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"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.

Should I laugh or cry?

DragonRunnerby DragonRunnerMay 23rd 2013
First off, I really need to start this blog off by apologising to everyone for the standard of spelling in some of the blogs specially the last one (but no promises that it will not happen again). The reason is simple, it is a mix of correct auto and me not checking before posting.

So what has happen it the last few weeks. The high was completing the Swimathon 5k, with a pool PB. The low was really thinking I had met my "Waterloo", even before the season had begun. This was due to what I consider to be my good foot giving way whilst on the Sarn Helen Sportive, a few days after the pain was off the scale and I need to use crutches to get around. This was a time where I really had to dig into my mental reserves as at one point all that was going through my mind was that the season was over, I did't know at the time "should I laugh or cry". At present I feel "as good as new", this was helped by a bit of Becky Magic, hopefully this will be the last time this happens.

However as the saying goes " No matter how many times, I break down, there is always a little piece of me that says; NO, you're not done yet. get back up" As I have said in other blogs the reason I am doing this is I want to be able to get up, it would be too easy to give in.

So over the last few weeks how has training for Kalmar gone. Other than about the 10 miserable days it took to get the pain back to a level that would allow me to train, it was actually going well. Before anyone says anything about training and having pain not been a good thing. I do not know anything else, I have virtually some level of discomfort in my legs, back and arms all the time, for me this normal.

As for the training, it's the wet stuff first.

What is now becoming an annual event for me is the Marie Curie Swimathon, the worlds largest fund-raising swim event. For those who do not know "Swimathon provides motivation and a personal challenge to swimmers nationwide. As Duncan Goodhew MBE, Olympic gold medallist, London 2012 Ambassador and Swimathon President states it also offers a goal to train for, a target to achieve and a great cause to support.�. It takes place in numerous pools across the UK, and I use the swim as motivation for winter training. Once again I took on the Individual 5k distance, the same as the previous 3 years. Over the last few weeks leading up to the event, swim training was not as consistent as it should have been (concentrating on other disciplines).

From the start I was feeling at easy, and the lengths were getting tick off at a consistent pace. What was important for me was how strong I was feeling, and was able to maintain a constant pace all through the 200 lengths of Penlan Pool in Swansea. The finishing time of 1 hour 36:50 set a new PB for a 5k pool swim, so you can imagine how I was feeling. As long as the date is right for next year than 5 in a row is a possibility. Overall the swimathon experience was a good one and I feel on track for where I want to be for with the Human Race Speedo Eton 10k Openwater Swim this weekend.

The rest of the swims over the last few weeks have been split between the pool and Openwater, with the latter becoming the main swim venue. It has been really good to see the number of swimmers regularly training in North Dock, Llanelli. The group which is now known as the North Dock Dredgers, is part of Celtic Tri. It is yet to get to the end of May and there are up to 30 swimmers in swim sessions at a time. All helping each other to build up confidence and openwater swim skills. I feel proud to be part of this group, and may it long continue.

The bike is going similar to the swim, for a good number of sessions I have been working on speed, these include club TT session and solo rides, and Yes I am seeing some benefit. The biggest ride over the last few weeks as been the 80 mile Sarn Helen Sportive, which has a few good climbs including the Black Mountain. There seems to be a pattern forming here as with the Swimathon I was really pleased with how it went (even with my foot problem), as I managed to complete the course about an hour faster than a few years ago.

I cannot continue to go on about the bike without a mention to those who have given me much needed support, with advice on riding style, waiting at the top of hills (some coming back down to drag me up to the top). There are so many, I do not want to upset anyone by missing their names, but here are a few that really do need to be mentioned : Rose and Terry Jones, John Nicholls, Adrian Peters, Gary Davies and Paul James, there others so thank you.

As for the running well there is not much I can say, what I have managed has been enjoyable (I think that's the term), and is an improvement, just need to consolidate this over the next few weeks. The improvements are largely due to the encourage of run coaches Andy Bartlett and Paul "Sid" Wilkins who put up with me in their track session. Another group I would like to thank are the Junior members of Celtic Tri who shout out words of encouragement as they pass me (numerous times), thanks.

Again what is becoming a annual event is Llanelli Sprint Triathlon, for many the first openwater triathlon. Well done to all Celtic Triers (specially the novices) for what must have seemed like a flood of Red, Black and White on the course with close to 40 plus members taking part. For me it served the purpose, with the swim and bike completed within my predicted times and the run spot on.

For what seems an eternity and was starting to get me "Disillusion" is the speed of getting a final diagnosis for my condition. Well I have had a appointment with my Neuromuscular Consultant, where he has discussed what was found in my MRI (or in my case what is missing), however not a final diagnosis yet! However there is some good news as I will be refered on to for support to help keep me mobile. Both my Consultant and GP are however are happy for me to continue with my training as it is this that is keep me moving.

Next up for me is Eton 10k swim, and the Outlaw Middle Distance Triathlon in the space of a week. So along with the people I have named and those who have given me support and everyone else remember as the Dalai Lama said "Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects". It is all your actions that keep me moving.
 
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