At the start of 2018 one of the challenges I set myself was to complete an indoor triathlon this year in preparation to do an outdoor triathlon in 2019. And bearing in mind I had a phobia of putting my face in the water, completing an indoor triathlon was always going to be tough.
But roll onto August 2018 and I can now say that I have completed a sprint distance indoor triathlon. Well chuffed and proud of what I was able to achieve on 10 August (the day of my triathlon). It just goes to show that if you are prepared to work hard and put in the hours, anything is possible.
Getting over my phobia
It’s only this year that I’ve started to take up swimming and swim on a weekly basis after so many years out of the pool. So it was always going to be difficult to start off with getting use to the water again. But what a way to face your fears of putting your face in the water by taking on an indoor triathlon.
And I’m not going to lie when I say that the first couple of months were not easy and I had that fear of putting my face in the water as well as getting on top of my breathing technique. My phobia does sound daft I have to admit but I knew with time and effort I could get over my fear.
So how did I overcome my phobia? To start off with, I used a float by placing both hands on the float and exhaling through the nose at intervals. The more I began to put my face in the water, the confidence began to build up. Also getting on top of my breathing was tough to start off with and often found myself trying to hold onto my breath.
And by holding onto my breath too long, this resulted in tension which led to having panicky moments and water going up my nose which was not nice. Watching a number of different videos online and learning about breathing helped me put it into practice.
It took time but once I got on top of my breathing, I was then able to swim front crawl strokes without a float. And come around May/June time I was a more confident swimmer and was able to get on top of my breathing but also enjoy my swimming as well.
Doing a triathlon really is all about endurance and without doubt my indoor triathlon was always going to be one of my toughest sporting challenges. From doing plenty of gym work and running, I was always confident about the cycle and run on the treadmill as part of my triathlon.
The triathlon was a sprint distance (750m swim, 20k on the bike and 5k on the treadmill), a realistic distance as this was my first triathlon. It was always going to be tough but actually I really enjoyed it and it was good to push my body to new limits.
If anything I was more nervous about the swim compared to the bike and run on the treadmill. The swim was not perfect as I did take intervals at certain points. But I did swim the 750m and didn’t have any panicky moments which was reassuring.
Once the swim was complete, it was onto the bike for a 20k ride and then onto the treadmill for the 5k. It was a test of endurance but what was good is the fact that my body never felt tired at any point. Because I kept hydrating myself and went at a pace I was comfortable with, it wasn’t too bad.
It felt great to complete the triathlon and I’m really happy with what I was able to achieve on the day. But it is also worth remembering that I did the triathlon for a cause that is close to my heart.
I take immense pride in my charity work and by running marathons and raising money for charities; I know this is what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. And you know what I’m making it happen. I believe in making things happen and I’ve taken steps to help turn my life around. I also believe in helping people and again I’m doing just that.
When you hear family members, friends and people who follow me on social media saying they are proud of what I’m doing and they say I’m inspiring people, I can’t begin to underestimate how it feels hearing that. Just makes my heart warm up and it makes me so happy. All the charity work I’m doing gives me another reason to live and want to live.
Being a West Bromwich Albion fan since my childhood days, it made sense to me to want to fundraise for the Albion Foundation who help West Bromwich Albion connect to communities both locally and globally.
Did you know the Foundation aims to inspire young people to love sport through play and provide opportunities to teach and develop all abilities? Almost 1,000 boys participate in The Foundation’s Player Development Centres and over 50 received a trial with West Bromwich Albion.
The Albion Foundation also aims to engage a variety of young people; improving achievement, changing behaviour, increasing attendance, raising self-esteem and boosting confidence.
They really do inspiring work every day to help change lives. So please donate and give what you can at: www.justgiving.com/Manish-Patel2018wba.
Thank you so much.