After the big event

More and more of us are undertaking amazing challenges in life – such as an Ironman triathlon, marathon, climbing Everest or for me very recently, swimming 20km in the ocean to Rottnest Island. These are amazing, life affirming feats that require a lot of time, focus and energy.

There is a wealth of information relating to leading up to and during the event, but there’s been very little focus on what happens afterwards and the journey post event.

In this very honest conversation, I talk and reflect with Perth swim coach Paul Newsome about this very ‘live’ issue for me and his experience both as a competitor and coach of many others who have undertaken such feats.

Read Full Transcript

Bryn Edwards  [00:00]

Welcome back to the podcast. I’m here this afternoon with Mr. Paul Newsome, who needs no introduction to the podcast whatsoever thing is my third, third outing? Yes, at this time I’ve I’ve pushed you into it. Yeah, today I wanted to have a conversation about something, which is a very live issue for me, right now.


Paul Newsome  [00:28]

Posted on when


Bryn Edwards  [00:29]

we post event and that is about the period after the period after a big event. Now, for me that was sort of in silo to Rottnest previous weekend, just the big 20k, open swim. But it could be anything ranging from Ironman marathon, climbing Everest Tour de France, Tour de France, not that many people. And I think it’s important, it’s interesting, you bring that up, because I think it’s important to scope out this discussion as well, in that I think this is this is aimed very much at what I would call the everyday hero, professional athlete, although, you know, professional athletes may listen to this and go, that applies to me, too. And what I wanted to talk about was, everyone talks about, you know, training and psychology and everything leading up to during training and into the event that nobody ever talks about what happens in the intervening period afterwards. And I think it’s really important because for all the great work, and the journey that you go on, it can all get unpacked and unwind and wound. If if you’re not really cognizant of what’s going on on the other side. Yeah, I swam a solo in 2016. A lot, I’ve got a small insurance background of doing triathlons. So I got to do the 70.6. In England, three, three, he probably felt like sick. Yeah. You know, I did very large bike rides from Leicestershire to the south of England, ran a marathon and all that, and then came here in 2016. I swam a solo. So last weekend was my second outing. But in doing it, you know, I’ve been able to see the 2016 journey and a lot more clarity of what was going on. And then what happened afterwards? Yes, yeah. And be a lot more cognizant of that. And I’ve also spotted some of that in some of the people around me who’ve done similar things. And I just thought that it’s important to have a conversation with it. Anyway, but particularly being a live issue for me. Yeah, given your background. And


Paul Newsome  [02:50]

I think, you know, one of my reflections on it as well is that people are actually, I’ve only just noticed this in the last few years, that people actually asking me to train them up for a big event like that. But then also put in a bit of a caveat for what happens after that period. So it’s just like this, people actually started to become a little bit more aware that they need to consider what happens after a big event, and talk about you know, the big event blues, or the next channel, swing blues sort of thing that the period of three or four weeks after the event, and just being sort of prepared for that, and what that was going to entail, basically. So, you know, if I dial back, I mean, I’ve been coaching for 20 years, believe it or not, and I think 20 years ago, nobody would have ever been speaking about what happens after a big event, mainly because I mean, back 20 years ago, not that many people were doing these massive, crazy events, like you say, the everyday hero or the the weekend warrior sort of thing. You know, the outreach, and the availability of these big events is just got more and more and more in the last decade, especially. So it is a it is an issue that needs sort of looking at and addressing and yeah, I’m keen to check out with you today.


Bryn Edwards  [03:54]

