The new year had just began, I was laying in bed late one night scrolling through Facebook on my phone when a post popped up from 2014 adventurer of the year Sean Conway. It was entitled ’10 people who inspired me most in 2015′ and lo and behold there amongst the list was the smiling face of my very own little sister.
Elise is currently on a 5,000 mile run around the entire UK coastline (https://www.facebook.com/elisecdowning/). Every single day her challenge inspires me. It’s the sort of thing that many daydream about, most wish they could do and if I didn’t have a young family something I would love to do. Elise lives her life in a way that daydreams quickly become reality and this was exactly that.
One day while sitting at her desk in work she come up with the idea. She went home, did a small amount of research, told a few people about her plan and before we knew it she was off for 8 months of running.
I thought about my own sporting challenges for the year ahead. I have some pretty big ones. Winter Tough Guy is only weeks away, a London marathon PB is on the cards, I’m part of a team capable of winning the 3-5 category at Endure 24 and I’m planning on having another crack at running 100 miles in a solo 24 hour race but it’s all stuff I’ve already done before. I wanted to have my own epic journey.
Because of family commitments it couldn’t be a multi day adventure and I wanted it to be more than just running. Something that was going to really challenge me. One event stood out. Ironman.
I’ve always been envious of anyone who has completed an Ironman, especially the few I know personally. It’s something I’ve always wanted to have a crack at but with being so inexperienced at two of the three elements something I never thought I would. I’ve not sat on a bike for a good 15 years and I’ve never swam more than a couple of lengths of my local 25 meter swimming pool so even a regular triathlon would be a big ask at this point let alone the 2.4 mile open water swim, 112 mile cycle and a 26.2 mile run that make up an Ironman. That wasn’t putting me off though, if anything that was enticing to do it more.
I looked up the date (July 19th) and decided 6 months was long enough to get myself ready bearing in mind I already had the running part covered. I went with Elise’s attitude and thought of her motto she’s regularly been quoting throughout her challenge so far: “Doing a thing is a lot less scary then thinking about doing a thing” and signed up straight away.
I thought it might be hard to get into but within a few pushes of my iPhone’s buttons I’d not only found a way in but also committed to raising over a thousand pound for the Rotary charity in order to get the rather large £400 entry fee paid for and a tri suit into the bargain.
I then laid back, took a breath and tried to let sink in what had just happened within the space of 10 or so short minutes. It was gone midnight but I felt I had to share this news with someone immediately. I thought it was appropriate to text Elise and luckily enough she was also still up and replied straight away telling me of her excitement and offering to lend me her bike. (Oh yes, a bike. That might be useful).
The next morning I woke up wondering if I had had some sort of crazy, scary yet frilling dream but an email from the charity inviting me to officially enter via one of their places confirmed it was all very real.
I then got in contact with a swimming coach I know and sorted some lessons out and asked a friend if I could borrow his bike for some training as my sister’s was currently with someone else in Cuba of all places.
I write this three days on from that insane evening and having done a little more research I’ve realised on one hard just how inexperienced I am going into this by having to ask my swimming coach if I needed goggles and a hat but on the other feeling like I most definitely can do it from reading reports on other who have achieved the feat.
At this point thought I’m still yet to set foot in a pool or ride a bike so I’m very must going with the optimism is key way of thinking. My next post with come after I’ve ridden & swam so stay tuned.