Thursday, 9 April 2020

How did I get here?

So today is day 1 of preparing myself to start a journey of physical recovery. The title of this blog “ how do I cut radishes” really won’t be obvious for a while, to go forward, I need to start the story of my Triathlon Journey at the beginning...… afterrall is there a better place from which to begin?

At almost 56 I couldn't swim, in-fact I was actually terrified of putting my head in the water, what if I drowned in this shallow end of the pool, I might get cramp, I might look an idiot or something unimaginable might happen, over which I had no control. All in all, I don't really know why I was stood there, trying to summon the courage to learn to swim. 

My Ironman Brother, whom I love dearly, is my inspiration, my role model for all things good. He set me this challenge, which I accepted with ease, the Prosecco probably influenced my decision, do a triathlon said he, its October 2016, you can learn to swim over the winter, and do the Warwickshire Sprint Triathlon at Stratford upon Avon in September next year, said he.  More Prosecco consumed and of course I said yeah, I can do this...... hic....😉🍷🍷

So there I was stood in the pool, I did learn one valuable lesson over the next 6 months, no one can see you crying when you are in the pool, you are wet anyway and no one really cares either, they are wrapped up in their own lives. interestingly during one of my swim lessons, GCSE students were doing some part of their exam, one lovely young lady managed to swim 750m in something like 12 minutes, or maybe even less than that, she was graceful and reminded me of watching dolphins, in my opinion she was the next Rebecca Adlington, how was this speed in the water even possible? My swim instructor had likened me to a crab, I dreamed of being a dolphin!

Many panic attacks, complete with crying, snivelling and on one occasion being dragged out the pool by my husband, my first 25m length of splashing, not sure I would call it swimming, was in Dubai in March 2017, it took 2 mins 40 seconds, I know this because I timed it & was so proud of myself. Not sure the sunbathers who got soaked in the process appreciated my efforts, but still 25m done, only 375 more to go. 🏊  

So swimming obviously mastered....Cycling was my first love, the piece de resistance had been purchased back in 2016 for my London to Paris bike ride, a lovely focus road bike, I loved that bike then and I love it now, it's my go to bike of comfort. 

Obviously when I purchased the bike, I had needed a new helmet, cycle shoes, socks, those nice little gloves people wear, a water bottle to match my bike - well don't want to look shabby. The local bike shop had obviously seen me coming and rubbed their hands with glee. 

Running now, I had not run since the late 70's, school from memory... on one of those hideous cross country runs...I can still remember the P.E. Teacher saying "One day Wendy you will thank me for this...." I don't recall ever thanking him, I didn't like him then, still running round a field in a cold, wet and damp British winter has obviously left its mark, so thank you P.E. teacher.    Anyway, sorry I was rambling back to the trainers.

Stratford September 2017 on the focus

Trainers needed, so off to the local running shop for trainers and gait analysis, who knew trainers could cost £120 really!, £120 wow, I hope I can run fast for that much money.

Why does no one tell you that Triathlon is not the cheapest of hobbies, maybe they dare not. who knows, but I am one of those people that like all the gear, even if I have no idea...if I'm honest a bit of a shopaholic, so....

  • 2 pairs of trainers 👍 just in case I lost one (probably best not to ask)
  • Running socks 👍 lots ... well no-one needs to get blisters, padded socks or none padded?? so many questions...
  • 2 Tri-suits 👍 - one for training, one for the race 
  • New swim suit 👍- for when I don't wear the tri-suit during swimming lessons
  • Googles 👍- many, many pairs, in case they leak, also do I get clear ones or the nice looking ones with the dark glass, best get both you never know!
  • Running shorts 👍- lots of choice, all sorts of colours, best to get a few just to be sure.
  • Running t-shirts 👍- well several actually, for warm weather and cold weather, you know what the uk weather is like.
  • Hydration tablets, water bottles and lord only knew what else,  

I was now a platinmum customer at Wiggle and knew the staff by name at Decathlon!🤯 its only the end of APRIL!!!

