He didn’t know it was me in the pool

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As it’s my first blog I’d better explain myself, where I’ve come from and where I hope to go. Buckle up, it’s going to be a long one!

By no stretch of the imagination am I an athlete…my friends refer to me as a modern athlete but that’s usually straight after I’ve done something semi athletic and then I’ve taken the good out of it by eating my body weight in chocolate and Doritos!!

I’ve just changed my career from the horse racing industry (where I’d spend all day everyday riding racehorses and making my best attempts to stay on over enthusiastic yearlings) to being a journalist…I write features. While Carrie Bradshaw and Lois Lane might have made it look glamorous when you come from my back ground of the great outdoors and the constant need to use your physical strength you can be left finding something lacking…..that is where the quest for Iron Man comes in.

Now when I say I’m going to do it I mean it but even I know it won’t happen over night. I’m 40 with a body that has sustained so many injuries that on my recent visit to the chiropractor/physio he said he’d never run out of room on his form before….he did also say that I’d pushed my body to the absolute limit but sure they all say that….they just don’t want you to add anymore injuries to the list until they’ve sorted the ones in hand!!

So I’ve had to learn to swim which brings me to the subject of today’s post. I learned as a kid, my dad eventually just threw me in the pool at The Panmure Arms Hotel in Edzell and told me to swim to the edge. It wasn’t pretty but that’s how I’ve swam until now. Head out the water doing a form of breaststroke. Sadly neither that pool nor my father are still in existence but I will never forget that day.

My next attempt to learn the front crawl was in Clonmel Park by a guy named Lukas ( Iron Man) he kept referring to my fingers as fingies…I just didn’t take it seriously enough.

I tried once or twice since then but it never worked.

Then I met Joe King, he was teaching a strength and conditioning class in Shoreline Bray and I kind of told him I wanted to do Iron Man. As causal as you like he just said yes that I should and that he’d done it, I’d be well able. I’m not sure if it was a good idea or not but we put it down as my goal. I signed on the dotted line so now, yep I’m going to have to do it!

I had my first swim lesson in Shoreline Bray with Corinna Nolan (Iron Man) at the end of December…..the woman has the patience of a saint! I was dreadful at the start, most lesssons were spent choking after swallowing half the pool. I was ready to give up during nearly every lesson (Sophie my swim partner had to talk me down sometimes, I was so frustrated) I was sick of swallowing chlorine and other people’s pee. Water flushing back down my nose, spewing out my mouth, it is the most unflattering sport I’ve ever learned and I think it’s safe to say I resembled a drowned rat by the end of it!

Most of the time I spent fighting with myself in my own head, what on earth makes me think I could do this? Well I’ve worked that out now…..   I can do this because of all the people I have met who have done Iron Man there is not one single thing similar about them, they are all shapes and sizes, all have different attitudes and different sized bank balances. The only thing is that they said they were going to do it and they did, so why can’t I? Also might I add that having the ability to laugh at myself has gone along way but it’s not mandatory, I’ve met a few IM’s who are zero craic!!

I’m writing this blog mostly because I’m a writer….it’s kind of what I do but also I have the most amazing friends who give me nuggets of info that I feel should be shared. Because if like me you’re doing this on a budget or without a club or without a background in running, cycling or swimming then you’ll know that those bits of info or support mean everything, why shouldn’t i share it?

The intro was always going to be a long post so thanks for hanging on to the end, next blog will be about my first few events….I’m a triathlete now would you believe?!!

I’m leaving you with the best thing that’s happened to me swimming so far. So I was in the pool today just swimming around…up and down….doing my thing like proper swimmers do (it’s rare it goes this well for me!!) and when I stopped Joe was by the side and do you know what he said?? ‘I didn’t know that was you, I didn’t recognise you!’ Ek!! Would you get a load of that?! I’m a swimmer…..not yer wann choking and snotting in the pool anymore!!!

AND…..tomorrow is my first ever sea swim…….Corinna’s patience is about to get tested to the max!!!!!

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