5 Words

Is it possible to write – or even think – about anything other than that virus right now?

From day 1 both Joe and I had our heads turned by what we were hearing. Now, I’m not about to go down the ‘I told you so’ track as I’ve never really paid much attention to the latest big topic and it could have been something over nothing.

But it wasn’t. It’s here. Our lives are affected.

At first I was a bit disappointed when my races started to get cancelled but I wasn’t surprised. My coping strategy with everything is (in true scout behaviour) be prepared. Through preparation I pass through acceptance, usually quite smoothly as I’m distracted. And this works for me.

Knowing the effect this virus could have on Joe and not fully believing that kids aren’t likely to catch it I wasn’t one for taking chances. I pulled our daughter out of school when a bus load of kids and teachers returned from a ski trip to northern Italy and were at the school the day after. My decision as her parent. Had something similar happened at our sons school or at my work I would have taken the same action.

Joe has been told by his doctor if he catches this virus he will go straight to intensive care as he has nothing in his body that can fight it.

So yes – if I mention social distancing to you I AM FUCKING SERIOUS!!

I have been mocked and ridiculed by those who haven’t taken the situation seriously. I’ve seen the eye rolls, I’ve heard the back handed comments. I’ve chosen to respect your opinion on the matter and not ram my opinion down your throat but, eventually, it all got too much.

I thought I was coping with it. I actually thought it wasn’t something big enough to have to be coping with. But I was wrong. I ended up phoning Joe from work – I could only get 5 words out – ‘can you come get me’ – he knew instantly – ‘be there in 5’.

I spent 4 days in tears with a crushing elephant on my chest, not wanting to go back to work, not wanting to see anyone or speak to anyone, worried what I was going to do about child care, feeling useless because I should be at home with my family. I did every errand, afraid if Joe goes out he might catch it. And let me tell you – doing the food shopping when you have NO idea about food does nothing to calm you down. Every two minutes I was on the phone because I either didn’t know what something was (still don’t know) or where it is. But it has to be done, by me, alone.

I went paddle boarding with a friend down the river. I was in two minds but I checked with the centre who reassured me everything was sanitised and they were following strict distancing rules. It turned out to be the best therapy. I paddled off to the side whilst she chatted up the instructor. An hour and a half of peace and fresh air.

Back on dry land and the elephant resumed its position on my chest. All good things come to an end as they say.

The next day I tried a run. Running is my go to companion. Feeling down? Go for a run. Need to think something through? Go for a run. Make the tea? Order take out and go for a run. But I couldn’t breath. It was a constant stop start and it genuinely freaked me out. I didn’t want to walk as I wanted to get home. I couldn’t phone Joe because I didn’t want him leaving the house. A herd had now descended on my chest.

Then came the news. Lockdown. No non-essential travel. No work. Pubs, clubs, leisure centres, gyms all to close. You are allowed to leave the house once a day for exercise. You can go food shopping and you can get medicine. That’s it. This. Is. Real.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned my goals for this year. How the virus has put me back in training etc etc. That’s because it’s not the most important thing. (Did I really just say that?) Yes I’ve gone from 10 hours training a week to countless rest days and a pathetic attempt at a push up challenge but I don’t care. Not right now. I care about my family.

Of course that may change after 3 weeks of being locked up with them – we lasted less than 10mins in the living room all together yesterday morning.

Times are hard. They’re hard for everyone right now. But as I keep saying to our daughter, we are all in the same position. This is hard for everyone in different ways and we all need to respect that. For now, I will enjoy the time with my family. I will listen to the government and follow what they say. I will run when I can, turbo till the cows come home and maybe try the push up challenge again. Maybe.

On The Hunt

On The Hunt

My my it’s been a while hasn’t it! Life’s been hectic – a bit too over whelming at times – but things are easing up so hopefully dust settles. Things got too much at Christmas but we won’t let that happen again.

I did the New Years Day Tri. My nemesis of a race. And I’m pleased to report that my swim finally improved so that’s that put to bed! Highly likely I do it again next year though ha ha.

Joe and I also ran as a team for a leg of a relay race. I did do 2 recces but it turns out I’m not quite as good at map reading as I had thought. All was well on the day though and it was (almost) fun running with my other half. It definitely reminded me how much I love running on the trails and in the hills though. I miss it.

And now I’m on the hunt for a pool to do some actual swimming in. Lanes aren’t available for a decent length of time OR very often at the one I work at. There are times the pool even sits empty in between sessions and I think an awful lot could be done to improve availability but hey, not my decision. So that leaves me needing to find another pool to train in.

