Thursday, 18 April 2013

Back in the saddle

When I started writing this blog it was all about improving on my race times, primarily by working on my running, and setting some new personal bests. What I didn't expect was to set a new personal best in the number of times I could get ill. So, if you're wondering where I've been over the last month, yet again I've been on my sick bed.

While I haven't missed any events this time round I did miss a good 10 days of training and, will I ever learn, trying to get back before I was fully healthy set me back even further. Despite being on a course of antibiotics for a chest infection I thought it would be a good idea to attend the club Sunday cycle a couple of weeks ago which involved a hill time trial.

Er, my saddle
This involved a leisurely cycle interspersed with racing up three hills, of varying distance and steepness, as quickly as we could. The first hill wasn't too bad, the second one almost killed me and the third one I managed to fall off my bike even before I started pedalling up it.Perhaps, in hindsight, it would have been sensible to give this one a miss.

My state of mind wasn't helped when during a post ride coffee the club chairman regaled us with a story about a member who had felt rather queasy during  a hill session, but carried on regardless, only to be hospitalised later in the day due to heart problems. The medical staff told him he was lucky to be alive and could have suffered major cardiac arrest if he'd decided to lie down at home. At that point I decided to head home for a lie down.

Two days later I was back at the Drs and on a further course of antibiotics. Contrary to what the Verve sang the drugs did work and I was healthy enough for the 20km time trial (on a relatively flat course) on the Sunday that has just passed. If I don't say so myself this was a lot more successful than the previous week and it seems that I'm just about recovered from my ailments.

And all in the nick of time as I have the final event in the EGTC Winter GP this Saturday, the club Sprint Triathlon. This involves racing against my fellow club members over a 500m swim, 26km cycle and a 5km run.

The weekend after this I have my first "proper" event of the season, the Sevenoaks Triathlon, which although still a Sprint distance involves a 400m swim, a 25km cycle and an 8km run.

While I'm not swimming quite at full capacity yet I'm confident my cycling will be up to scratch for these two events. But in terms of running, well, I think I've probably run twice in the last two months!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A truly black day for running

As you may have noticed I haven't posted anything for a few weeks but was ready to return with an update this week. While I try to keep this blog as lighthearted as possible it wouldn't feel right to gloss over the terrible events that have occurred in Boston.

 At the time of writing it is clear that this was a deliberate act of terror but there is no evidence suggesting who carried out this horrific act. To be honest I don't care who it was or what the purpose was. All I care about are the people who have had what should have been the greatest day of their lives turned into a nightmare.

If you have ever taken part in an event - whether it's a sponsored walk, a 5k, a marathon or a triathlon- or  have gone along to support a friend, family member or complete stranger then you know how amazing the atmosphere is. You see people of all shapes and sizes striving to reach a goal, which is probably why so many people feel inspired to take part in the event the following year or something similar. That goal may be beating a previous time, it may be for the personal accomplishment of competing the distance, it may be to honour a loved one or it may be to raise money for a charity close to your heart. It doesn't matter why you're there and it doesn't matter what the distance is, the sense of achievement is something that is impossible to describe and is individual to you.

Having watched friends take part in several events, as well as having done them myself, not only do you also get a feeling of pride for them but also for people you've never met before. As I've experienced myself having someone giving you encouragement (you don't know who they are and you're never going to find out) can be something you'll remember for the rest of your life. So it breaks my heart to think that all these spectators and competitors, regardless of whether they were near the atrocities, whether they had finished or still had a way to go, have had these emotions replaced with something a lot more sickening. And this is without mentioning the horrific life changing injuries so many people have suffered on a day that is all about hope, inspiration, achievement and bettering yourself.

It would be fair to say that getting into running and triathlon has changed my life. One of the main reasons for this is because of the feeling of community. It's a common bond I have with millions of people, with countless others getting involved everyday. As I've said, we come in all shapes and sizes, we do it for different reasons but we are bonded in an almost spiritual way. While any incident like this is always going to seem pointless I can't think of any strategic reasoning behind attacking my community. We're just normal people trying to be all we can be.

One detail that has particularly struck me is the report that one of those who died was an eight year old boy. He was there to see his Dad run the marathon. Apparently his mum and sister were also injured in one of the blasts. When I ran the Amsterdam marathon Mrs Trihard and Toddler Trihard decided to stay in the UK. On my return Toddler Trihard presented me with a picture of a stick man running with the words "Well done Daddy." While I was disappointed they weren't there to see me on the day that picture always brings a smile to my face and reminds me of what I achieved. I feel so sorry for this man who will always look back with completely contrasting emotions and will probably wish, unlike I did, that the family had stayed at home.

Anyway, my thoughts are not only with anyone that was caught up in the terrible events yesterday but all my brothers and sisters in the running community, whatever your shape, size or distance.

Love, hugs and kisses,

Mr Trihard