My first ever DNS through choice...
When I was planning my events for 2017, a 70.3 in June sounded like a really good option.
I've done the distance a number of times before, and it would provide a good target as I move from Crossfit focus to more aerobic endurance for the Coast to Coast.
The race was in Edinburgh, so would be combined with a short holiday and an opportunity to look around the city.
When training started, I had the difficult task of getting my swim stuff out, and re-joined my local Tri club swim sessions.
As expected, I was rubbish, they were challenging and I can't say I enjoyed them - but I did see pretty quick progress and within a few weeks I was able to put in a 2500m session in the hour.
Riding was pretty strong after my Mallorca trip, so the 56 mile distance wasn't the issue and I was able to regularly put in 30-60 mins on the air assault bike we have in the gymthat really does help the cycling strength work. In addition my running became more regular and combined with more consistent stretching and sports massage, I felt my running form coming back and more surprisingly I saw speed improvements in my basic pace.
To put the icing on the cake, after a couple of swim sessions I started sea swimming again, which I actually prefer to the pool sessions. I would meet up with a friend of mine who was training for the Channel swim relay and we would go for a timed dip.. me in my wetsuit, mad Matt wearing only trunks!!
Over the couple of months, we definitely noticed the sea warming up - going from 20 minutes in 11c (Ice Cream head... breath takingly cold at first) to 1 hour in 16c (cold, but no ice cream!)..
Ready, Able, but willing??
As we got nearer to the race, I knew I'd got the miles in, but I wasn't feeling any excitement. A review of the course in more detail showed it to be a cold swim.. hilly bike... challenging run... so a PB was highly unlikely.
I knew I would finish (barring injury or mechanical) but I was struggling a bit with "Why do I want to do this?"
I could have just said - a great training session for C2C... but I wasn't convincing myself.
When we arrived in Edinburgh the traditional summer weather of rain, wind and more rain didn't help with my motivation. Research had shown the sea would be really cold... just over 12c and the forecast for the day was 20mph NW westerly winds and strong chance of rain.
When I went to registration on the friday, I was expecting the anticipation and excitement to kick in..but it didn't.
I was among a throng of excited triathletes, looking at the ironman and triathlon gear, but I just wasn't feeling the love. When I registered I asked about the process for getting my bike to the transition on the saturday as it was about 12 miles out of Edinburgh, only to find there wasn't one. Having only taken part in a couple of similar races with split transitions and both of those times I have been in a car, I was a bit disappointed as I realised that without a car, my options were:
1. Cycle to the transition and get a bus back
2. Get a bus/taxi to transition and back
3. Try and cadge a lift.. either way.
This additional issue made the seemingly simple process more complicated than I wanted.. and as I walked back to our B&B I was weighing up the pro's and cons of taking part.
Friday evening I made the decision not to race...
I've done the distance before.. a number of times before... I have nothing to prove.
I really don't like swimming in a cold, cold sea.... (and then spending another 5 hours freezing cold..)
I wasn't convinced my road bike set up was right - since riding on my Cross bike, the road bike just hasn't felt the same..
I STILL hadn't sorted out my nutrition plan for a race... my training hadn't reflected race conditions at all.
Overall, I was thinking that if I took part, I just would not enjoy it.. and I should!!
So I dipped out.... didn't even start.
And the good news is that since making the decision, I haven't regretted it at all.
On race day, the swim was cut by half due to wind/waves and the cold... While disappointed for those taking part, I was so pleased!)
I've unofficially "retired" from Triathlon - all my swim kit is already in the loft... The fact that my wetsuit has more holes than an edam cheese makes a return to swimming unlikely unless I buy a new suit!
It means I can remember my last Triathlon with happiness and pride - a really great event that had the most horrible sea swim, but redeemed itself with a 70.3 PB bike and run and overall PB!
I guess the point of the blog is that sometimes it is ok to say no..
I don't want to do this... I don't need to do this...
As soon as I'd made the decision I felt a weight lift.. while in Edinburgh I really enjoyed the short holiday, I went running a couple of times and since I've been back I have really focussed on training for September..
Aaaand.... I'm getting closer to having a tried and tested nutrition plan in place!!