Much training later and having bored all my family and friends I finally did my first sprint Triathlon in September 2017

Stratford Triathlon September 2017

I was hooked, I had all the stuff, well almost all, just a few missing things like a wetsuit, tri shorts rather than a suit, a new bike that sort of thing....

I bought an EnviLiv (as you do) I love this bike, to me it's an aero racing bike to die for. I do appreciate that approaching 60 I can't really do it justice, but what the hell it's pure joy to ride and makes a wonderful "whooshing" sound.

So I needed to do another Triathlon, to justify all the "stuff" I had purchased and because I loved it. Blenheim followed in June 2018 and then again in June 2019. Woburn in September 2018, a couple of Virtual Tri's, the distances were increasing, going from sprint pool, to sprint in the lake, to Olympic to 70.3 at Cotswold June 2019 

Finishing Cotswold 113 70.3 in June 2019

My EnviLiv finishing Prudential Ride London August 2019
What’s left has to be an Ironman and in my case Ironman Stafford. I knew I could do a 70.3 distance, so paid the money required to enter....really expensive,  and started training. 

We are now April 2020, I have been training all winter, on the turbo (you might know me well enough by now to know I needed to buy one of those...)

Covid-19 has struck us with a force none of us could have predicted.  

Ironman have suspended the race (well British Triathlon have actually), no swimming, so cycling on the turbo and running outside, until this.  

Sunday 5th April, I went for a run, around 5 km so not to far, fully intending to do this, go home have a shower and followed by poached eggs on Toast, a personal favourite.

A dog from god only knows where, came towards me, I stumbled to avoid said dog, hit a large pothole, going down to hit the concrete like a sack of potatoes. Dog and owner disappear, I knew I had damaged something badly, I couldn't stand up for many minutes (it was probably seconds but it felt like hours).

Hospital A&E, X-rays, followed by a CT scan, damaged ribs and a badly damaged wrist, which is now in plaster. The consultant phoned me on Tuesday to say he was taking a personal interest in my case, at almost 60, he was intrigued by my fitness levels, however, I needed an operation to put a plate in my hand, which would give me 80/90% of wrist/hand movement back.

The operation simply isn't possible because of COVID-19, so to go back and see him on Tuesday 14th April to discuss options, but with no op and a plaster, the best I can hope for is 30% wrist/hand movement, he feels he should be honest and say my chances of doing my Ironman are remote. 

So Wednesday 8th April 2020, I am stood in my kitchen trying to prepare radishes to have with lunch. The weather is stunning and I am sobbing my socks off feeling very sorry for myself. I know I should be grateful I don't have COVID-19,  I am fit and healthy, and just happen to have had a nasty accident, but today it doesn't feel like that.

The bloody radishes cannot be cut with one hand, I cannot stand even to have the weight of the radish on my poorly hand, so each time I try and slice or chop the end off, they are shooting across the kitchen, the cat has run for cover and one hit me squarely in my bruised and damaged eye, making me swear profusely and cry even harder. So how do you cut radishes with one hand?

Today is Good Friday, I have worked out a routine, walk during the day, stepping it out as fast my poor ribs will let me, followed by an online spin class with my spin instructor; Richard or 30 mins on the turbo keeping the the legs turning.  

I will do Ironman Stafford in 2021 even if I have change the bike (nothing wrong with a bit of shopping) or have my bike adapted for what-ever state my wrist in. Looking forward to seeing consultant on Tuesday next week to discuss "options" not to sure what that means really.  


  1. Great blog Wendy, will enjoy reading the next one xx

  2. Very well written Wendy, so sorry to hear about your accident, can just imagine the radishes scenario too 😂 bless you, will be tuning into your blog, hope the appointment goes well tomorrow, take care, xx

  3. I've known you since we were 11 years old and I've always admired your can do attitude! You've got this! Hope your back to 100% soon