Yeah. Yeah. Because I think what I’ve noticed is everyone will recognise that you’ve done this level of training. You’ve had this great event. And then I think most people recognise that. Yeah, particularly like, right, this was on Saturday, come Tuesday, Wednesday. It’s fucking dark. And it’s depressive. And it’s like, yeah. And on the top level, I think most people can recognise that you’ve been doing this exercise, which produces this mass amount of adrenaline, cortisol, all sorts of other great stuff. And that now you’re coming off. And I get that. But to me, there’s a whole lot more. And maybe from my background in organisational psychology, I probably look deeper into it. But there just seems to be more going on. And my concern is that I think it’s awesome that these large scale events are more approachable. And as we’ll probably talk a bit later on, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do them. This is not a conversation about why you shouldn’t do it. Now, it’s about for me coming out of it with more ease and grace. And taking all of the great stuff that you’ve picked up along the way, and then threading that into your everyday life. Because let’s just recognise that like the, the period of time that from when you decide to do it to when you do it is it’s not a sustainable lifestyle. Now, it’s not it’s not sustainable on your body. Not it’s not sustainable on your emotions. No, it’s not sustainable on your family and friends around you or give you a good


Paul Newsome  [05:35]

20 Diamond divorcees out there first, yeah, I


Bryn Edwards  [05:39]

will probably unpick some of that. And you know, they are amazing things. I refer to them as impossible tasks, because the day you decide to do it, the task is actually impossible to you on that day. Yeah, sure. And you have to layer up to meet the challenge. Yep. And do it. And then particularly with things like swimming to rock this for me. There’s been bigger things as well. Which we could go into, where I understood why I entered into it, but I didn’t realise why I did it until well, afterwards. Yeah. Okay. There were more things for me to unpack along the journey. Yeah, sure that these things, these things face, but I just wanted to go a bit deeper, deeper, because, like I said, there’s a couple things that I’ve noticed, I want to check them out and see whether they resonate with you, and you’ve seen anywhere else. I think the first thing for me is is this sense of identity that people get? Yeah. Particularly in 2016,


Paul Newsome  [06:42]

I’m, I’m a man. Yeah, yeah.


Bryn Edwards  [06:46]

And it’s the I am statement. Yeah. And if you think about it, you know, you start, you commit to something, and you’re taking actions. And then it doesn’t take long, because you’re quite focused, before you get a bit of feedback. Whether that feedback is, you know, your times becoming weaker, you start to feel a bit stronger, you look a bit better. And you know, you start to feel better about yourself, you start to face some challenges and bear them down. And, you know, you come you come to your first read miss sessions, and then you get comfortable with them. And yeah, then you don’t get comfortable with it. And, and all the time, you’re getting this feedback, this feedback, this feedback, this feedback, and then then I find that the feedback starts to percolate into your stories, it becomes the thing you talk about a lot. Totally, you like to be in the group of other people that are doing it. Yeah. You know, I’ve, over the last three to four to five months, I’ve been in two solo WhatsApp groups. It’s been amazing. Where we going and I’ve made wonderful new friendships. Sure. You know, it’s been awesome time with people. And I’ll probably come back to that in a minute. But you’re in this circle. And even those outer circle around you, like, they spot the differences and stuff. And so that’s give you this new sense of identity, which then bleeds out into other parts of your life. Yeah. And then all of a sudden, you achieve the thing. And now, you know, what is it 13 days later, I am no longer a server. No longer that I am statement is departed.


Paul Newsome  [08:36]

