be said that since giving up the day job, traveling the world and chasing the dream of being a Pro Triathlete, It;s a whole different scenario from being the star of the club and being rewarded with accolades and trophies after each race. I'm not only finding renewed value in what i can offer and how i can influence others by sharing my knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for the sport, but also gaining a sense of having found a place in this new community. it seems that, despite generally being regarded by those close to me as fairly anti-social, there is a level where i need to have connections with people.
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