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Hampton pool - triathlon

My knees have been playing up this year. I ignored the problem for ages which probably means it is taking longer to recover from. It seems that the cause of the problem is my glutes not firing properly so I am doing lots of strengthening and activation exercises, along with a six week total break from running starting back in June. The timing meant I had to defer my Chicago Marathon place because there just weren’t enough weeks to train for it, and so I entered the Thames Turbo sprint triathlon instead, just to have something to look forward to. And what a great decision that turned out to be.

I’ve been at Greenbelt Festival this weekend where I did a talk about my book which seemed to go down well. Entering the tri meant leaving the festival early yesterday evening, getting a shuttle bus, train and tube home, and then getting up before dawn this morning to cycle over to Hampton to collect my race number and attend the race briefing at 6:15am. I was most worried about the swim, not having done a pool swim before, but I was 375th into the pool in a field of 435 so there was plenty of time to see how people coped with setting off every 15 seconds. The organisers mix waves of fast and slow swimmers, with the youngest and fastest going first and a final fast wave at the end, after mine. I finally got into the water just before 8am. My swimming needs more work, especially under pressure, but I didn’t disgrace myself. The bike leg is on local roads not closed to traffic but there was very little around that early on a bank holiday. And then a final two-lap run in Bushy Park to finish off. It was an incredibly friendly and well organised race, and there was a great sense of achievement at the end. It’s eight years since I did a triathlon, but I expect it won’t be as long before the next one.

I got quite emotional at Greenbelt telling my story, which took me by surprise as I’ve told it many times now. I think it’s because cancer is no longer at the front of my mind, and I’m in the privileged position of having moved on from the summer of 2015. I’m immersed in my job which I am really enjoying and have lots to look forward to. I haven’t revisited it all for a while, but clearly when I do there is still lots of emotion there. That’s no bad thing. It makes me realise how far I’ve come, and how grateful I am to be where I am.

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