I think if anyone’s listening to this right now. And they are, you know, setting the setting the company of a triathlete or an open water swimmer or American swimmer, or somebody who just takes the sport very, very serious, and probably just sat there nodding their head thinking, Yeah, you don’t want to get caught in a corner at a Christmas party talking, or an open water swimmer, because it was boy tears talking about it. But you know, it does. I want to say it goes first sight does take care of your life. But you know, it’s the thing that you’re focused on. And you mentioned there that you’ve only got, you know, to try and actually concentrate and focus on something for, let’s say, nine months, or 12 months or so, meaning the channel was like a three year project for me, basically, you know, and I mean, that’s a massive thing to consider. Staying focus for that length of time, I reckon my focus period, and I get more and more certain of this every single time I train up something big, I reckon it’s 10 weeks, so I can do a 10 week block, and then I almost need to factor in two weeks. And that won’t be two weeks off, but it’ll be two weeks of a hey, you know, let your hair down a little bit and go and do what you need to do and stuff. So, you know, I think for programmes going forward, I mean, that doesn’t necessarily fit the standard nine to 12 month bill that for an event we do three weeks on one week easier and three weeks on one week easier, but it sort of recognises a little bit more of that. What can you actually focus on? How, how long can you stay engaged for something properly engaged for and, you know, I think I mean, maybe, obviously, I’ve got quite a bit of experience with doing a lot of these longer events. And even though I might not be at a great set of fitness right now, I know that within 10 weeks of dedicated focus training, I can get myself up to up to a really quite a good level. Other people might take a little bit longer if their experience has not been as much, but the points of focus and and you know, and where you get gain identity from I do I feel it all the time myself, like I start training, you decide that you’re going to do this event, and on the first couple of days, it’s like, okay, or get in a routine. So to get that and get that happening, get scheduled happening. And then you do you start to notice these little gains and little wins of I feel a bit better about that feel a bit better about myself, you know, often talked about the idea that it takes you six sessions, six swimming sessions to sort of thoroughly get into the groove, basically, but then from then onwards, you know, you’re on a bit of a roll. And yeah, and definitely identity comes with that, it’s like you then start telling everybody, you feel confident enough to tell a breed that you’re actually training up for something, which is a big step. A lot of you have to own it, you know, and I know a lot of people funnily enough, this time around for Rottnest solo swim, who literally told me the week before that they were doing the solo swim. So I’ve been swimming within the squad and training sessions, you can say, well, how, as a coach, how do you not know that those swimmers are doing it? And they’ve purposely said to me, I didn’t want to tell you, because I just wanted to, I’m doing it more low key this time around. So yeah, and that’s obviously that’s to be to be respected, obviously. But I was quite, I was quite sort of shocked, really that yeah, that wouldn’t have shared it with, you know, of all the people you think you could share the story, or help along the way? Yeah, that might be the coach. But I just


Bryn Edwards  [11:41]

think that there’s something in that identity, because identity as I’ve, as I’ve sort of worked out, across across the podcast is, you know, we all like to know who we are. And we all think we’ve got a good handle on who we are. But our identity is quite a dynamic thing. You know, who I thought I was 10 years ago, is a lot different to who I think I am today. So therefore it is changing, it is evolving. And when you go and put something such a big focus into it, that that identity can be something that you’re quite proud of. Oh, yeah, absolutely. And then when that bit of your identity is taken away, is taken away, or simply finishes or simply fit. Yeah, you’re right. Yeah, it just simply finishes it and it comes away. That can be quite existentially challenging.


Paul Newsome  [12:24]

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, definitely. Would it if you had that? Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I think, I mean, I, when I think about some of the big events that I have done, when I finished the English Channel, or just remember, was being sore for a long time, you know, like shoulders not being able to lift but I had a feeling of like, accomplishment and unreleased to some extent, and just feeling a bit like, Okay, I’ve done that thing that I’ve been building up for last three years, I was glad have a bit of recovery period. Definitely didn’t feel any sort of post English sound blues after doing Yeah. Similarly, when I swam around Manhattan Island, and was lucky to win that event, I I got home and felt like I was on top of the world for a long time. You know, I felt I felt really, really good about myself. And obviously, the the result helps a lot about that. And a lot with that, I should say, but but it was only a few months after that and then injured my back and I went from being high as a kite to low lower than low basically. And you can’t do that thing, you know that you can’t do the thing that you are, you know, you wanted to almost wanting to I mean, even in my signature at that point on my email I had like Paul Newsome, Manhattan Island champion 2013. So it was my identity. Right and, but then I’m, then I’m telling people well, I’m actually going in for surgery from my back. Now. I’m going to be out of action for about six months. And I’ve still got that signature at the bottom, I think and I almost felt a bit like a phoney because hobbling around with his back problem. And


Bryn Edwards  [13:54]

I think that’s, that’s probably another bit because there’s like three main focus areas that I’ve landed on with this, and you probably just brought me into the probably one of the second ones is that there’s something there’s something really cool about. So when you agree to do it, you know, you commit to doing it so low, you know, or any event, right so just where I say solo, you can


