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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Giles Trials 4

IN July reporter GILES BROWN will take part in one of the most scenic, fun, and exciting triathlons in the country – Tri Windermere. The triathlon novice charts his training progress in the fifth of six monthly columns

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TRAINING: Evening Mail reporter Giles Brown JON GRANGER REF: 50028855B002

WITH just over a month to go before T-Day, there is a little bit of nervous excitement starting to infiltrate camp Brown.

The reality of the challenge is too close to be ignored and my nearest and dearest have been offering their advice and support. “Make sure you dry your bum properly or there’ll be terrible chafing,” said my sister-in-law.

“Any serious injuries and you’re dumped,” said my girlfriend.

This, I hope, is the latter’s way of instilling me with some caution after I came a cocky cropper last month.

I had started to get used to cycling around and made the mistake of being a bit too blasé on my morning descent into Ulverston to catch the bus. A bit too much speed, a sweeping bend, a patch of gravel, a skid and a dry stone wall were enough to fracture a bone in my hand and leave me with a decidedly bulbous and bloody knee.

The big disadvantage of the accident was that it ended my training for two weeks.

Gripping a telephone, let alone a handlebar, was impossible and I had to resort to hopping around the house like a Monty Python freemason.

After this enforced rest, the need to train has become even more pressing and I have made my first forays into open water swimming.

When you first start, there is a massive difference between swimming in the pool and in a lake.

It feels like your brain is going to freeze. Wind-blown chop has a habit of filling your mouth up when you try to take a breath and, if you’re like me, it is surprisingly easy to go off course and start zig-zagging wildly around.

The general coldness and exertion mean when you do get out you stagger around like a newborn calf.

Determined to get used to the experience, I signed up to swim a mile in Coniston on Sunday. Luckily, the day was so incredibly hot that jumping into the lake came as something of a relief. The only problem was that my Zebedee tendencies meant I kept swimming off route and needed to be shepherded back into line by the race marshals in their kayaks. Fortunately, this meant I probably swam further than the allotted mile and I can at least pretend I would have finished more quickly than my 52 minutes if I only had a sense of direction.

As the big day draws closer, I feel more and more impatient to get it over with. Maybe this isn’t in the spirit of things, but I want to be able to have a couple of weeks off cycling and throwing myself into chilly water. I want to be able to just come back home and slob around without feeling guilty. For now though, I tread the knife edge by training as hard as I can without getting dumped.

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