Just before the age of 50 I was diagnosed with hypertension and subsequently put on regular medication to control the condition. I was never comfortable with this situation, especially when I was told I would probably have to take medication for the rest of my life. I therefore decided to do something about it and eventually persuaded my GP to let me try and control the condition through lifestyle change alone.
I offered to do the Salford swim as part of one the NHS Bolton relay teams. This swim was an open water swim in the murky depths of the Manchester Ship Canal at Salford Quays. Whilst I am an OK swimmer I did have some real reservations about being able to swim in cold murky water. I first started to improve my swimming stamina which was about average for a bloke of 45 yrs. I could do about 20 lengths OK but generally started to flag after that.
At first I was very reluctant to take part because I thought everyone involved would be ‘super fit’ athletes! Although I can swim competently I am not very fast and my swimming technique isn’t the best. How wrong I was! Loads of competitors were just like myself, complete novices, taking part for the fun of it (and the chance to get fit, of course!!)
I’m not a natural athlete, I’m not any kind of athlete! Fitness has become important to me later in life at 47, it keeps my weight down and my mental wellbeing positive. So when I heard about the NHS Tri 2012 I did not really consider myself as a competitor. But the more I read and thought about it the more I thought –I could do that! IWith my mind made up I registered then I approached several friends, a swimmer, a cyclist and a runner to see if they would help me to train. They each looked surprised, could barely contain their laughter but agreed.
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