I confess that I’m feeling a bit worried, intimidated even, about Sunday’s “A Day in the Lakes”, triathlon. It’s a half-ironman in distance, but that’s just the start of it. The bike leg climbs Kirkstone Pass and Shap Fell, prior to a fell run with about 700 metres of ascent built in. So, it’s not your average half-ironman; even the really tough dudes in COLT give this race respect. I think back to my very first half-ironman – Wimbleball and Ironman 70.3 UK. This was almost exactly ten years ago, and although I’ve now done 14 half ironman races (including 2 DNFs) I can still remember the shock to my system that the first one gave. I crossed the line utterly beaten and was nauseous for hours afterwards. Even though I returned to Wimbleball twice more, I never had to dig as deep again until my first Ironman in 2009. So why should I be feeling nervous about Sunday? My running has been going well – I’ve been doing nothing but running up and down hills. The cycling is ok, not where I want it to be, but the distance should be no object. No, the problem is with my asthma. I’ve never had a spring like this. I had a cold at the start of May resulting in the usual “asthmatic” overhang, as I call it. But this time the cold and wet weather throughout May meant that my asthma persisted. I ended up back at the docs and on antibiotics for a chest infection. That’s cleared, but the asthma has continued to plague me. I’m now on a nasal spray as well as inhalers and it is starting to help. The big problem is that all my training has been at quite a low intensity and I haven’t dared to venture in the swimming pool at all – it irritates my asthma big time. So, I’m facing a 2000metre swim on Sunday in Ullswater with no training. It will be slow.
My only tactic, therefore, is to take this race at a conservative pace and look at the big picture. I have a flat and fast half-ironman in a month’s time before I start to build up for Ironman Wales. Wish me luck and pray for decent weather.