Bring on the bricks!

Shelly Beresford -

It’s been a little while since my last update, but fear not, as always, training in some form or other has been going well… err, was going well that is until disaster struck! (Well not disaster, but a little setback).

There’s six weeks to go and I’m not ashamed to say I’m terrified. Terrified I tell you. I was fine, well not fine, but doing OK, having a go at the official training drills for the swim that the London Triathlon team had emailed round and they were pretty good, and I was getting on OK. More than OK, I was actually doing quite well and swimming quite a long way – compared to where I was – and then I did something and I couldn’t move my head.

My super-duper boyfriend had a look, prodded and poked a few of my very sore muscles, tendons and whatever else that connects things, he went on to put my head in some funny positions and finally declared no proper swimming for a while!

It’s important to point out, he wasn’t being all husband-like from Victorian times; he’s a physio and is rather knowledgeable in the area of aches and pains, so occasionally I do listen to him! Official diagnosis was my sore/stiff neck was a mixture of cycling with a big back pack, poor swim technique and (most likely) being in front of a computer all day and having office workers posture. Not a great combination. I was prescribed stretching and more carpet swimming before getting back in the pool.

So with swimming on the banned list I started on my ‘bricks’. Those in the know will lecture me that at seven weeks out, brick training should have been underway weeks ago as you really need to prepare for these. And on some levels they would be right; however I’d counter argue nothing is going to prepare me fully, so at least I’m doing them now!

Bricks, for the uninitiated (which includes me up until a couple of weeks ago!), is the combos in triathlon, bike/run or swim/bike, but basically I understand it to be working on two disciplines in one training session. I’ve now officially had a go at the proper bike to run bit, and its aptly named, brick-like is how my legs felt during that first couple of k’s, but more accurately, lead-like – bricks would have been lighter to lift!

Spinning class and then a couple of k’s on the running machine is nothing like cycling, dumping your bike (or carrying it up to my balcony) and then running up to the common and back. Luckily, I won’t have to carry my bike up two flights of stairs in the actual race, so the transition should be a little smoother…

Anyway, bricks aren’t that fun. Not that I expected to be a riot, but perhaps a little party-like. Although when I’d finished, I did have a sense of wow. Just a little one, but one nonetheless. I did then proceed to lie on the floor for the next 30 minutes however; I think I even whimpered a little. But the bricks must go on, and I’ve more sessions planned, one this evening in fact – you’ll hear the whimpering from afar I’m sure…

I do have some good news though – despite the neck, continual aches and pains and constant reminder I should consider taking some kind of supplements for my joints – my lovely run home Wednesday partner signed up to do the triathlon with me, which spurred her crazy husband to also sign up. I now have the sense of not being alone on this journey and being able to share my pain with fellow beginners.

After seeing crazy husband on Saturday night, I now have renewed open water swimming fear. Proper fear. He is pretty amazing and has smashed various physical challenges over the last few months, however, he had a practice triathlon a couple of weeks ago and the swim panicked him – this guy can pretty much do anything – listening to him talking about how terrifying the swim was has left me feeling pretty damn scared. The only thing for it is to have a go, so fingers crossed we’ll be taking a lesson together in Shepperton Lake this weekend. It’s the only way forward. Onwards and upwards, stroke-by-stroke, together we'll rule the world (or lake!)…

I am taking part in the London Triathlon on Saturday 27 July on behalf of ABTA Lifeline, a small charity that helps people who have hit rock bottom in the travel industry.

The charity helps out in all kinds of ways; for example it has supported a lady who is unable to work full time having to care for her family and disabled partner. The family desperately needed new carpets in their house and a car suitable for the family and a wheelchair – this may seem quite insignificant and a small need, but if you don’t have the money then getting an award to help pay to have the house carpeted and a deposit on a motability vehicle, is huge. I don’t think one can really understand what it’s like to deal with a situation such as this, until you’re in it, and having the strength to ask for help is incredible. Having someone there to listen and offer you a hand is even bigger, and that’s what ABTA Lifeline does.

If you’d like to sponsor my efforts and can spare a few pennies for ABTA Lifeline, please donate via my Just Giving page. [

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