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Operation Abba - The Reunion (Just #believe)
"Are you limited by your Challenges" or "are you challenging your limits"

I Live with a Neuromuscular / Spinal Condition and plan to 'Challenging My Limits' by undertaken a Swim, Bike and Run (well jog, well shuffle) at Ironman Kalmar in 2016.

In doing so trying to raise a few pounds for the Brain & Spine Foundation.

Monastic Swims and Lay Off.

DragonRunnerby DragonRunnerSep 6th 2014
So the event year has finished for me, considering all factors I have to say that there have been more positives than negatives. That is even with me withdrawing from what was one of my main races of the year - Outlaw Long Course along with a few half marathons. When I do look at the reasons there is no way I could have even started them. For a good few weeks I needed crutches just to help me keep my balance and really should have stop before I did.

The reason for the crutches and stop running (well shuffling), was / is not so simple, but may become a big issue is the strength of my lower leg muscles and more so in the right leg as there is increasing spasticity not only in the right but the left is starting. I now need a permanent Ankle Foot Orthotics, simply known as a leg brace. The last few weeks I have been getting use to them, and the comments (both serious and insulting) I have brushed off (but they still hurt, some comment you cannot forget). As AFO's are similar to what a young Forest Gump wore, the insulting comment of "Run, Forest, Run" I have so far managed not to let it get to me. A similar comment from those I know, where they change the name to my "Mike" I can see as recognition of the fact that I have not given it to this and use the positive energy to plot a return the Kalmar where just over a year ago I was taking part in Ironman Sweden. Plans are starting to be put together for 2016 return.

So after finishing the Outlaw Half (Middle Distance) Triathlon in the summer, and struggling to walk let alone run I was still able to swim, so was glad that I had planned a few long openwater swims. Some of which I have have been wishing to take part in for the last few years.

The first of these was the 14km Bridge to Bridge which is held on the River Thames between Henley and Marlow. With all the swimmers suited (and some hardy one without) it was still not certain that due to the weather conditions if the swim would go ahead. Thankful the weather that affect Ride London was in the distance and looked as if it may hold off. The deceision to start was a relief, and the first 4km swim to the feed station became a challenge in itself, with one of the heaviest rainfalls I can remember of recent years. Really could not see any swimmers around me, which is strange to think of the number of those taking on the challenge. Thankful by the time I reach the station it was deicide to continue as long as there was no more thunder.

Swimming in small pods was good, as you were able to push yourself with those of a similar speed. 4 hours 14 minutes later I arrived at the Marlow Bridge and looking back I really enjoyed the swim. Guess what I enjoyed it that much I will be going back in 2015, with a sneaky goal of getting under the 4 hour mark.

Next on the swimming calendar was the iconic Dart 10k swim, organised by the Outdoor Swimming Society and start at Totnes, and finishes down river at Dittisham. The two feed stations on the course are floating in the middle of the Dart which is for me an unique experience as for the whole swim you do not to find the bank and stand to feed. The swim went well and with a 10k PB finished in 3 hours and 7mins. One day I will return and have another go at this course, it is a well organised event with good safety cover and helpers at every available point. which made the swim enjoyable. Yes 14k and 10k swims can be enjoyable.

Next up for me was an open sea crossing between the Island of Caldey which is one of the focal points of the Tenby Coastline, the opportunity of swimming from this monastic island does not happen often. The weather was not best on the days leading up to the swim, but good fortune on swim day, the sun was out, wind dropped to an acceptable level. As this is a point to point swim, the swimmer assembled on Cathedral Beach, to the boat crossing across to the island in readiness for the crossing.

My season finish up with a swim at Langrose Lake in Brecon, and like Caldey this is somewhere that swimming is not allow, so another 6.5k done and a good swimming season.

The plans for the next few weeks is to learn to run again with the AFO, I have targeted the Nos Galan Race on New Years Eve as a return, and slowly building my leg strength up to this distance. But I will not give in and will continue to take part in Triathlon. I am enjoying my coaching with Celtic Tri and helping many other to complete their goals.

With my 2015 main goal set, the future is looking positive, after all it is only a one length swim of Lake Windermere, in September.

I thank everyone for their support, it really does mean so much.

Next stop for me - too learn to run again.
 
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