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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' 2017 my goal was the Lake Zurich 26km Marathon Swim.

Where do I go from here? #destinationunknown

Summer Night City

DragonRunnerby DragonRunnerAug 5th 2013
So the last leg of preparation for Kalmar is underway, over the last few weeks I have taken part in two events as part of my build up. One long sea swim and one 70.3 triathlon. It's now time to start the mythical taper, not really done a structured taper before therefore this is strange ground to cover in the last few weeks.

The first of these events was the "Wales Swim", which was held as part of the "Long Course Weekend". With the 3.8k swim been held on the Friday evening at North Beach, Tenby. This is same course as Ironman Wales so always a popular swim. I could not be more happy with the swim as I managed a PB for the distance. So probably swimming better now than 30 years ago.

Something that happen on the swim and was probably due to it been a sunny summers evening. Following the swim I have heard so my comments from fellow competitors about the return swim to shore, there was a low sun setting behind the finishing line in Tenby which left it very difficult to sight a route back to shore. Surprisingly this is not the first swim I have done where this is an issue. Experienced swimmers have a coping strategy to over come this situation by siting across the water, instead of ahead of them. This part of the swim were swimmers are unable to sight has the possibility of distressing many novice swimmers who are coming to terms with not only sighting but swimming in a large pack. Personally I am not even sure if on the evening completing the Tenby swim the wrong way around would have made a difference. My point here is at other swims it would have made a difference, but how many "swim organisers" actually consider this point. If you organise a swim and you do - well done, if not please consider the alternative of a reverse loop, if possible.

Next up for me was a new event for South Wales, the "Wales Middle Distance Triathlon", to be honest it was not my first choice event for the weekend (could not get a place in "Ride London"), and was also a late decision to enter. Held in Fishguard, West Wales, the bike course was out to the Worlds smallest city of St David's. A place that holds a lot of demons for me from previous events in the area and was feeling the need to put some of these to bed. The last time I rode in this area I spend more time pushing the bike than riding.

The lead up to the Fishguard, health wise was not the best, but with the demons and a few other areas I needed to try out I felt it was worth the start. Overall I give my performance for the day a 7 out 10. My swim was average and took me a long time to get into my rhythm. There were a few school boy errors in T1 which I need to remember. The bike course was windy with good headwind on the out leg (x2), but most of all the demons were well and truly put to bed. The course had more hills than I remember, but felt they were taken without causing any difficulty.

T2 was slow but I have now worked a plan for the future, so that's a bonus. The run depends on your view point, for me it was a success, even thou the cut off was missed, the distance was completed. The positives are this is one of the hardest run course I have done. Probably harder than Ironman UK 70.3, Wimberball. In fact the whole course could be, when you compare my times for the two courses. The other positive is a long run done with the new ankle braces. There was this time only the problem with my right foot giving me pain / cramp, but this now the norm, and only happened 7 times on this run, an improvement on the Outlaw Half earlier in the year. So a new demon, where I will decide next year if I wish to get rid of it - time will tell. So West Wales probably has the two toughest middle / long course triathlon events in the World, if you up for a challenge you know where to go. Well done to Activity Wales for a challenging event.

I must say a big thank you to all the support from the course marshals and fellow Celtic Tri members (competitors and travelling supporters). But special mention must go to Jayne Arnold (1st Lady) and Darren Edwards (6th Mens and his first Middle Distance Tri). Will I be back, well that will depend on a few areas over the winter months, so never say never - many of life's failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up (Thomas Edison).

Having a chest infection was not the best thing that could happen with a month to go, but on the positive it was better than a week before. It also must have had some effects with my performance in Fishguard. So not the ideal start to the final preparations having to take a few days out, oh well!

As for other areas of my health, besides the chest infection, not good at any time, let alone so close to Kalmar. The effects of the medication for pain etc that I was put on, probably worked too well as there was some relaxation of my ankle muscles so the point that I would trip over with my foot drop and additional was turning over etc on my ankles. So with my knowledge of Biomechanics and the absence of any input from the medical team. I started wearing Aircast Ankle Braces. It did not take long to feel the difference with my run style and the change in foot strike. I now have more confidence that my feet are not going to drop and catch the inside of my heels as it has been doing. With the improvement in foot strike, specially when there is any change in angle of the surface, I will be having different focus on my run style in the final few weeks before Sweden and the Great North Run a few weeks after.

As far as the waiting for my appointments to sort out my condition for some reason I am not seen as important and still have many months before I get to seen by anyone that will start make sense or put a tag on the neurological condition thats affecting my legs. For me it almost feels specially in the morning is that "I'm a Marionette", if you see me trying to walk down the stairs you would be looking for the person pulling the strings to move my legs.

As I have said before it's nearly two years since I accepted I had a problem and started to seek assistance, and the days I am struggling are getting more often. So I have now made the decision that I am now going to visit a private Podiatrist about my feet as I am really concerned about my gait etc, even to the point that it would be easy for me to give up. However as the saying goes "If the mind can believe it, than the body can achieve it (unknown)" and I am not ready to give up at present. I do, I do, I do, I do, I do "believe" that it is in me to complete the course.

Thank you to everyone for their support and comments over the last few months, I have found that writing these blogs are helping me with the stresses of training for endurance events and are at the end of the day my views, but will be happy to discuss.

Next stop will be my Summer Night City of Kalmar, Sweden.
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