Inspiring a generation
I've just completed the first week of a training programme which, all being well, should get me in the best possible mental and physical shape to cross the finish line at Ironman Austria on June 30th 2013. I spent nine and a half hours in the pool, on my bike, or pounding the pavements. I spent another good chunk of time doing language homework. Not french or spanish as I'm pretty ok at both of those, but the language of training. I didn't have a clue about "zones" or different running paces. And there's a whole new vocabulary in the pool too. Fists, catch up, fins, tempo... I have some work to do, but I'm hoping to be a complete multi-lingual triathlete by next June. As for heart rate monitors, well they should come with clear instructions about exactly how you wear one under a sports bra. Let's just say it's slightly complicated!
Joking aside, it's such a relief knowing somebody else is keeping an eye on me, telling me what I should be doing and when, how hard I should be pushing myself and when I should hold back. I'm also really pleased that as well as friends and family, I have a huge support team of fellow nutcases behind me, in the shape of Knutsford Triathlon Club.
Each week more and more inspirational stories pop up on Facebook or twitter. Take Jo for example. I met her during a club half marathon in February when she told me that she had entered an Ironman for her 50th birthday a few years ago. I was a fan straight away! This year she completed Ironman UK and I've just found out that after a podium finish at Ironman 70.3 in Lanzarote, she's qualified for the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in her age group. This is a woman who couldn't swim three years ago.
I must mention Jeff whose positive attitude towards life is infectious. He's a multiple ironman finisher and encouraging beyond belief. But the most amazing thing? He's just donated a kidney to his grandson.
There's Warren, the ironman legend. I'm still yet to meet him, but Warren is already a hero in my eyes, having competed at the Ironman World Championship in Kona this year.
And then there's Clive who's over twice my age and only took up triathlon in May 2011, just a couple of months before I did. Clive has has had somewhat greater success than me though. A little over twelve months after his triathlon debut, the 66-year-old was representing Great Britain in his age group at the World Championships in New Zealand!
So, with all of this post Olympic talk about inspiring a generation, take a look around you, learn from others, regardless of their age and be motivated by their success. Most importantly, don't EVER give up on your dreams.