Firstly : HAPPY CHRISTMAS. I for one ate a large amount of chocolate, watched many hours of silly TV (including Kung Fu Panda and as much as I could handle of Alice and Wonderland, The Ballet..) and managed to haul myself off the sofa for a walk with the family accorss the beautiful Ceaser’s Camp.

It has been a while, time has been filled with shorthand exams (80 wds passed! 100 pending..), Christmas preparation and a peppering of training. Now the world has settled a little, I shall take some time to elaborate.

Last week was a total pool nightmare. On Monday, my pool was closed. I arrived at the door to realise this at around 6.25am. Promptly got in the car, drove to Dorking and got on with the session, then off to work.

On Tuesday night, I reached the pool at around 6.45pm after work, went directly there without passing “go” and without collecting 200 (I wish). I changed, spashed in, started my warm up, and then became aware that the pool was very quiet, then a whistle blew and shattered the silence. I looked up. The edge was entirely inhabited by Redhill and Reigate Swim Club teens ready for a coached session. Which starts at 7pm and continues till 8.30pm.

You need to take a second to imagine this, if you can. I’d been swimming in my own little world, up and down, up and down, whilst the pool had been cleared, new lanes been set up, and these (probably uber fast) teens and their coach had been watching me all the while. Oops. Regardless, I had to get out. Great.

Out the pool, dry – and with a tiny portion of the session done, I went home for dinner. I guiltily contemplated skipping the session, but come 8.25pm I was back on my way to the pool, by 8.30 I was in and at around 9.30 I was done. I got a nice little 100m PB too so no complaining there.

In both cases, I questioned my dedication at the idea of skipping, and my sanity at the idea of proceeding.

This isn’t a rarity, I often wonder why I’m in the pool, or sweating on the turbo, or why I’m bothering to step outside in running tights, base layer and gloves when the world is cold enough for me to still shiver despite the wrappings.

In these cases, however, I remind myself of these three points (it has to be three – all good things come in tri…): When racing feels hard, remembering the struggles you’ve put in to even get there helps you to push harder. Knowing you have done everything your coach has asked you to gives you confidence.
And finally, this lovely, lovely motto: When you’re sleeping, your opponent is training. There is no time for skipping sessions.

(These points, of course, might be worth remembering as leaving the crammed pool early come resoloution making January. Let the lane-fighting begin…)

Published by michellearthurs

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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