How Triathcheat Started

You know when your entire life falls apart and you lash out in strange directions? That's what I did in January.

Some time between Christmas and New Year, possibly motivated by a lot of cheese and a certain amount of Port, I decided to set myself some challenges. 

So I signed up for a half marathon. What I originally thought about signing up for was an ultra-marathon, possibly the Liverpool-Leeds Canal 130 miler (because I know people in both Liverpool and Leeds who would provide beds and showers, which seemed practical) or the Robin Hood 100 in Sherwood Forest (because the reviews said it was a flat and good "beginner" ultramarathon). But they both seemed quite boring, lots of nothing but road and tow path (I know what you're thinking: Really, the 130 mile Liverpool Leeds Canal Race featured a lot of tow path? Tell me more about the strange and unique way you see the world) if I'm going to be running I don't want to be pounding away on concrete alongside a perfectly good bus. Also I hadn't drunk that much that I was hallucinating I could actually go from Couch-to-100 miles in 9 months or less, if I had drunk that much I probably wouldn't be able to type well enough to fill in the entry form

I was reading lots of blogs about trail runners and when I looked I found the Hardmoors White Horse  Marathon. Which sounded like fun, but was only in April and since I didn't want to go for the no guts no glory approach that leads to heart attacks and early knee replacements I decided to book a place on the half marathon course. 

April seemed very soon though and I wanted something to carry me forward and to look forward to in the year.

I considered booking a holiday or planning that sort of adventure, but given everything that happened last year I fancied being a bit more of a homebird in 2017.

So I signed up for a 100 mile bike race. The Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool race has been going for years decades and it lets you cycle through the Queensway Tunnel, which seems like an excellent thing to say you've done. That was my thing to look forward to then, not until July- half a year away.

Then I did something I maybe should have done before signing up for the White Horse half marathon, I went for a run. I googled it and worked out a slightly odd route from home to a nearby church and back again was 5k. Put on some trainers, set the timer on my phone, filled my head with thoughts of how all that cheese and port meant I was a well stocked larder of potential energy just waiting to burst out.

Reader, I suffered.

I'm smiling, but if you look into my eyes I'm wondering what I'm doing.

I did it, in 37.47 minutes and with a lot of groaning, followed by lying on the floor and contemplating how maybe cheese isn't the greatest base for a food pyramid. But I'd done it, in an amount of time I don't think is terrible for someone who never scraped above a C- in PE and has spent a great deal of time devoted to building a life that doesn't necessitate moving any faster than typing speed unless being carried.

I kept running, being outside and seeing the year come to life was a nice way to spend my time, but realised in February that a half marathon in April was never going to happen, plus drunk Joy had not considered how I was supposed to get to a muddy field in the middle of North Yorkshire for 8.30 on a Sunday morning, so I emailed the organisers and let them know if anyone else wanted a place they could have mine as due to "unforeseen circumstances" (trans: I didn't think this through) I wouldn't be able to make it.


So then I was really glad I had my 100 mile bike ride because  I know I am pretty sure I can do that, I have cycled over 50 miles in one go many times before and regularly cycle 20-odd miles for funzies. But it was niggling that I hadn't done the running, especially since I carried on going for runs and discovered (believe me no one was more surprised) that I didn't hate it. 

Endorphins. Runners' High. They exist. Like actually, it's not just a mass delusion or total lie that crazy people who spend too much money on trainers use to justify their craziness.

Still got the crazy eyes, but now it's a better sort of crazy.
I looked around and found the Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon which wasn't until the end of July, it was sold out, but a quick poke around online turned up a nice lady who had a place she didn't want on the half marathon. 

Perfect! Start the month with a long cycle ride, end it on a run. One month of exercise and adventure and pushing my limits.

Except I started following Sean Conway on Twitter who's into the ultra-triathalon adventures around the coast of Great Britain, so my brain voiced the fact that cycling and running are two thirds of a Triathlon and I had all that empty time in the middle of July where I wasn't doing anything. Again, I turned to my dear friend Google. Turned out in the middle of July there's an open water swim event in the Lake District...

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