Paul Newsome  [14:21]

climb Everest. Yeah, yeah, Marathon, but


Bryn Edwards  [14:23]

you know, that so I knew that on the last Saturday of February. I was going to have to stand at the beach at Cottesloe with this white cap on and these goggles on my head at some point that was gonna heat it and I kind of stand there and look out this flotilla of boats, but mainly this big expanse of water the conditions of which I wasn’t sure I was going to be and then swim to an island 20 kilometres away. And when you have to consider that you There ain’t no telling yourself stories, bullshit stories or short cutting or avoiding. That’s going to help, you know. And so, as soon as you get through that quite quickly, you realise you have to do everything that’s required. You have to understand what is required, and then go do everything that’s required. And it no point along the journey. Can you afford to let shitty stories start to grow? Yeah, yeah, that’s going to take your way. And you think, Oh, well, you know, it’ll probably be a good day. So I don’t need to go out and crack the 10 ks out on a shitty southwesterly knight in training, because it’s not gonna be like that. But it was, but it was exactly it was. But I think, you know, and so for me, there is this fantastic brutal honesty, about undertaking these things, which means that you can’t hide anywhere, you can’t go and muck around the shadows, you can’t taste off the sheets of story, you know, you have to be totally present totally on it, and totally based in the reality of what you’re doing. And let’s be honest, that’s rare in life. You know, because we all like to tell ourselves stories to make our egos feel better, and the other and there’s scope to do it, because you never really get tested out. Know, so you’re not getting that blunter level of feedback. So there’s a, there’s, for me, there’s a beautiful, blunt honesty in undertaking these things. You know, on that day, I’m going to be found out if I haven’t done the work. Yeah, yeah. And then all these people, you know, all yourself, we’re gonna go. You know, yeah, if you haven’t done it, and so that itself can be awesome, because you can get into that zone. But then, you know, like I said, outside of these contained environments, you know, you guys, workplace people telling you shit about how great they are just to get a promotion, when they’re not really that great or have done the work and everybody’s caught a fish that’s that big, it’s only really that big, you know, and there’s all I can stories left, right and centre. And, and so, I think it’s also after the event, it’s easy to slip back, and you just sort of alluded to, it’s easy to slip back into storytelling. And so you could be the guy that, you know, a done the training, or the girl done all the training, face the honesty of it all. And then afterwards, bang, doesn’t necessarily over swimming for a while, whatever or overtraining data takes two or three months off. And then the next time they come to the squad, put their hand in the bag, they pull out the white cap and the goggle that still got the Sound on Sound audio, from Rottnest put it on, like, I’m the solo swimmer. Yeah, get in fact, shoulders up. Yeah, and all of that. And I think that too, is it’s quite that to come, I found can be quite harsh. I mean, I’m somebody who, right from score playing rugby, and, and then in high performing teams playing rugby and things like that, you know, the beauty of sports is you get like this immediate feedback I spoke to earlier on, but we don’t necessarily get that immediate feedback so much in life. And so it can be brilliant to make, leave you, you know, have you completely present in life. But then once it’s gone, where’s that feedback coming from? How do I maintain as much presence in reality? How do I hold myself to account against something that was gone now? And then do Am I still living off that story? Yeah. And that peace of identity for a period of time? You know? I could have been down to as arbitrarily say, you know, 99 to two kilogrammes fell last 10 or 12 kilogrammes. That, you know, looking good, feeling good, you know, and then I live off it. Yeah, months and months and months and avoid the mirror, and then all of a sudden, it’s like, you crept back. 200 milligrammes and those beers and Mackey’s didn’t help now. And so yeah, I think because certainly the last time I did it, I was fortunate and fortunate enough to be in 2015 made redundant and so I had nothing else to worry about. Yeah, sure. I could just try and try and try and try and try and amazing I had this identity. I was feeling good about myself. Yeah, and I was very present. Super present scarily present for some people. Yeah, right. And then all of a sudden it all seemed to


Paul Newsome  [19:40]

just melt away. And I was lost.


Bryn Edwards  [19:43]

I was lost for quite some time.


