Shelly’s ultimate challenge

Shelly Beresford -

Realisation hits, hard!

So I had a reality moment in the gym last night, triathlons are hard. Triathlons are really really hard. Forget what I said before about cycling and running being an achievable goal, triathlons are hard. And I’m actually really quite worried that I might drown, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

I have recently had a lovely holiday with friends who know a lot about triathlons, one of them used to do it pretty much full time and his equally amazing and crazy wife used to do them for fun! It is on this holiday I learnt about blowing bubbles for the first time.

When I said I am a terrible swimmer, I really wasn’t exaggerating, blowing bubbles is something you learn as a child in your local pool, for some reason I didn’t and now I have to learn as an adult, preferably before I get into the Docks!

So here I am on holiday, and at Geelong’s Eastern Beach with my friend – we’ll call him the Bubble Master – trying to keep my head underwater and blow bubbles. We were wearing wetsuits to demonstrate the fact that I will be kept afloat when I’m in the Docks, but this didn’t help me at that moment in time as I kept floating up to the top of the water, making my bubble blowing rather difficult as the floating was giving me the giggles!

The Bubble Master is a kind and patient soul, and my very first swimming lesson did eventually continue and he has given me some great tips to practise on my own, as well as some instructional downloads to study. By all accounts my first swimming lesson in 30 years was in open water and didn’t go too badly, however it was at this point I realised I had a long way to go.

So with the Bubble Master’s lesson in the back of my mind, I got back in the pool last Sunday for the first time since I’ve been back from holiday; a silly head cold had put me off up until this point; and it didn’t go well. Getting my excuses in early, I didn’t really want to go swimming on Sunday evening, it was pretty cold and I was pretty tired, but I know it’s important to get going and so I went.

I did ten lengths – 250 metres – the pool was packed and I was getting quite grumpy about all the people, so I swiftly left which made me quite cross with my lack of focus! So it was back to thinking about the bubbles rather than blowing them.

A new day meant a renewed sense of motivation, so I went to the gym last night and decided to test out my current triathlon skills, big mistake. Huge mistake. It is too early to test where I am, and now I’m in reality! I cycled 7.5km (the race is 20km) I ran 1.5km (the race is 5km) and I swam 200m (the race is 750m). Rats. The conclusion, I have a loooooong way to go. A long long long way to go.

However, whatever journey I’m on, it’s definitely worth it. When I got back from holiday ABTA Lifeline’s Director, Trudie had just found out one of the people she had been helping had passed away, she’s not sure how or exactly when, but she had been speaking with the person for most of last year.

From the outside, it seemed the person needed financial support, but also someone to talk to and that’s what Trudie had been doing. I think she was probably checking up on them when she didn’t need to either, just because she wanted to. From my perspective and without knowing anything about the person or their challenges, it seems that ABTA Lifeline really helped them and gave them support both financially and emotionally when they needed it, and that’s what makes the charity special.

And that’s why I’ll conquer my fears, and fitness levels, and swim in the Thames.

In conclusion, the training must go on! It’s Run Home Night tonight with my friend Anne, a much better weekly challenge that gets me from the office to my flat, a good nine+ mile jaunt that kills me, but is, right now, preferable to putting on my goggles… snow or no snow, wish me luck!

You can sponsor Shelly through her ABTA Lifeline Just Giving page:

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