365 Days on

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Yes its been a year since I began this journey! I have trained for over 220 hours, in sunshine, rain, fog, cloud, extreme wind and darkness.  It’s been incredibly tough at times and occasionally even tougher than tough.  I broke once, I almost broke several times but I got back on track generally after a decent nights sleep and a quiet pep talk to myself.

The strange thing is I’ve enjoyed most of those hours, I’ve learned to not only tolerate the weather, I’ve learned to enjoy it.  Yes, when you look out the window and its raining, or dark or even just windy it seems really easy to tell yourself that you’ll make the miles up later, tomorrow, another day, but we all know that it won’t happen and when I do make the effort I find that I really enjoy being out in the elements.

There have had to be a number of changes though, the silly looking clothes that you see cyclists and runners wear, they work!  There is a reason people wear Lycra on bikes and synthetic shirts and shorts for running, they keep you cool or warm depending on the weather.  Winter kit is especially important, I have an Ultimate Direction ultra jacket for running – it was expensive, but it keeps the worst of the weather at bay in the driving rain and keeps me warm when its windy or cold.

Getting up early is still a hassle, and as I’ve been traveling a fair bit for work I have had the luxury of being able to do my session after work.  The Taranaki has been great for my hill sessions on the bike and running, not so good for riding on the flat however.

Sleep is really important, more important than I ever thought possible.  Its doubly so when you’re getting up at 5 to fit a 2 hour ride in before work.  The one time I melted down, was because I was just dog tired and pulled the pin on my run after about 20 minutes, followed by a slow walk back home, even though there was not enough time to go back to sleep, the 20 minute spa before I got ready for work was pretty good for the soul.

Losing weight is more difficult than I would have thought – after the initial quick loss of 6kg I’ve plateaued and cant seem to move any more, not helped by restaurant meals when working away and the fact that I’m pretty much always hungry.   Snacking has become a thing, finding good snacks that aren’t all sugar is more difficult than it should be.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself over the past year.  I, like most of us can overestimate my own abilities – most notably with the purchase of a really cheap, really fast, really impossible multi sport kayak – a real Dunning Kruger moment.  Sometimes however these overestimates have just been times where I was forced to push myself more than I would potentially have done if I had truly understood the ramifications of my choices, can you say 400+ meters climbing in the dark on a 90 minute ride.  I have also learned that where I think I will break is a lot less than where I will break, in fact I don’t actually break, I just get a bit slower and keep going.

There have been some truly fantastic moments though, my first sub 30 minute 5k was pretty good and my first sub 60minute 10k was even better – the fact that these were in the same week was pretty awesome.  Getting up French Pass was awesome, then seeing Jane’s and Chickens times on Strava was humbling.  Paddling my kayak for 3 hours (24k) was a bit of a milestone, hitting 8k in my sea kayak was also pretty good.  Going over 50k downhill was a rush, sitting at 40k on the flat was even more so.

Training for endurance sports is quite a selfish pursuit, its impossible to spend 3-4 hours a day on the weekend without impacting those around you, not to mention the fact that I’ve been tired for a year, distracted and hangry at times.

All in all its been a tough but rewarding year, having put in the hours I truly appreciate the efforts that Jane and Chicken put in when they are training for their events and am as always a little in awe of their tenacity and drive.  I am really appreciative of all the sacrifices that Jane, Chicken and Buddy have made so far and the support that they have given me to date, its been as much a journey for them as it has been for me.

Year to date:

Cycling: 1960km 80 hours

Running: 880km   110 hours

Kayaking: 210km 34 hours

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