Paul Newsome  [19:48]

I think that would have been the same had you had you been? Had employment at that time? Like would that be


Bryn Edwards  [19:53]

well? Having done it this time around? I still struggle I struggled with work. Yeah. Okay. And in the last week or so I’ve just had this tidal wave of stuff that I’ve been tough come back


Paul Newsome  [20:05]

to me, right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah.


Bryn Edwards  [20:10]

I don’t know the answer to that question. But I do know that there’s, you know, that there was some that there’s something intoxicating, you know, you’re changing stuff all the time, you’re feeling really good, you’re very present. And I think the other bit is that, you know, let’s be honest, life can be a bit shitty at times. And it can be, you can struggle to find meaning in the world, and you can struggle to find purpose in the world. And then all of a sudden, you’re in this, you create yourself a container. Yeah, that gives you meaning gives you purpose. Definitely. And, and it is very life affirming. And you have the, you know, like I said, the people you train with their present as well. So you’ve very connected, connected with live connected with what’s happening. And he certainly would say, like sprint to Rottnest. I spent a lot of time in the ocean TV, present in the ocean, and you’re spending time in your nervous system as well. And, you know, he’s spending hours in the ocean, and we all know what’s in.


Paul Newsome  [21:14]

Yeah. In these parts,


Bryn Edwards  [21:16]

yeah, you get more and more used to that. That’s not to say you that, you know, I don’t, I’m not worried about what? It doesn’t worry me more. Yeah. And so you have all this amazing meaning, and purpose, and identity and presence, and then all of a sudden, it’s linked to this one thing. And then yeah, it makes sense really challenging. And it’s been interesting to watch. A couple of people who remain nameless. Who did a solo last year. struggle with their FOMO this year.


Paul Newsome  [21:54]

Hmm, no, yeah, definitely. Yeah. I mean, I, every year, I don’t do it, I struggle with my FOMO. Really, you know, I wish I was out there. I mean, this is the first time this year that I actually went over the day before with my kids. And, you know, I was on the island waiting for everyone to come in and come over. And, you know, there’s always that, that feeling of what are those conditions actually going to be like? And are they potentially better than any time that I’ve spent in the past? Yeah, therefore, mean, I could swim a really good time and the sort of things you know, but you just don’t know that. But I mean, this year round, I, I must admit, I’ve just my little boy was out fishing off the jetty, a little girl was just hanging around with me, just watching everybody come in. And we were waiting for mission a wife to come in, she’d done the duo swim with the front Collie. And there’s definitely a feeling of FOMO but maybe not as strong as it has been in the past, you know. But, you know, I think this whole thing really, when you, when you look at it a bit more broadly, I think, you know, I’ve, there’s countless stories of elite athletes who, when they retire, they just fall completely off the perch, you know, and, in fact, I’ve actually interviewed quite a few of them on on my podcast, and it’s not too dissimilar, really, you know, I mean, it’s, they all talk about this loss of identity. And, you know, what am I now if I’m not, so and so Olympic champions, I’m the thing you know, and, and it’s, you know, it’s very much very much that and I think I was trying to think back a little bit earlier on, when we first started chatting, I was thinking back to Okay, well, when I was racing in the UK as a triathlete, you know, I was racing at a high level. But apart from maybe going to like a World Championships, or, in my case went to the World Student games as well. Those were like big events that you preparing for, but they as big as they seem against Windsor triathlon, for example, or whatever it may, it might be a form of Olympic distance, triathlons sort of thing. They weren’t, because I was actually racing almost every single weekend, there was never a really massive lead up to some one specific event, we put all your eggs in one basket, and then this massive drop off. So the sort of blues that we’re talking about here, I never really ever experienced that, as an athlete, when when I was racing, triathlon, when I was racing weekend weekend, it’s only I’ve only started to become cognizant of it. In doing some of the longer challenging events that I’ve done myself, we were, you know, your body’s actually ready for rest afterwards. And that’s why you then enter this sort of state of, of non non training, which sort of probably, you know, enhances that feeling really of, of a bit of loss by by cutting away the routine, a daily routine. And, yeah, I think, I think the same thing as well, as I mentioned earlier on, you know, 1020 years ago, people weren’t building up these massive events, like they are not in their numbers that they’re doing. Yeah. So that’s why I think it’s a great conversation to be having, because there’s people who do build it for these and, you know, like you alluded to earlier On You don’t have to be building up to a rock near solo swim, it might be a, it might be a first Olympic distance triathlon or even a sprint triathlon, you know, but you’re getting into any building up and you haven’t really, you know, sort of considered what’s going to happen after that point. How do you then cope with yet? What happens there? Thereafter? Yeah.


