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Bike Archives - A Familia Adventure

From Mom to Machine – The Big Day has Arrived!

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I’m not sure where to begin, it feels a little like I’m in a confessional; it has been many months since I last wrote an article on my training. But documenting my training each week got boring fast, I can just imagine how dull it must have been to read about it, except for a few sadistic friends who find their amusement in my discomfort – and fair enough. It’s laborious enough to actually do the training, writing about it every week seemed a little self-absorbed, and quite frankly lacked the passion with which I have tried to tackle this training journey. When I began all of this I wanted to give you a run down of what it takes to get an everyday mum to the point of ‘race ready’ for a half iron man, but you are going to have to settle for a nervous account of where I am instead… 2 days from the start line. I can tell you no amount of training takes away the nerves! Every niggle and twitch of a muscle begs for further inspection. And every free minute has your brain obsessed with logistics, nutrition, transitions and gear. I am all consumed.


But I will save you from my brains anxious misfires. There are things I have learned along this journey that might mean something to you. So instead of blabbing on about my current state of mind, here are my points to ponder and my lessons learned… Maybe some of it will resonate with you. Maybe even inspire you…


“We will never be as young as we are now.” These lyrics (from a song called ‘As We Are Now’ by Saint Raymond) rang more true than I wanted to admit. If we don’t grab today, and use it, we’ll look back on this time and say, “why didn’t I do … when I was young and full of energy?” I don’t always feel full of energy, but I am wise enough to know that’s not going to improve as I get older. This is probably the best I’m going to feel for the rest of my life. Scary right? So grab this moment, and the next, and do something you’ll be proud of when you look back.


Overcome the scary things; don’t let them stop you. “You swim 2km in the sea?? But aren’t you scared of sharks?” … I can’t tell you how many people have asked me this question. And the answer is YES, I most certainly am! But I am also scared of vehicle accidents and I still drive a car. It’s about focussing your attention on what matters. You can’t control everything, and this has been a great lesson for me. I was a nervous wreck the first time I swam any distance in the sea, to the point where I thought I would vomit from the nerves. The second time, it was better, much better. I panicked twice while I was in the sea and chuckled at myself when I looked at my heart-rate graph after the swim. There were 2 notable spikes and I know exactly what I was thinking when they happened. My third sea swim was better again. The spikes this time round were from pushing hard, not panicking hard. It’s about getting into a rhythm, almost a meditation while you swim. You focus on what you know will get you to the end, when doubts creep up you silence them by focussing on what matters. It’s an incredible exercise in silencing your thoughts.


It’s easier than you think to turn into a hypochondriac. I’ve always liked the fact that I have a pretty level head. I’m a good person to have around in a crisis; I don’t panic. When it’s not a crisis however, I know just how to get myself into a knot. Shaun has documented my transition from nonchalance to quivering wreck over something as commonplace as a shin splint. This little terror that took hold of my leg was enough to send my once chilled mind over to the dark side. Fear can creep up on you when you’re not looking, and most of us aren’t. Recognising your fears for what they are, giving them due thought and then dismissing them is an important part of the process. Letting every ache after a training session throw you into a fit of worry is unwarranted, and needs checking at the door.


It’s embarrassing to admit, given my age, but I have never really tried this hard or trained this much for an event. I am as much afraid of failing as the next guy, and for most of my life I have let this stand in my way, not wanting the judgement I thought trying might bring. What I’ve realised is when you start trying, and you actually get into it, the journey becomes enjoyable. It doesn’t make race day any easier, and I still feel compelled to ‘race’. I’m not sure exactly who I’m racing, I’m certainly not going to win, but I feel like I’m racing an idea I have in my mind of what I should be able to do. But what I’m trying to say is there is so much enjoyment around trying; in the preparation and the camaraderie, that despite being fraught with nerves, and having a stomach made of jelly, the experience is exhilarating.


Having said all the above, I might say something very different on Sunday after the race! But I’m hoping not. I’ve put a lot of myself into this training, but not more than I had to give, and I think that’s made for a balanced last couple of months, and a positive outlook on the experience. Here’s hoping the weekend is as fun as the training has been! …. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

From Mom to Machine – But Still a Mom Too # week 2

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After commencing my training program with all the finesse of a rhinoceros, I tentatively stepped into week 2 reminding myself not to get carried away. After all, this isn’t a sprint. And thank goodness for that, because after seeing what my sprinting legs had in them, I was in for a rather rude awakening!

Week 2: Entered into feeling pumped and ready for some harder sessions.

Monday saw a weights session at the gym, but it was short and fleeting. Spending the morning working and the afternoon driving the kids around doesn’t leave much time for a long session of anything.

Tuesday was just as busy, and when Shaun and I finally managed to leave the house and head for the gym it was 5pm. With kids in tow and a swimming session lined up, we got them in their swimming togs too and stuck them in the pool with us. We didn’t have many options. We had to fit in a session, so arming them with boards for kicking, we set them adrift on the edge of our lane and the 4 of us went about our evening training. Despite the distraction of having them darting in between us and playing porpoise in the pool, we had a great session. It was fun with the kids, and it takes the seriousness out of the training, which I always enjoy! Stopping for a hug and a smile reminds me what’s most important.

Wednesday was biking. First day back in the saddle since the Argus in March! It hurt. My muscles weren’t accustomed to the churning of the peddles and the hill sprints left me doubting why on earth I was undertaking all of this. Every time I watched Shaun shoot off ahead of me on a sprint I cursed that I wasn’t a male. It’s frustrating to always be left in his wake, even when I am training as much as he is. I cannot compete with my husband – he is a poor choice in competition partner. But I can’t help myself. I’m constantly comparing apples with pears.

Thursday I hit the gym hard, doing a weights class that leaves me with the distinct impression that I have legs made out of jello. The instructor (think Demi Moore in G.I. Jane) leaves no muscle un-touched and walking down the stairs after her class is always undertaken with much care and attention, lest my legs crumple beneath me. Unless you’ve been in this position yourself it’s hard to comprehend the exhaustion you are faced with when doing something as mundane as washing your hair. I had to assume a position with my head somewhere near my naval so my hands only had to reach shoulder height to accomplish the task.

Friday. Rest day. I needed it.

Saturday had me ambling around the school field for the kids mini-walk at school. I can hardly call 2km’s training, but I suppose it was a bit of a leg-loosener, and in Shaun’s wise words, your body only gets stronger when you rest it.

Sunday was run day and it was awesome! I hit the hills for a bit of stamina and endurance training, and I sang my way through 15km’s before meeting the family at the beach for a leg icing session in Llandudno’s frigid waters.

Thoughts on conclusion of Week 2: I’ve got to own that I’m female, and forget the injustice of having to train twice as hard to go the same speed as a male. I have hips, boobs and significantly less testosterone. I’ve got to be proud of my own times; I’m doing this race for me.