Quick article written for a local paper:
Well, that was a wild winter! Mild yet stormy. Many sporting endeavours have been affected with water logged pitches, windy conditions stopping play and cycling or jogging impossible either from strong winds or the roads being closed with trees down or flooded. It’s been a test of sporty dedication for many. Jo Carritt, who I’ve mentioned before, has new rules for her training- if water goes over the pedal of her bike, she turns round and finds another route- only by experiencing getting stuck in a long stretch of flood that she waded through mid thigh did this change occur.
People have joked that I must be among the few to be thriving in all this excess water to train in, but alas, the sea has been dangerously rough and the water quality dangerously toxic. A 10min dip in 5’c water on a calm day last week left my stomach a little delicate not through cold but due to the storm drains pumping out all the run off and over flows into our coastal waters. One of the many joys- building a healthy immunity as a necessity.
But train we have. Finding a way around flooded roads, taking the chance to jump in the frigid winter sea when it’s calm enough briefly between squalls- these acts of almost defiance define your ability to go beyond normal perameters. A lovely quote of captain cook- ‘do just once what others say you cannot do and you’ll never pay attention to their limitations again.’ Stretching what we think we can do lies at the heart of most peoples aspirations regarding fitness- the first jog may be a walk around the block but with determination you may find yourself training for a marathon for charity.
I’ve found my way around the lack of sea swimming and still aim towards my summer goal of swimming the 26miles from Cornwall to the Isles of Scilly. It’s an audacious attempt- no one has completed the swim yet but I have not found any reason to believe it’s not possible. And if I don’t know it’s impossible, it must therefore be possible. Squeezing in training sessions around work and motherhood are all part of the sports psychology that get you places. Training at home in the evenings instead of settling down to watch television- feeling exhausted before hand and elated after; choosing to go further than before, see what’s round the next bend. An enormous sense of self worth builds up eve before you get to an event at just having made time for your sporting passion. Time carved out for yourself.
I don’t advocate everyone suddenly deciding endurance events are for them, but learning begins at the edge of our comfort zone; and I believe life is all about learning. It may be just a stirring of feeling cooped up with all this wind and rain, but why not embrace the elements and be invigorated by ploughing to your front door and being part of it all…. And at the end of the day, you really do earn your hot chocolate and piece of cake!