Bryn Edwards  [25:18]

And I think, like I said, this is not purposely sex bonuses, this conversation is not to say, Oh, we shouldn’t do it. No, no. Yeah, this is what life is about. Great things, make yourself proud and go far outlaw would have done.


Paul Newsome  [25:35]

And in many, in many ways, just on that very specific point, it’s not about saying that and that the people that you that are generally perceived to not have issues with this, with this sort of thing are the ones who their solution to it is to not stop, you know, so that it’s that there isn’t like a, if they don’t stop after the big one, they keep going to the next one and stuff. And you know, Barry eaves, who’s eight and that is taking it down that oh, it is yeah, I mean, you know, this is like thinking again, a bit more broadly about life in general. Yeah, Barry eaves, who swims in I scored 86 years of age, everyone. I always asked him What’s the secret to to his health and his fitness and stuff, you know, is it is 75k Was it was three or four times a week at that age. And and he’s just says very simply, his secret to longevity is Don’t stop, don’t stop. You know, and there’s plenty of Rottnest solo swimmers out there who I look at and they every year they say that’s the last one. That’s the last one. Yeah. And then the next year they’re still building up for? Yeah, maybe they maybe by doing that. But isn’t that sort of part of their coping mechanism for that?


Bryn Edwards  [26:40]

Indeed. That’s interesting. Because like, I guess for me,


Paul Newsome  [26:45]

looking for your brain. Now. Please. Yeah,


Bryn Edwards  [26:48]

I guess for me that there is no desire to do one next year. I’m very open to the fact that will be another one. In fact, I spent 40 minutes on the Sunday writing notes to future brain. Right. If you do the third one. Yeah. Whenever he kept failing to do it. Yeah. So it was all about the training and everything can so it was like closing it. Yeah, sure. And I think I think that itself was was super helpful. And I think part of it is what I’ve done, particularly last week was I actively celebrated it. I think I actively grieved it. Right. Okay. Yeah. Because you are losing. Yeah. And I think that’s part of what we’re talking about. You are losing a sense of identity, you are losing a sense of purpose. That is specific. Yeah. Yeah. But at the same time, I think, because I recognise that I became a bit of a so my solution. So my solution to the last one in 2016 was just wimble. And then my body just collapsed itself. Because I over specialised it. Swing more afternoon. Yeah, well, I carried on swimming to a level of intensity. I agreed to do with judo with Lucy the following year, to train to that, and then, you know, I think I had to stop swimming 10 days before the event and then just rest up. Yeah, do the event. And then that was it. I


Paul Newsome  [28:09]

was like, that’s a game over. Yeah, game over.


Bryn Edwards  [28:11]

So I think cause I think that puts it off by carrying on from an anatomical point of view, I think. I don’t know whether that stacks up because were you at your back.


Paul Newsome  [28:25]

But yeah, that’s right. Definitely. I think there’s funnily enough, it’s actually related more to the lack of swimming. So I think striking that balance is very, very important. You know, it’s like, okay, I’m saying here that a six year old berries continues on every single day doing it because he knows that if he stops it, he’s gonna fall into a hole. You know, those? Yeah, they’re perennial. Rotten so as soon as you just do it year in year out sort of thing, you know, they, they’re on that on that schedule and stuff. And I think I find myself that if I stopped training completely, yeah, actually, physically actually feel really bad. Yes, but equally you can see what you’re saying that if you don’t, you know, continue to push the push the envelope as it were pressed down below how well phrase go,


Bryn Edwards  [29:09]

