Sometimes a change is better than a break.

Overall for me, all is going well – I’ve been back to masters swimming sessions (which I loved), been hitting the hill reps running (which I hated) and am managing my time quite effectively under my new plan. And I’ve been doing it with a smile. Probably the new home and new job are contributing to the cheer.

I have a lovely 5mile commute-ride to my new work. The distance is far from enough to feel a chore, and it basically takes the same amount of time as driving would. It is just enough to give me a moment of clarity and calm twice daily. I’m sure soon it will rain and I will momentarily look upon the ride less favourably, but currently I am arriving at work and at home in a fantastic mood daily having swept the cobwebs from my mind with the flat, fleeting route down Balcombe Road.

This morning I needed it. For 1700m I had a lane in the pool to myself. For the last 800m, I was joined by a man who decided to BREASTSTROKE his way up and down the fast lane in the pool. I endured him cheerfully for some time, making no comment and arranging my sets around his snail pace.

And then he patted me on the back…

… and asked… could I kick “less” because I had got water in his eyes…?

Following this (bear in mind I am in a hurry to get through the session, get out, and ride to work) he proceeded to demonstrate to me that he could swim “faster than me” (own words!) without kicking too hard. I don’t mean to be arrogant – I’m really not a very good swimmer – but the man could not complete a length of frontcrawl without “running out of puff” (his own words!) and he was not doing it very quickly, so having to stand and watch him craaawwwlll (new meaning!) for 50metres as the clock ticked didnt really fill me with adoration.

I actually decided to be nice, criticise my own swimming (“I must not be a very good swimmer, I kick too hard”) mainly, if I’m honest, with the intention of inducing guilt. It worked…and he was then very kind, and when I explained the sets I had left (1×200,2×200,2×50,1×100,1×100,1×50) he stayed out my way rather helpfully. And – my 100m “hard” reps got quite literally 10seconds faster due to pure irritation. The irritation, however was still there to fuel my ride, and I somehow managed to arrive at my desk 25minutes early. Score.

A bit of annoyance can do wonders to fuel some speed, so I suggest if anyone wants to help me out this season, they would do best to get in my way – drive slowly in front of me on the way to the race, smack me in the head during the swim, or maybe blatantly draft during the ride..

So – happy training all – work hard, take it easy, and smile even when people get in your way – there is always a positive in every event – even if it is a wrinkly man nicking your lane in the pool…

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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