What an honour it has been to be coached by Ironman and triathlon legend Bella Baylis.
I have always said that even the best coaches need coaches to help them get 100% from themselves, and just before Christmas 2018 I was given the opportunity to learn from one of the best.
I had already got myself across 10 ironman events with the help of some amazing coaches and friends , and managed to improve my finish times and performances at each event (apart from the injury ones) but I still had this burning desire to qualify for the Ironman world championships and I was starting to get the picture, I was not going to get there on my own!
So how much could a 10 times ironman finisher with over 15 years of coaching knowledge and experience learn from someone else?? ALOT and that’s why I reached out help.
Conversations started around the 20th December, sounded promising and I was ready to start my year with the right foot forward, but I was wrong, already.. Bella wanted me to start tomorrow! 21st December. I considered all the reasons why I thought it was best I started 1st January, new year, new start, give me a week or two to get back in the pool, the weather was ice and snow.. but like I said I was gifted with this opportunity so I said ‘yes, of course I can start tomorrow’ ‘oh, you want me to train Christmas day, ok’ I already knew there was no excuses I can have used!
The only good time to start something is NOW!
Week 1- Survived, wow, that was a rude awakening. For someone who is not afraid of hard work and gets up at 4:15am to go out an cycle before the rest of the world wakes up, this was another level. Running 2 times in one day, swimming 5 times per week, 10hrs on the bike.. indoors. Weirdly I was buzzing and was ready for more of the same.
Week 2- Smashed it
Week 3, Exhausted
Week 4- It smashed me. Not a single rest day in 28 days.. I was sure one was coming..
Week 5- Nope still training everyday and sometimes I’m now training 3 times a day
Week 6- Feeling good, found some rhythm and a pain threshold that I could just about sustain for the duration of each session.
Week 7- Smashing PB’s all over the place, new cycle FTP during a 90min training session, running nearly 40miles a week, my swims were getting crazy fast, I had beaten my fastest times for 100m, 200m, 400m, 750m.. I have found my flow (more of that to come) I was swimming further that I used to run in a week
Week 8- Bollox, my hernia that I have nursed for about 12 months has finally got the better of me. No time to waste and wait around, I decided, well pushed, convinced, forced to get it sorted so I can carry on training.
Fast forward 10 days and I have had my operation and slowly on the road to recovery. The surgeon said that most patients are back to 95% activity in a bout 4 weeks. Well, I am not most patients and my 95% is different to most, so I am taking every day as it comes. Looking at the bigger picture I know that having a few extra days recovery now will help me long term and allow me to reach my bigger goal.
So, I am laying here in bed, in a reasonable amount of pain and discomfort, telling you that shit happens, and that’s ok! It is not about what happens and what it stops us doing, but more about what fire it’s fuelling deep inside you. When I first realised that I needed to get this sorted I cried my eyes out, not because of the pain I was in but the realisation that my goals for this year were slipping away and that all my hard work over the last 8 weeks was going to be lost and I would have to start again, but it made me realise, I hadn’t just been training hard for the last 8 weeks, I have been training my whole life, even before I started swimming, cycling and running. Life gives us challenges all the time and one day we will need to call apon those moments to help us get through the next rough patch. So what ever you are going through or recently been through, embrace it and take the positive that you came through it and you will again if you have to. Don’t let one bad day, one bad training session or one bad life moment ruin years and years of your hard work. Your time will come if your persist and never give up!