Words by Will Pakes-Geddes
“Middle age is the most depressing time of our lives, according to the Government's wellbeing survey,” I hear this comment on the radio this morning. Do I need to start stuff in my life to ensure that it’s not me?
Signing up for the Weymouth IRONMAN 11th September 2016 the full thing no half measures. Nervous yes, daft yes, depressed no, mind in the right place? I will get back to you. Avoiding a middle age slump? Oh I hope so.
People have said: “have you done a half IRONMAN”? "Nope" I respond. “Have you done many triathlons of any distance?” “2 sprint distances” I say. I’m getting a few raised eyebrows for sure.
Well the money has gone from my bank, the email confirmed and friends, colleagues been told so it's basically now get your funk together and get training.
Over the next few months I hope to post updates as to how things are going, what I am doing and the kit I’m using to get me not just to the start line in September, but to the finish line and achieve a goal that I had thought I would never do.
So who am I?
Let’s start as I was a while back. Basically the sports I enjoy usually meant sitting down at the top of hill and getting to the bottom quickly. Kayaking, downhill mountain biking, the only real exception was climbing. But then the Olympics happened and I was inspired, seeing so many people compete, enjoy and watch in amazing sport in this country got me thinking. The 'Boss' (my wife) entered me into a ballot to run at the Olympic stadium in 2013. Great idea I thought, but I cannot run! So over 3-4 months I got up and went out and learnt to run, learnt how to control my breathing, learnt to enjoy the pain to a point, learnt that after the run, the endorphins set me up for the working day ahead. I learnt to enjoy it. The run at the stadium was amazing by the way. Gave it high hands coming down the last 100 metres.
So how do I get from 7km to 44kms (26 miles) and then to an IRONMAN well for me it has just been building slowly and this year my challenge was by Christmas cycle 100 miles in a day and run a marathon. Both of which I have ticked. The talk first started in the office “fancy a half IRONMAN next year?” “Well seen you have started the reply was why not do the whole thing?” Mmm ... well that's an interesting thought but it's a long way! Anyway I thought and thought and then someone said you’re 40 next September treat it as a birthday present. So I’m in.
What have I done well this year it's been a steady build-up of km’s for running from using a Strava training plan for a half marathon to then completing the training plan for a full. It’s taken me from 10km to 22, to 42 with no injuries, so far so good.
I own an old Specialized Allez road bike which got me round a 100 miles on one of the Wiggle Sportive rides in the New Forest.
Neither of these are fast times and nor will I aim to train for speed in either as I need the endurance to get me to the end of 3 gruelling tests.
Now here is the crux I can swim a bit. 30 mins in a pool with a few goggle adjustments, a few time to catch my breath and that's me done. I went to my local triathlon club for a swim session and got told to not wear baggy shorts and “you don’t swim do you?” Umm no “that’s why I'm here”. Well it put me off, but I will have to bite the bullet take some hard lessons and feedback and get putting in some distance in the pool. Meanwhile waiting and looking forward to some sea swimming in the Spring.
So can I do it?
Well the plan is this, train first thing in the mornings from 5.30am get back showered, get 'Boss-2' ready for Pre-School, maybe run, ride into work approx. 8km, work, run ride home a few times per week. However most important is that I don’t let this get in the way of family stuff. Training is fine but it's important to not let it get in the way of life?
Work here at Wiggle towers is full on I’m surrounded by some hugely talented and passionate people so the support to get out and enjoy sport is all around. Over the next few months I want to introduce you to a few of these people and for them to share some stories of endurance challenges they have done.
Below is the kit I am or have been using. I am not a super technical person, do not care for the latest and greatest or want to understand if this wheel is lighter stronger faster than the other wheel. As long as it works and lasts then I am usually pretty happy so will give some feedback and let you know what I think.
- Animal surf shorts. (Retired sadly soon)
- Topo Fli-Lyte Shoes (AW15) (Read my review on the site)
- dhb running top and shorts (For the price this stuff is amazing value most importantly not smelly after 6 months of good use)
- Osprey Rev 6 Hydraulics Pack (Amazing packs!)
- Garmin 220 forerunner & HRM (I have a lot to learn on Heart Rate Zones)
- Petzl Tikka head torch (Never used another brand of torch)
- Old Specailzed Allez (A bike just to get out and ride. Not flash and does the job)
- Wiggle staff team spandex kit
- dhb R1.0 Road Cycling Shoe (Good value shoes lasting well).
- Tacx Satori Smart Trainer (Indoor training is dull, but learning all about Sufferfest)