As I may have mentioned, we're having a not okay time at home.
To the point where I'm not that interested in extraneous stuff that much.
But you need an outlet.
Hence I'm posting the odd thing that isn't much to do with work -but if you want planning stuff scroll down to the end.
Swimming used to be my outlet, still is a little, but it's mostly pain and suffering on my road bike.
Because as a busy, working Dad, it's just easier to use where getting to where you need to be as training.
I seem to love agony. I couldn't tell you if this was nurture - 6 daily hours in a swimming pool as a boy.
Or maybe I'm naturally someone who needs to suffer.
And I think it's great training for the job, and character in general.
Like I said, we're having a difficult time, but I'm the one that keeps it going.
That tends to happen when the job get's tough.
Just like being able to take one length, or mile at a time, it helps to take one day at a time.
And nothing focuses the mind like a goal.
And right now, doing something else that isn't 'reality' really helps.
So, with that in mind, I'll take you back to last June.
I was planning to do a 70 mile ride very fast.
70 miles isn't that far, but it was the speed I was looking for.
I had trained hard for it. Weeks of pain.
Then the night before I fell off my bike and badly hurt my arm.
So I was forced to watch mates at the finish line the next day, quietly seething.
The anti-climax, the disappointment.
So this was going to be the year.
I got a new bike in January, a terrifyingly fast race bike.
With gears much too hard for my puny legs.
But I would grow into it, train into it.
I used to find when I was swimming, the best way to get better was to train with older kids.
First is was pure agony just to not get dropped completely.
No rest between intervals. Pain and suffering.
Then slowly I would get within touching distance.
Then I would start to find I wasn't last, then halfway up the chain.
And when I raced with kids my age, it paid off.
Just as I got better at tennis by playing with kids much better than me.
First you want to duck their cannon ball serves.
Then you get a couple.
Then you start smashing them back.
So that was the plan in January.
I (humbly) told anyone that cared I would grow into the bike.
And try do the ride in under four hours.
That doesn't sound like much, but an average of 17.5 miles per hour with a couple of really big hills felt like it was pushing it at the time to me.
And then I broke my arm.
Knocked off the bike by a driver that wasn't looking where he was going.
And lost two months training.
I also lost a lot of confidence.
I've had the usual crashes, but after breaking my ribs in November, this one really hurt.
Not to mention the frustration at losing what I love for so long.
When I got back on the bike I discovered two things.
First, my legs has lost a mass of power, a tough bike had become a torturous.
Moreover, I was afraid.
I was pulling back when I got up to a decent speed.
So I embarked on a mental training regime courtesy of Strava.
Every day I got challenges on email based on where I needed to be.
Lots of intervals, lots of long sprints, lots of hills.
All designed to break me into little pieces.
All at 7am, the only time a really have.
Nothing has hurt like it since I was a competitive swimmer.
In fact this hurt more.
There wasn't a day my limbs didn't really, really hurt.
I resorted to doing sports massages on my tired legs -which meant more pain.
I drank a lot more coffee and little less tea.
And gradually, the bike got easier.
I got stronger and the fear went away.
Put the pain never stopped. Because you just push harder.
Then two weeks before the ride, Juliette's father fell ill.
He loves cycling.
He was looking forward to being at the finishing line
He's also as close as you can get to having a second father.
It hit me nearly as hard as it did Juliette - but I was the one to carry on with everything.
But we agreed we would do the riding day anyway.
It finished at the beach and we had promised the children the day out.
Juliette knew I had worked so hard and what it meant after the hurt arms.
But the reason we went ahead was we knew he would be furious if we didn't.
So I got to the start line with a couple of mates.
On the understanding I would drop them pretty much straight away.
Because I was going to do the fucking time no matter what.
After all the hurt.
But now, because I felt he was riding with me.
And the first half felt good, really good.
I didn't understand why, but I was way ahead of pace I needed.
I was zipping past everyone and didn't bother with big drinks stop after 35 miles.
But one of the stewards did.
Which mean I went the wrong way.
And after another few miles, I realised this wasn't right and went back a little, to find others who told me they were sure this was right.
So I turned at sped back.
But it didn't feel right and I phone the helpline, who told me I was way off course.
After last year.
After the broken arm.
After the agony of training.
After wondering if we would even be doing this.
There are moments when you decide to give in.
Seriously, fuck it. Whatever.
Or you carry on.
A meaningless bike ride that seemed to mean everything.
I sprinted the 12 miles back to the route.
In time for a vicious hill.
Waved at my mates as I climbed past them (they had no idea what the fuck was going on).
And then sprinted the last 25 miles.
Anger is energy. There is much to be gained from being totally pissed off.
It certainly pushed me along.
Until everything changed.
I felt like I was flying.
Yes, this was what mattered.
The bit when you're mind and body work together.
When you're lost in the moment, both inside and oblivious to the situation.
Flow, wonderful, glorious flow.
Yes, this is what it' all about, this.
10 miles to go. I was actually smiling.
My hamstrings began to scream.
I went faster.
The flat turned into one more hill.
I could smell the sea.
Snot coming from the nose.
Soaked in sweat.
And then 1 mile to go.
Sprint, let it all go.
Go the wrong fucking way with 200 metres to go, end up down at the beach.
Sprint up the cobbles.
And then I see wife and children at the finish line.
It's over. I need it to be over.
I don't want it to be over.
Come off the bike.
Drink a litre of water.
Get handed a cup of tea.
Hug proud family.
Think of father in law.
Look at the time.
79.2 miles per hour.
And average of just under 20 miles an hour for four hours.
I didn't think that was possible for me.
The fucking pratfall detour has actually turned into a sweeter result.
Did the time, went even further.
And, for a little while, being away from everything that was going on.
Just me, my bike and him riding with me.
A meaningless ride that meant everything.
Later, when father in law found our what happened.
He grinned from ear to ear at the result.
And laughed at the 'detour' so hard the nurses got worried.
It was worth it just to make him happy.
You will care little about any of this.
And I don't really care about planning stuff right now.
But I still think there are a couple of things to apply to the day job.
You have to put the work in.
If you take yourself way to a place way out your comfort zone, eventually it becomes your comfort zone.
Hang around people better than you, until they are not better than you.
Then hang around new people who are better than you.
Welcome pain, suffering and setbacks - they pay you back in the end.
You're much better than you think you are, you only need to do the work.
It's only a fucking job, if there's one thing I've learned recently it's that it really doesn't matter.
Find something you love that isn't work.