New2Tri: We’re half way there + a bit – by Gary Glennon

Well here it goes write a blog on the New2Tri programme at the midway point (I know I’m late with that too) As Jack Reacher would say “never volunteer for anything”.

Hoping to do a Triathlon for the first time with literally no swim or bike experience, follow a ten week programme then Portlaoise, and then pints and celebrations at the after party complete with a glorious sense of personal achievement and bonding with all the really impressive and successful group of Triathletes.

Sure it will be easy it’s only a sprint triathlon I told myself not like those crazy half or full Ironmans those real serious athletes do. All good so far the hard part is done I had made the decision to sign up and join the gang.

Happy days for me TriTanium TC is right on the doorstep with great people, fit, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, witty, encouraging, friendly and chatty (honestly that’s how they pull you in for sure). Mostly I was impressed by the stories the B&B experts in the group the amateur Bakers and Baristas who got me to the start line. 

So a quick recap on where we are now. Our New2Tri group meeting in January had lots of people with similar goals a lot of nervous first timers, calmly introduced to the concept and enlightened by the 10 week programme and how following this will get us from A to B no problem at all.

Out we all toddled from that meeting, signed up and completed formalities registering, membership fees, measurements, new bits of kit here and there and all great value no doubt. Meeting new people trying to remember everybody’s names, thousands of WhatsApp messages and now it’s time to follow the plan, what could possibly go wrong!

The plan and reality – it’s really not just about cake!

 Maybe I focused a bit too much on thoughts of the after party! The mantra of following the plan and all will be well is often repeated by those that know so as always we listen to them.

So we all set out to follow the plan train 5-6 times a week, swim, bike, run.  The club sessions are brilliantly organised and the coaching is fantastic fairplay to Alan, Grainne and Joe for those and the member led sessions are full of stories, jokes and advice. The individual mentors are on hand to share their experiences of once being in the same place as we are now.

Any time I do an activity I always like to know the halfway point I suppose I feel that it must be easier from there as I have most of it done. So as we arrived at week 5 in the N2T programme for the first time it didn’t feel like that. Storms Allyah, Brendan, Ciara, Denis, Ellen, Jorge all seemed timed to ruin Sunday spins on the bike. January and February in Ireland expressing their disdain for best laid plans.  Thus leading to a few sessions on the turbo, but not as much fun as being out with the gang.

Swimming is my nemesis hadn’t really been in a pool for 30 years and that mainly involved bombing into the deep end and getting back out again. Long list of things to do in order to improve. I can’t even get the breathing right but the advice is always brilliant and everyone is so encouraging.

I was laughing at myself the other night I had 2 patches of beard rash on my shoulder on one side and halfway down my chest on the other side (proving that I struggle to breath on my left side). Every stroke is a challenge and perhaps it is the loneliness of the swim that you try to think of too many things. For the last 4 weeks I’m concentrating on breathing and getting my legs up and if I manage that I will have improved and after all that’s what this whole thing is about.

Running again 3 sessions a week maybe a Parkrun as well. That’s how I started back to activity after an intensive period on the couch a year or so ago. So running was the “easy part” but I hadn’t factored in the 45 year old body that doesn’t quite align with my vision of myself as an athlete. Pulled my calf on a slow run at the beginning of the programme and have had to carefully rehab that while getting in the other sessions.

By this time there are so many negative thoughts creeping in not enough done, no improvements to see, fatigue, fear of failure, will I finish the pool swim before the lights go out. Will I embarrass myself biking on a hybrid bike while others zoom by on hi-tech custom built feather light bikes? Followed by the trepidation of completing the run pain free and without pulling up. I see and hear from our group that I’m not the only one with these types of thoughts running through my mind.

So really there is time to turn things around the weather is getting better the sun is starting to warm the place. “The Stretch” in the evening brings its effects on us all. I/We are not the first to experience this challenge and that fact is what tells me I can do this. So we are back where we started follow the plan trust in the people who know and continue to believe in myself. We are so good to encourage others so time to feed off that and deliver.

No more negative thoughts positive mental attitude from here on in roll on the 4th of April and Tri-Laois. Can you imagine how much positivity we will have with almost 50 of us in action on the day?

Thanks to everyone in TriTanium TC for the help and support you are all fantastic I’m honoured to be a member of such a brilliant Club from the newest members to the more experienced heads you really do live up to the club motto Triathlon for Fun! (Do I get a slice of cake for that do I?)

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