No rest for those in training…

Shelly Beresford -

No rest for those in training...

It has been quite a long time since my last update, but as always the training hasn't stopped... well perhaps the physical stuff did but I have been constantly thinking about it, constantly, and everyone needs a little holiday..!

So the last time I checked in I had just been left bike-less and with the on-going realisation that triathlons are hard work! I am happy to report my new trusty steed arrived, and I do still have the realisation that triathlons are hard - even more so in fact...

My fabulous new bike arrived a couple of weeks before I went on holiday, and it’s red and it’s shiny and it’s awesome! And that's the extent of my bike knowledge, but for all you bike geeks out there it’s another hybrid, but it’s a sports version and it is quite light due to its aluminium frame and err I have a very cool bottle holder, that's it; I'm out of bike knowledge!

It came to the office and with a little help it was road ready and I left with worried glances at my enthusiasm and the fact it was rush hour and I was cycling in central London for the first time in months! However, with a promise to text when I got home and a smile on my face, off I went. It worked out well and I was only a little bit scared!

I took a slight detour as I couldn't turn right at one stage by Vauxhall, but I stopped, crossed over a pedestrian crossing and continued home! Cycle commuting isn't the best way to prepare for the bike bit of a triathlon as it’s really stop-start; however I hadn't been on a bike outside for such a long time I had to start somewhere. And it’s really shiny! I was able to get in a few longish training sessions before I jetted off, and I can once again confirm Richmond Park is just glorious this time of year.

I've been lucky enough to have some time off and travel around Vietnam in the last couple of weeks. But fear not, in between the amazing street food and visiting beautiful Pagodas I managed a little swim training and even a run!

On the stunning island of Cat Ba we anchored down for a few days and I got to spend a lot of time in the hotel pool and the ocean - it was 40 degrees and humid most days so it wasn't hard! The pool sessions were all about technique and working on my legs, and believe me they need work. My current technique apparently looks like I'm drowning! I say this is a step forward; at least I have a technique!

My boyfriend once again stepped into coach mode and had me doing a lot of lengths correcting me constantly; this wasn't annoying at all! Although, to be fair, it was probably more annoying for him than me, after all we’re in paradise and he's stuck in a pool watching me flailing my arms and legs like a demented monkey! It was then time to tackle a very choppy sea which was a great introduction to not being able to see the bottom or in fact anything when you have your head in the water!

The choppiness helped me to start breathing on both sides which is important as in the triathlon there will be bodies everywhere and I'll need to be confident in being able to breath left and right. It was also impossible to see anything and was quite disorientating, which I imagine swimming in the Thames to be. I was able to practice focusing on something directly ahead and follow that line, or correct myself to get back to that line. It was really hard going and my shoulders felt it afterwards!

A couple of days on the island meant quite a bit of swim practice, which was great as I was earning my afternoon ice-cream - much like my chips policy; I could only have an ice-cream if I'd put in the time in the pool/sea!

I also managed a little run whilst 'relaxing' on this stunning island! For anyone who's familiar with Bikram "hot" yoga, imagine that but instead of performing lovely yoga positions, try running! I have to report, I only did this once and I now know why I didn't see one Vietnamese person running in my time there and only a couple of bonkers Westerners.

So I'm back and due to plumbing problems at home I have been ggrrrr-training for the last couple of days. I had a 90 minute grrrrrr bike ride last night and an excellent grrrr session in the pool this morning! I can now swim 200m without stopping! A huge milestone seeing as the triathlon is nine weeks away now.... eeeeeppp!

So why am I doing this?

Apart from my obvious mental health issues (e.g. being completely bonkers) I am doing this to raise awareness and hopefully a bit of cash for ABTA Lifeline. It's a difficult charity for some people to relate to; Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation for example, are both charities that have huge awareness and no issues explaining why they exist.

ABTA Lifeline is a small charity and it helps people who have basically hit rock bottom or somewhere near there. It works on a smaller scale, for example it’s recently purchased a washing machine and fridge freezer for a family that lost their home because they couldn't make the payments and with that went all their basic valuables that the majority of us take for granted. So by buying them a washing machine and fridge freezer when they were finally rehoused, ABTA Lifeline in a small way changed their life for the better.

And that may seem insignificant to you and I, but to that family it was massive. And that's why I'm doing it; if I can raise a few pennies for ABTA Lifeline to make small but significant differences to a few more people's lives then it’s a no brainer - even if I have to swim in the Thames. THE THAMES. I have to swim in the Thames! Oh crumbs...

If you'd like to sponsor me and help raise some funds for ABTA Lifeline please see my Just Giving page.

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