Coach Musty is an old friend. We first met in 2002 shortly after my first triathlon. My brother had been involved in an ultimately fatal motorbike accident and following his initial accident I joined a local gym as a release valve. I subsequently completed the London Marathon in 2001 in 3 hrs and 56 minutes, with no real competitive running background and then embarked upon training for my first triathlon in 2002 after a friend completed one and said I should give it a go as it was ‘my kinda thing’. So I competed in the London Triathlon as a fund raiser for my brothers nursing home and raised approx £6,000 completing it in a time of 3.01 but having taken my time, toweled, talked and changed clothes in each transition and I knew I had a faster time in me. The following year I bumped into the now ‘Coach’ Musty and started to train alongside him at the same club. The following year I took 30 mins off my time (same race) and was hooked. I have always admired Coach Musty’s temperament and cool calm approach to life from way back when we first met and I jumped at the chance when he offered his services in his new guise as a fully qualified Triathlon Coach. I’m a busy guy with a family and love the structure that the training programme Coach provides.
I have now completed more than 50 triathlons and am in my second fully coached training year with Coach Musty. I have already achieved three PB’s this year. A 3.00.54 London Marathon having been off running for 6 weeks until just 4 weeks prior to race day. A PB 2.17 Olympic Distance time (finishing 12th) in a 300+ strong field at the inaugural Leeds Triathlon and a 1.11 sprint finish (not a PB) my highest ever finishing position 6th in a 10-year Age Category field again out of approximately 300 in category at the JLL Triathlon at Eton Dorney.
The latter race has great memories, racing with my good friend from the Squad Michael. We are extremely like-minded and he has the strength of an ox and a heart of gold. I arrived at the venue extremely early as a friend, who lived locally and was also competing but in a much earlier wave, had offered me a lift. I truly experienced the benefits of arriving at a race early. My bike was racked first in line and I had plenty of time to relax, familiarise myself with the course and warm up. I followed my race plan to the letter and got my wetsuit on early and headed to the swim start. Last year I encountered severe breathing difficulties during the swim, mainly down to going off way to hard and almost drowning in a combination of lake water and my own adrenaline!! I now count strokes on one arm until I’ve completed what would be approx. 4 lengths, 100m, and then ease off and find some feet to swim behind. I emerged somewhere in the top 10 in my wave and set off to find my bike. I was a little apprehensive as was attempting my first flying transition with my shoes already cleated in and with careful use of elastic bands – just like on You Tube!! Unfortunately, just after the mount line I slightly underestimated my saddle height, somewhat distracting my focus and attention on how my foot was to land on the pedal. The bands broke and the right hand pedal and shoe kind of ‘ran over itself’ veering me off to the right and towards a fellow competitor whom was not impressed and shouted an expletive. I soon ‘righted’ myself and set off with gusto off up the windy cycle circuit slowly building pace and power. On the second lap I experienced my only overtake by a fellow competitor – Michael!!! he flew past shouting cheekily ‘nice ass’ and headed off into the distance…. I was gob smacked as I thought I’d have been slightly more competitive than Michael on the cycle leg. Fortunately, it was his final lap sprint (adding to his desire for the cheeky overtake) and I caught him just before he headed into transition. (Phew!!! I’m so competitive!!). Fortunately, my dismount was considerably less eventful and I was delighted with a seamless changeover to the run.
A I left transition and headed off on the run course I noticed a familiar face shouting words of encouragement in my direction, my dad! ‘Come on Gerry!!!’
‘I’ve got cramp’ I replied hobbling up the course.
‘Run it off!!!’he retorted laughing.
As blood flow returned to my legs I soon did and I started to set my sights on runners in front as target over-takes regardless as to whether or not I thought they were in my AC. I always pretend they are. Shortly after the turn around point (a 1 lap run) I noticed a familiar face, a chap I knew from my industry whom had beaten me by approximately 3 minutes the year before, but he was a good 300m behind me. ‘I’m coming for you Frewin’ he shouted. I turned on the after-burners upped my heart rate to slightly above threshold as I thought there’s no way he can catch me if I’m on the edge of requiring medical attention! He didn’t. Suddenly it dawned on me that I was running at my best, fast and hard but at a sustainable pace and it was an incredible feeling.
As I crossed the line the leader board stated I was 4th overall and it gave me goosebumps all over. Later concluded with a 6th.
Coach has maintained my belief in the widely publicised and often doubted cliché that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. He has taken away the frustration of under-achieving in a sport I wanted to love and now do and in an environment with the best friends and like-minded people you could imagine meeting and made me want to improve further.
Coach Musty is a very clever guy.