Blog Update #21
A forced break…… something I didn’t know I needed. My last post I wondered what’s next and where my passions lie, I’d come off a pretty crazy and hectic 6 months both in my athletic life, work life and personal life. Finishing over 10 long distance (42-220km) running events and finishing my first marathon swim, in combination with a new job that included me giving night shift a crack for the first time in my life. All whilst still working a second job and keeping my training going. I also had some personal things happen which impacted me significantly, it’d been hectic, and by the end I felt lost and burnt out. During that burnt out phase I questioned what I was doing and what’s next, I felt lost and exhausted. Then when we got hit with another Covid-19 lockdown, which also coincided with a significant set of overuse running injuries that prevented me from running. For 3-4 weeks I was forced to slow down, which gave me some time to think about what I wanted and why I felt lost. It also gave me enough time away from everything to miss them, to realise how important certain things are to me, things such as running on the trails, gym, swimming at the pool and probably most noticeably the ultra and trail running events, where I got to catch up with my tribe. I started to get a greater appreciation of what I’ve got and what I’ve done.
Now on the training front, since I couldn’t run and pools were closed I only had two training options; 1) swimming in cold winter water of Port Philip Bay (5km from my house) and a f**k load of bodyweight calisthenics such as push-ups and chin-ups. So thats what I did, I trained to get over my fear of the cold and started swimming in the cold winter ocean (9-11 degrees water), with and without my wetsuit. This was a great idea, it rejuvenated me, took me out of comfort zone and reunited me with my love of swimming. At first it was really hard, the instant shock of the cold water, and just being uncomfortable for a significant amount of time. However overtime it became peaceful, whilst also making me pretty proud that I stuck with it. At one stage I was managing 20km swimming weeks all done in the cold winter waters of Port Philip Bay and I could enter the water without all the built up anxiety and fear. It was pretty crazy looking back, how comfortable I got with being uncomfortable, without the wetsuit there wasn’t a time where it didn’t take over an hour to warm back up! However forgetting that the best part about it all was the amount of personal growth I felt happened during these times. Putting myself in an uncomfortable position and getting over my fear of being cold really made me feel like I’d upgraded, it was also a reminder that I can and will adapt to the situations life throws me. That no matter what, I’m gong to find a way to train that feels significant and productive to me.
With time away from running and after clocking km after km in the ocean I was starting to feel inspired about running again. I started looking forward to getting myself better so I could run again, I also started planning 2022 and what races/events I wanted to do (forgetting Covid-19 for a second). I also looked back at some older swimming dreams that once seemed impossible… but now after my high mileage weeks of swimming in the cold winters bay they seemed possible, and I was passionate about chasing them over the coming years. I set myself new crazy goals that were once dreams, ones that seemed so far away but doable in my mind. Some of these include; Port to Pub (the infamous 25km ultra-marathon swim across the Rottnest Channell in Western Australia) and an English Channell crossing, along with other crazier ultra-marathon swims.
So with all that mind what’s next for 2022? Heres what has been pretty much confirmed and what I’m super excited by. Ultraman Australia 2022 (10km swim| 421.1km ride| 84.3km run over 3 days), Port 2 Pub 2022 (25km open water swim), Triple Crownunder of 200 milers (Australia’s first triple crown of 200 milers) 2022, Oscars Hut 2 Hut 2022 and Down Under 135 2022. I feel all my successes and failures of 2021 has led to me being able to take on some pretty gnarly endurance challenges in 2022, to me it feels like the climax of a couple years build up of racing and training. To help I’ve also been able to start running again, and although it feels I’m starting from scratch I’m excited to put in the work to get back to where I was, and hopefully even better so so I can take on what Ive got planned.