Rewind 48 hours, and I was driving over to the Lakes with my Dad, for the climax of a years hard training – Triathlon X. Billed as the world’s toughest ironman,

the X consists of a 2.4 mile swim in Windermere, before a gruelling 180km bike taking in all of the major lakeland passes in a casual 3600m of elevation, before well and truly finishing you off with a wee jaunt up to Scafell Pike and back. Brutal on paper, at this point it still felt like a very abstract concept… I had ridden the bike route several times over the winter, and I just couldn’t transition the thought of following that ride with a marathon up Scafell from a “nice idea” into the harsh reality that faced me tomorrow! Innocence is bliss?

My motivation was simple: after my massive gnarly season-ending-elbow-obliterating crash last year, my relationship with my girlfriend Amy reached new levels when I realised its tricky to do anything for yourself one armed… Coupled with a few months spent in deep personal misery unable to ride my bike, I now owed it to her to stop whining and get back down to it! I promised myself I would come back faster and stronger. The X was the perfect race for this – epic, and requiring as much mental strength as physical… Delaying the final year of my medical degree by opting to take a year out to do a Research Masters seemed like a good way to enable me to train for this properly.

As it turned out, research takes more time than anticipated – and so despite a solid winter of training effort it had been tough to fit the training in the last few weeks. As such, I was sitting in the car driving over to the lakes feeling woefully underprepared. Then again, if you are feeling ready for a race like the X, I feel you are probably in for a shock?