I haven’t blogged in a while, well, save for the weekly session plans, as I only tend to write when I feel I have something to share, so after a hiatus of many weeks, here it is:
Last Tuesday was a sad day for me. I delivered my last session at New Chiswick Pool in West London. It was a good session with attentive and committed swimmers as always. Actually, they were extra attentive on that particular week, as we’d been told the pool would close early, allowing us just a half hour. Deciding to make the best of it, they really put in the effort, red-faced and gasping after the intense sets and only just recovering after the easy ones. It wasn’t until 35 minutes after the session start, that the pool advised us that it would stay open after all, leaving them to swim on a further 25 minutes, wringing out the last juice from whatever my presence meant for them.
We were accompanied that week by Louise, who’d watched from the viewing area for around four months, before finally deciding to make contact and come along. I worked with Louise on her stroke and as easy as she was to coach, she made great strides in the time we had. Oh, how I wished she had taken advantage of all four months of attendance since she first noticed our sessions as she waited for her kids to prepare for the squad session that followed us.
I had some of the regulars there, including Vicki, who’d returned having taken the Summer off, so it was good to see her before I left. Missing that week, was Sarah, who had attended almost all of the 136 session I delivered at the venue. Lane one stalwart and the most determined swimmer I know, Gabi and her competitive buddy Monika were also there. Noteworthy by his absence, Dan, working away in German, or Russia, or wherever last week had taken him. Having just knocked out his first Ironman in well under 11 hours, the one thing I was certain of, is that wherever he was, he’d be doing the session in a hotel pool, or venturing out into the local community to find a public pool that was open and accessible.
After the session, we said our goodbyes. It’ true to say, that I’ll be back, at some point, perhaps for work, or just for a social visit, so I may get change to see some of them again, perhaps at Chiswick, Richmond Pools on the Park, or the lake at Shepperton? It was with a heavy heart though when I drove away – the end of an era.
The reason for my departure isn’t anything to do with coaching but for the day job. My last working day was Friday, which was a final handover and demobilizing from my London flat. With no time to spare, I had a presentation to give and a viva to sit, for my Level 3 British Triathlon coaching accreditation, back home to pack and now, Sunday afternoon, I’m beginning my mobilization. No rest for the wicked!
I’m starting an international assignment of an indeterminate period, where I’ll be working for a buddy of mine out in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. As I write, I’m on the train, heading for Manchester airport, then overnighting in Istanbul, before travelling on to Erbil tomorrow.
It’s never certain how things will turn out but I’m told there are training facilities and a pool nearby. I’m hoping to have more time to train while I’m away, to focus on a strict diet and take advantage of longer session when I’m home on leave. Well, that’s the plan.
I intend to complete and publish the weekly training plans for those that follow them, including the Chiswick cohort and for my 1-1 athletes, Sunday morning should still see your training plans dropping into your inbox.
Once I’m there and have the lie of the land, I’ll post again and let you know what Ironman Erbil might look like!
Mind the gap.
GI Tri Coach