The danger of entering events in a state of drunken euphoria

It is with a growing sense of trepidation that I await the coming of a triathlon this weekend.

The Half X is Set in the glorious Lake District it features a 1.9km swim in Windermere, followed by a quad-burning 90km bike ascending 2,800m (9186 ft) over the big three Lakeland passes, Kirkstone via the 'Struggle', Wrynose and Hardnott, in both directions and concluded with a 21km run around the stunning Fairfield Horseshoe ascending over 800 m (2,600ft).

Organisers claim it to be the steepest and most gruelling 'Half Iron' Bike section anywhere in the world. 

I entered after a few glasses of wine following a half-decent performance at Abingdon Marathon last year. I was, in my mind, invincible having thought I had finally broken the cycle of being a lazy bloke claiming to be an athlete.

But now my trepidation is not around the horrific physical challenge of the event but the mental challenge in knowing that once again I have failed to live up to a promise I have made myself.

You see, I pulled out of the event two weeks ago. I finally accepted that I am probably not fit enough to complete the event, or if I do, will seriously putting my body through the mill.

I am not a good swimmer – cramp has laid me low for too many years – but I am also a very average cyclist even when comfortable on the flat roads of Oxfordshire. Some friends from Oxford Tri scoped the route and, despite being among the strongest cyclists in the club, came back with horrific reports of their struggle up The Struggle and its pals.

I'm a decent runner and the trot around the horseshoes was appealing but realistically, after completing that bike course, my quads are likely to be as useful as a chocolate fireguard.

So I bottled it. I realised six months ago I needed to put in some mega training with reps of Blowing Stone and maybe a trip over the Cleeve Hill in Gloucestershire. But, as is the norm with me, I didn’t follow through with my plan.

So my trepidation is that I must look myself in the mirror and face the reality that after 10 years of triathlon I have barely improved and failed to challenge myself significantly.

Where’s that wine….

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