I guess interestingly, for me, this time around. I knew what had happened before my body collapsed in I knew that I became quite grumpy. I knew that I had a big loss of sense of identity. And I think last time there’s very much me feeding something. Yeah. And this time, I’ve made sure that this adventure, fed something bigger than the adventure itself. And so I became, I saved before did a lot of strength and movement specific around making sure body integrity was good for swimming. But now I’m doing a 10 week programme to unwind that specialisation. Yeah. And unwind that and strengthen up areas that have been neglected. Yeah. And be a bit more delicate on areas that have been, you know, and I I’m back in love with swimming again through doing. And so you know, it’s not going to be 2730 kilometres a week. Yeah, like 1012. Yeah, sure. I’m very happy with Yeah, yeah. I think one of the things that did as well was I took notes along the way. Yeah, of the things that I the elements that I was enjoying. Yeah. So that that was like a bigger broader practice.


Paul Newsome  [30:25]

It’s very insightful of you to do though. So I mean, most people might keep a record of how many kilometres? They swung? I did that too. Yeah, I’m sure you did. Yeah. For sure. Yeah,


Bryn Edwards  [30:35]

I got a blue book as well. Where? Yeah. Where I thought more about, what are some of the elements that I’m really, really enjoying? Yeah. So that the fact that the container of the solos,


Paul Newsome  [30:51]

the redness sessions over


Bryn Edwards  [30:52]

feature, yeah, they do. They do. They do. For two reasons. One is the importance of putting yourself into dark spots, and dark spots, meaning where you are physically challenged. Yeah. And one of the things I love, particularly about the redbus, is that you specifically designed them to put people into totally remember that end of November session where I told you, yeah, there was a point there, Paul, where I never wanted to swim ever again. Fucking over the spot. But I got to the end. So I understand the importance of it, of going to those dark spots. And that was one of the things that was in there. But then also, it was also the the importance of being in a squad. Yes. And that community. Yeah, yeah. And doing going to the dark spots with your friends, and then go for the coffee’s accurate, totally, and the whole atmosphere around


Paul Newsome  [31:54]

that. It’s just that joy and having swimming in common, isn’t it without people Yeah, and having


Bryn Edwards  [31:58]

those connections as well. There were there were other things as well about the importance of, of me doing some sort of cardiovascular exercise, you know, hour to hour and a half, several times a week. Because I put that as some one side for a while, I always got to a place where I looked across my insurance career several years ago, and suddenly went, I think, because I was in the pain of what the monotonous repetition movement does to your body. And I had to spend a year or so at places like MODIS, unwinding, to hear that there was a part of me that was like, I’m never going back to that ship because it does this to your body. And so this, so I went away from it for a year or so. So now, being able to concentrate on the integrity of my body still would like it to work really well when I’m 80. Yeah, absolutely. And then layer on these things. Like a rock those channels was awesome. It means I could go do it come back and not be bent out physically bent out of shape. But as well as contemplating identity and things like that means that I can I can also not have that rough emotional ride as well. But like I said, things like red mist are important because it is still good to go and put yourself in the Mangle. You know, routinely, yeah. Why?


Paul Newsome  [33:28]

I don’t feel like I’ve done a good enough job to be honest here. As a coach, if you’re not in an angle, it’s not a session to use your words. I mean, that’s, that’s the whole reason it’s got that name red mist is yeah, you know, it’s designed to actually put you in you mentioned like to physically challenge yourself, but also, hopefully, mentally and emotionally challenges you as well, you know, and by by trying to stave off the red mist and not get snappy and irritable sort of thing and actually just say like, I’m alright, I’m, I’m here. I can get through this. You can do it. I mean, you’ve got you go through those emotions hundreds of times on a big event. Yes. You know, like the Rottnest swim and stuff like that. So


Bryn Edwards  [34:03]

yeah. And so now Wednesday mornings, I know where I can go or once a week, and then where I can go to have that. Yeah. Being forced to be present. That’s right. Going through a dark spot.


Paul Newsome  [34:16]

Yeah. You might say you might think of sound like a bit of a masochist. I mean, I design it for that. But it’s that’s the point. Yeah, that is the point. That’s its purpose.


