Another year gone. Fortunately turning thirty-five has not had an impact on my performance, if anything I climbed the Pyrenean cols better than the day before. Perhaps I am reaching my endurance peak!
Training in France has left little free time. There’s a gulf between my home camp earlier in the year and the work being done in the mountains; time scales and effort are on a different level. Daily fatigue saps mental and physical energy, I’m unable to achieve much in my spare hours. I wonder how I survived Epic Camps when this Iron Camp is so tiring. Is there room to do more? I’ll find the answer in August.
I don’t have the focus to write a training camp review nor complete the Ironman pacing blog I intended. I’ve made excuses and as it’s been my birthday indulge me in a brief contemplation of the year that’s gone.
Had I the money I’d continue the travellers lifestyle, but as it stands it is good to be settled. I’d like it to be drier and warmer, but being days of long haul travel from my family isn’t appealing. Wanderlust remains and a long-term objective is achieving the financial freedom to satisfy it. For now I’m happy where I am (though may grumble about the weather).
The biggest transformation this year has been coaching taking priority over competing. A casual job has become full time employment and provides sufficient income to support my needs. The success, and speed, of the transition took me by surprise and whilst I’m not complacent I am confident I’ve started a successful career.
It’s about more than funding my own lifestyle – there is a group of athletes relying on me to help them achieve their goals. Some want to break 10 hours at an Ironman, some are starting out and appreciated that I come from a non-athletic background and some even think I talk sense about training. Whatever their reasons working with a mix of athletes has taught me a lot and my approach continues to evolve.
The real test has started; weekends are packed with racing and results follow. So far so good. There have been personal bests and goals achieved, but most importantly lots of athletes happy with performances and keen to see where they can go next.
Only my performance at ITU Long Distance Worlds stands out; Kona was a failure by the standards I set myself and I’ve not raced since. But this is a positive post and whilst I’ve been quiet I have been working. The cycles of my training are well recorded, but I’ll note again the improvements on the bike. The Pyrenees has confirmed I am that much stronger than I was in previous years.
With running being addressed and swimming limited by motivation at least I’m confident that the coming year can see me return to good form. A positive.
So I have a work/life balance again and I’ve made progress in both. The year has gone well, taking me from an unsustainable, leisurely lifestyle to the beginnings of a long-term career. It remains unconventional, provides a different set of challenges and is deeply rewarding for this. I have five and ten year goals in mind, but I’ll save comment for future birthdays.