IN HINDSIGHT, it’s fair to say I lacked some of the key tools for the job when I signed up to do a triathlon on behalf of City A.M. and sports charity Laureus.
I didn’t own a bike and hadn’t for more than a decade. I’d never swum more than a handful of lengths in one go, and even then I flapped about like an asthmatic otter. OK I could run a bit, but never did because laziness and sheer boredom got the better of me. Really, what was I thinking?
In my defence I was seduced by Daley Thompson. Or the fact that I and the 20 City A.M. readers who also joined Team Laureus would get two training sessions with the decathlon deity. I was also sucked in by the chance to sample the official London 2012 triathlon course in Hyde Park and The Serpentine a year before the real athletes. Plus it was in aid of a very good cause. And I’d feel like a hero crossing the line in my very own Chariots of Fire moment.
But with three weeks to go, panic set in. I was lethargic and unfit from a lazy beach holiday, which followed a boozy weekend at Glastonbury. I bet Daley never did that before an Olympics.
Swimming was my weak point – doing 800m in the Serpentine seemed like climbing Everest compared to the 22km bike stint and 5km run – so I took lessons at my local pool.
My confidence didn’t exactly surge when the instructor, a blunt Eastern European, visibly grimaced when I told her the scale of the task I’d undertaken.
Yet cometh the hour and all that. A training blitz in those final weeks honed my swimming and fitness enough to get in a dry run the weekend before. Boosted from that, I went into the big day – last week’s London leg of the ITU World Championship – without fear and hit my target time of around 1hr 45mins.
I felt elated, relieved, proud, exhausted, like a Lycra-clad colossus in my Laureus Tri-Suit (left). Endorphins do funny things to you.
My only regret was being busy for both of the training sessions with Daley. But it might just be the best reason to do it again next year.
For info visit www.laureus.com