Last week my good old dad drove me to the next city to try one out there. My car was in for its MOT and I would have gotten completely lost on a bus. The experience of being in a car with my dad is somewhat similar to being a test dummy on the first try of the worlds most jittery roller coaster. In plain – my nerves were shot to sh!t and anxiety levels through the roof. But he was doing me a favour. I had to keep my mouth shut.

Unlike him of course who took great pleasure in telling me how brilliant and fast everyone else looked in the lane next to his dwarf of a daughter who was snaking through the water. Naturally, my dad claims he used to be able to swim like a fish. He’s more fish supper now however. With the mushy peas.

The pool was good. Not too busy. Friendly enough people. Very nice lifeguards. But could I heck find out how to get in the lane of my choice. And we won’t mention how I got out – oh god. Pulled myself right up on the wall with the diving boards and avoided ALL eye contact with every single person in the pool who saw me and had the clear expression of ‘what did she just do?’. (FYI – I think I was meant to swim across the other lanes to the steps. Whoops). Only issue with the pool is I wasn’t allowed paddles.

Today I tried a more local pool. So local in fact it’s actually closer to me than the pool I work at. It always has a lane for swimming though and I know someone else who trains there and she gets on fine with it. So I paid my £15 day fair (how much?!) and wandered in. Unfortunately I had picked the time when aqua aerobics was in so the lane was busy. I have never heard of this lane being busy – ever. Clearly I have a skill for identifying worst times to train! (Maybe I should put that on my cv). Anyway. Being the newbie I really didn’t want to annoy anyone so I waited and watched the other swimmers to determine a gap I could slip in to.

Now let’s be clear. I may be a swim teacher. I may be a coach. I may even have completed several triathlons. A ‘fast’ swimmer however, I am not. And never will be. I can swim until I’m wrinklier than an Egyptian mummy but fast just isn’t me.

So when I was still standing there a full 2 minutes later – baring in mind this is a 20m pool, not 25 – I genuinely had to ask myself if one of the blokes was just floating rather than swimming.

This was not going to be good.

Off I went though. Trying desperately not to splash the blue rinse brigade right beside me getting their groove on to a Tom Jones number. First hundred done and it all seemed ok. Second hundred however and it all went Pete Tong. And I’m not just talking about the music. One lady was lovely. Stopped at the end to let me past every time with a smile. Even the floating man was jovial and loved a bit of chat on my rest breaks. The third woman however, was having none of me. She was swimming (breast stroke arms and I think it was meant to be front crawl kick) and she wasn’t for letting anyone by. If you got close she went to the middle of the lane. She never swam right up to the wall she did a sort of semi circle turn thing. And she had a look of utter disgust whenever I was close. To be fair she was probably wondering what on earth I was doing. (It’s called swimming love!! Properly!) It really didn’t help when I pushed off the wall on a turn and practically ended up on top of her. I genuinely thought she was further up the lane. The final crunch however came when someone got in the lane and started walking! Walking! Up and down the lane. I had to admit defeat and give up on my set and just do what I could.

I got chatting to an elderly woman and she said she usually avoids when the aqua fit is on because you can’t swim. Any other time is fine. You also can’t get a space in the changing rooms or to put your stuff up and you can forget the cafe after. All points duly noted. Trust me.

After the longest 3km swim in the history of time I get out to get dressed. The showers amazing. It’s one of those powerful ones that I could stay in for hours. I’m not a fan of the gentle, trickle ones. Give me power any day!

The changing rooms are busy but it’s fine. It’s a bit weird when a woman walks in wheeling an actual suitcase with her swimmie in it but each to their own……

Also. There are a LOT of people who sit and put on full face make up in those changing rooms. Honestly thought they were all about to be going on tv or something. Me? I brushed my hair. Job done.

So where does that leave me? A 1 hour round trip to the next city to use a good pool but not always be able to use paddles. A pool on my doorstep that has good opening times, very clean changing rooms but only 1 lane and it’s 20m. (It’s also quite expensive). Nag my husband to either build us a pool – because obviously we have the space for it – or buy one of those nonstop pool thingies. Yes that’s it’s ACTUAL name, nonstop pool thingy.

I think the search will have to continue.

Next up on the race calendar is a sprint next month and I’m hoping to improve on last years time. I’m also hoping not to accidentally do 4 laps on the bike instead of the required 3. Wish me luck!