Elspeth Logan likes swimming in a nice warm pool, hasn’t been on a bike for 20 years, and occasionally jogs slowly along the flat. So she couldn’t be better prepared to do a triathlon in aid of the Foundation. She tells us how her training is going.
I was mindlessly surfing Facebook one evening when I saw an invitation to enter a triathlon on the Isle of Lewis this July. It is its inaugural year. Hmmm… I thought. OK, how hard can it be really (as I poured a second glass of wine and swept the crisp crumbs from me!)?
So, the Heb Tri 2016 is a 1.5k swim in Loch a’ Bhaile , a 40k cycle from Shawbost to Callanish and back up again, and a 10k run around Bragar.
Exactly, how hard is that?
Swimming – check. I can do that already. But in a nice warm pool. With the benefit of turns and pushing off the wall and stopping to check that my goggles fit properly and having a wee look around to see who else is in the lane and wondering what is for tea…. Not sure about a loch, as they are deep, dark and full of kelpies, but that is where the swimming part is. I checked the loch out on Google earth. It looks dark. Very dark. I put that aside for now.
Cycling – I have literally not been on a bike in 20 years. I have always claimed to hate cycling. I had a bad crash when I was small where I fell off my bike at high speed and scraped my face along the road, getting concussion. I had to drink using a straw for a week. I think this incident may put me off. I dislike going downhill, gravel and high speed. But hey, that is all in the past. There is a new-ish bike in the shed. And I have legs, two of them, so all I need to do is stay on the bike and keep pedalling for about 2 and a half hours, right?
Running – sometimes I can make my legs move faster than walking pace. My love/hate relationship with running began when we were living in Co. Wicklow. I worked in an office that involved a long commute and eating too many biscuits at tea break. I needed to exercise. At first I would only run downhill, when no one was watching. Since Wicklow is remote and hilly, this was no problem.
Then, after we moved back to Uig I used to slow jog along flat Reef beach when I got a chance and it wasn’t raining. When no one was watching. Again, no problem as Uig is remote and the beach is flat. Now we live in town. There are the Castle Grounds. They are a bit hilly. And Bragar, where the running section is, is flat, right?
I told my partner that I was going to sign up for a triathlon. He looked at me sceptically…’Riiiight…okaaaay. Really? Do you know how far it is?’ I explained the logic of the above and he said no more.
That was 4 weeks ago. I have since looked up how to train for a triathlon on the internet. Swim one day, cycle one day, run one day, have a rest day. Repeat. Build it all up. Near the end start adding them together, e.g. cycle then run. So again, how hard can it be? I thought.
There is something called ‘transition’ (I have skipped that bit for now). I have also bought new running shoes. I went into the shop in town with my youngest daughter while the other one was at Brownies. There was a choice of two pairs in my size, so I chose the ones that were comfiest. They were also the cheapest. They are also unfortunately purple, but it’s still my kind of shopping where the choice is small. I am usually very indecisive.
I have upped my cycling from 0 miles, to 4 miles, to 8 and then to a heady 16 miles! I calculate that this is still less than two thirds of the distance I need to do. I have a sore bum. I order cycling shorts with a padded bit, but they are really ugly. I wear them anyway.
I get up early and go out and exercise as that is the only time of day that I can fit it in. Before the kids get up. Before my partner goes to work. It is also the nicest part of the day and my favourite. There are also fewer cars on the road.
Before all this started, I used to drive up behind cyclists and huff and puff because they didn’t immediately move in to let me, The Car Driver, go past. I now know why. Sometimes there isn’t space to pull off the road. Sometimes I am just trying to get to the next passing place, as I am on a single track road. Sometimes, if it’s windy, I haven’t heard the car behind. Then, when I do realise there is a car behind me, I get a fright and wobble. Sometimes cars beep as they go past to say thank you. This also makes me wobble. I do not do this to cyclists anymore. I have become much more tolerant of other road users.
Sometimes it’s raining and I don’t feel like going out at all. Last week, it was raining hard and I didn’t want to go out, so I thought cleverly that I would go to the gym instead. I was there at 7.10 am. It was Wednesday and the sports centre doesn’t open until 8am on a Wednesday. I did not know this. I drove home and went out on my bike anyway.
Out along the Pentland Road I see bog cotton and skylarks. I am beginning to see why people like cycling. Linda liked cycling. I think of her sometimes when I go on my bike. My mum liked cycling too. She had a racer and was part of a cycling club in her youth. I think she would appreciate my efforts too. I think of her as well as the wheels turn and the day begins.
This week, I went for a run and got lost in the castle grounds. I was looking for the river and didn’t find it. I found a gravelly hill instead. I kept on going until I found where I knew and then ran home. It was not A Good Run. I forgot to use my inhaler. I’m in denial of being mildly asthmatic.
My partner demands that I bring my inhaler out with me now when I go. I have discovered that I run better if I actually take the thing before setting off! I am in denial of being asthmatic and I struggle mentally with my incapacity to breathe properly sometimes. Only sometimes. There are worse things to be and to have.
My aim is to finish the course and have fun doing so. I am not ‘in it to win it’. If I can manage to get to the end in one piece, I will have achieved something amazing for myself and hopefully raised some money for the Foundation as well.
We always tell our kids that it’s the taking part that counts. This is true for adults as well and I want to show mine that it’s not always important to come first.
If you would like to support Elspeth in her Triathlon please visit her donation page.