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In the Zone

I don’t know what happened to Training week 11. Was I so “in the zone” that I didn’t even notice a whole week’s training? That happens in the pool. The rhythm, the splish and the splash, the patterns of the light on the pool floor, every third stroke coming up for an easy breadth, keeping the rhythm going on the turn  – so much easier turning once every 50 metres than the seemingly constant touch, duck, push in a 25 metre pool!

They are the spawn of satan: 25 metre pools. Who ever imagined that 25 metres would give a suitable swimming experience?

I used to live in St Albans and they had a servicable 33 metre pool. It was old and not beautiful but it did the job. They then wanted to upgrade the facility so they made it new and shiny and put a rock climbing wall in the foyer and reduced the pool length to 25 metres! How is that an upgrade?

Now they have a pool that is no better than most of the pools already in the area and so the yummy mummies and nannies and au-pairs and retired people have coffee there and all the serious athletes come to Inspire in Luton, because the folks in Luton have brains as well as trollies! #rantover

Anyway, back to being “in the zone”.

So it happens in the pool: it also happens on the run. My favourite moment in any race is that moment you go past the 7 mile marker when you were expecting to see the 6 mile marker. Oh happy days!

Of course I then start to panic and try to work out my pace… have I drifted when distracted? Too slow or too fast? Have I blown my chance of a PB? But after a few moments of mental arithmetic I usually discover that my body is so well trained that, when my brain went AWOL, something inside clicked “on” and churned out the miles at bang on race pace: GET IN THERE!

Mental arithmetic is probably my favourite pasttime when racing. I sometimes use an app on my phone for shorter distances but anything over a 4 hours and there is no point because the battery on my phone dies! So I am left to work out what is happening using the position of the sun, my grey cells and the odd mile marker – much more fun!

It is then, when I am in mid-calculation, that the miles seem to go quickest. Just as I have worked out one calculation I have another to check it by. This impending full triathlon could end up being a 13 hour sum!

Where I am not able to switch off, is on the bike. Maybe (hopefully) this is mainly a combination of the terrible road surface we endure around Bedfordshire, the unfriendly road and track design and the other people I share the road with. If I switched off on the bike, like I do in the pool or when I am out running, I fear I might not ever switch back on again!

So I fear that, come July, I am going to be truly aware of every single one of the 112 miles that we will negotiate around Northern France on our bikes. I only hope that their roads will be better – I hear they are!