I did it!  It was an amazing day on Sunday and I loved every minute – even though it was tough at times.  The swim was beautiful and I loved it.  The bike was fun, but I was glad to get off Vita the bike – it is only the third time I have ridden that far and I have never done it at all at such a speed.  The run was the unknown and a particular challenge to do.  Half marathons are the furthest I have ever run and I haven’t done one since 2022 as my back kept giving in, and did the same again this February when I trained for Warwick Half, but my back went 10 days before the event.  As I started the run, my brain told me it was just ridiculous to run so far after 4 hours on the move, but I just took it one km at a time, and just walked through the aid stations where they had water – ¾ of a cup drunk and the rest over my head (triathletes love being wet). I got it done in the time of 7 hours 1 minute.  I was so proud to finish and I managed a little sprint down the red carpet, even had flying feet.   Today – 48 hours later the pain in my thighs has finally subsided, but I’m left with the amazing sense of accomplished and pride.

Written Pre Race.......

Those of you who have even half followed my personal journey from lazy couch potato to obsessed triathlete will know that it hasn't been easy. What on earth led me from wanting to move a bit to lose weight to ending up where I am right now, I still can't fathom. But here I am. Even by my own recent standards this most recent challenge is a real biggie. A challenge I didn't even contemplate when I was struggling to swim well, as it was just a ridiculous idea.

Then as I conquered my fear of water in the pool and then as my fear of open water receeded enough to swim longer swims in Windermere (choppy and hard) and Ellesmere (beautiful and serene) - it seemed that this challenge might be possible - if I wanted it. The question then was, did I want it? Turns out I did.

So on the 2nd June I'll be attempting the Cotswold 113. Also known as a 70.3 or a half iron distance. The plan is to swim 1.9km, then jump on Vita the bike for 90km and then give her a rest while I run a half marathon. Just to give some additional perspective I haven't completed a half marathon since 2022. I trained for one in February but my back went twang 10 days before and I had my first ever "DNS (did not start)". I'm pretty sure on a good day I can do each of these activities, but all in one day back to back? Not a sure thing at all.  If I make it, it will take me a minimum 7 hours of continuous movement and to get it over with, I don't intend to do it slowly. So that's about a working day in Warley Woods and very different to a day behind my computer.

This really is a challenge and a half for me. I've been training since December with this focus and trying hard not to break my 56 year old body in the process.  I've had some horrible sessions and I've had some high points.  I know I am mentally stronger and I believe that I'm physically stronger too.  Things are looking positive, but not certain. I've got four weeks to go as I type this.

I would love it if you would support me in this crazy endeavour by sponsoring me for Warley Woods Community Trust. I am so lucky to work in such an amazing place, with fantastic colleagues and volunteers - but it remains a constant challenge to keep finding the funds we need to keep up the high standards we have now set. We start each financial year needing to find that year's funds afresh. 

Know that, even if you have never visited Warley Woods (and you would be most welcome), your donation will go to help keep an urban green oasis a special place for everyone who steps inside. I live on the edge of the countryside and can be in green fields in minutes. I rarely need the solace of a park. But if you live in a city, green spaces are absolutely the physical lungs and emotional heart that keep people healthy. They are essential and Warley Woods is one of those places and, to boot, not run by a local authority, but instead by the community that uses it. It really is exceptionally special and worthy of support. Thank you if you can help keep us ensure it stays that way.

Viv Cole