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Stroke and Stride – Cayman

3 August 2016

Getting back into exercise once you’ve fallen off the bandwagon is quite hard to achieve. For various reasons, some my own, others less so (I have been suffering a bad back which is partly travel related, partly me not looking after myself) I am in quite bad shape at the moment.  Still, I’m over the stubborn optimist.

There’s not really much excuse for being out of shape living in the Cayman Islands – you can exercise pretty much all year round, save that sometimes you have to get up early to beat the heat. I had been doing well (see Crossfit) but, as I said, for various reasons, I have slipped. There are a lot of temptations, and the need to hydrate during boat trips, after exercise, and while entertaining clients, can lead you astray.

One of the fun things every year in Cayman is the Stroke and Stride.  There is an Olympic length triathlon in November every year, that every year I vow to sign up to (don’t laugh, I have been in shape at one point in my life – see Ironmen and triathlons) and the exercise calendar in Cayman is good for that.  In addition to the triathlon in November, the triathlon association arrange a warm up series of three training triathlons (not timed and you can opt to do various amounts of laps, the aim being to practice transition).  There is also now a duathlon in September sponsored by Genesis (although that is usually in April) consisting of a run bike run (2 miles, 12 miles, 2 miles) and then there is the Stroke and Stride, this year sponsored by Jaguar LandRover.

This is a series of 3 run/swim events, with the run staying steady at 2 miles, and the swim increasing from 400 metres, to 600m to 800m.  The swim is an ocean swim, starting at one of my favourite divesites, Sunset House (which is cracking for an Indian a pint afterwards see Cayman Restaurants – a tale of two Indians, hmm this may be a factor on the falling of the bandwagon), which is a gorgeous sea swim, and then a 2 mile round trip down South Sound Road to Smith’s cove.

The event starts at 5:45, so it’s a bit punchy to get to from work (contrary to a recent question from a client, we are not always on holiday here!), and the temperature is still pretty warm for the run, on top of which I need to learn not to swallow half the sea on the swim. You can do the event as an individual, or in a two person team, so one of several of my friends team up in husband and wife teams, this year as a result of several impending or recent pregnancies!

Ever delusional about my own abilities I sign up solo. Given my back problems in recent weeks I was beginning to regret this and when there were tropical storm warnings early this week I was crossing my fingers it would be called off, but this morning we got the email it was going ahead.  I popped some painkillers, did a few stretches, lay flat on the floor beforehand and plunged in (literally). I was relatively pleased with the swim (I like triathlons because of the swim and the bike, the run at the end is my nemesis, but I block it out) but the run was hideous. I was out of breath from the swim, tasting salt water, and about 400m in my back started pulsing. Well, I’ve signed up for a lot of events in my time, and I have never recorded a DNF (Did Not Finish), a few DNS’s (Did Not Start) but I’m too stubborn to quit. So finish I did. I should be able to run two miles better than this, and need to work on my fitness, but I wasn’t last. The swim is longer next week, which gives me a bit more of an edge to be confident I won’t be last again. I will not drink too much and my back will get better with some more physio, so I am hoping my times will improve more in relation to my fellow competitors.

I won’t ever podium, won’t even get points, but I get a buzz from taking part, from finishing, and not finishing last is a bonus! I encourage everyone to sign up to similar events near them – sport tourism is good fun, let me tell you about the time we thought we’d do a half marathon in Boca Raton because we thought it would be cooler than Cayman… a story for another day.

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