Bryn Edwards  [34:28]

Yeah. When I was spending seven hours and 45 minutes, 15 minutes longer than a working day on my trip to Iraq. Yeah. Which was a lovely day out in nature I described to someone the other day. But, you know, there were dark spots along the way. Yeah. And it was the same thing the body carried on while the mind was doing thing we get out. Yeah. And yeah, so you know, going back to it. There are things like that in the list in the notes that I’ve taken, you know, and You know, meeting the environment and adapting to the environment. It made me become, I think, more aware of being in my body and the movement practice. Yeah, yeah. Which means, yeah, and it also meant that I don’t want to swim to Rottnest, again next year. For a variety of reasons, but, you know, I’ve just spent the last 910 months specialising in an, in a monotonous movement exercise. So now my body’s I’ve sort of got this point where, well, that’s cool. And I’ve done that thing. And look, you know, on a bigger scale, if you apply yourself and lay yourself up, you can go and do it. Yes. What other things can I do? Yeah. Which is exciting. So now I’m drawn to something that may have a lot more random movement, and maybe a handout for a nation. So maybe I’ll go and play rugby for a while. Yeah, something like that. Be careful. Yeah. touch rugby. No. 47. But, you know, it’s, it’s that and it’s, I think it’s because I’ve been in the container and I was more present in it. Not only connecting up the training to the event, but the training to the event, and afterwards, means I’ve got this rich source of stuff that I can pull up. Totally. And I’m not also dealing with the existential drama of having lost this amazing sense of identity and self worth in the world, which has been conditionally related. Conditionally associated with, to into our nest. Yeah. Which is now done.


Paul Newsome  [36:31]

Yeah. Yeah. So here’s a question for you. And this might might seem like I’m just blowing this all that all the wind out of your sails. The perception of identity, I believe is very much your own perception of identity, and maybe not the same. You know, if I asked the other six people who assume in the in the line, what do you think of Bryn? Yeah, you know, what all six of them say? Oh, yeah, bryndza, Rottnest, Salah sauna from 2016 and 2022. Or would they say, that’s the guy who takes the beeper at the intercession sort of thing and leads for the four hundreds, for example. And I think, I think it’s an interesting one, because it one of the reflections that I’ve had is what causes me a lot of stress, or has caused me a lot of stress in events in the past is all is always worrying about what maybe other people are thinking about how I’m performing at any given point in time. So I’d be going along, I remember doing the European GF on championships in Poland years and years ago. And I was going along, I had had some sort of weird, I don’t know what it was like a maybe I was dehydrated or something. But I didn’t finish the event. And I actually remember just almost like, almost like getting a bit sort of like tripping out a little bit imagining everybody who was actually on the sidelines, we’re all sort of laughing and going, the ice is doing but they weren’t Of course, yeah. But in my head, that’s what I was. That’s what I was actually to myself. And, and it’s and it’s a funny thing, really, because they, you know, my perception there was that they were thinking that this guy is failing. And he’s pointing downwards. And of course, it was me who was telling myself that. And, you know, I’ve gone through, I’ve gone through other events and often wondered about, Okay, where am I going to finish? And what will my closest mates think about me, if I finish in fifth place, rather than first place, or in five hours, rather than four hours, whatever it might be type of thing? And the the honest answer that I’ve had to that from sitting on the sidelines a lot more over the last few years, specifically, is that when you’re watching something like a triathlon event as a spectator, unless you’ve got the stopwatch out and your spreadsheet, and you’re watching exactly wherever that is, and you’ve got absolutely no bloody idea where anybody is in that race whatsoever. Yeah. So, you know, I guess what I’m trying to say is that, I think we often build up the sense of identity and perception of ourselves related to the event that we’ve maybe been training up for. And, you know, through compare it through comparing to others. Yeah. And, and also compare it and also imagining what they might be thinking about, okay, it’s gonna be great. If so and so and, you know, that’s not to say that people don’t go through a list of results at the end and go, Okay, Bryn did such and such, but I was expecting this or are getting much better than I thought or what have you. People do do that. Or sounds


Bryn Edwards  [39:24]

okay, in my head. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I didn’t, I didn’t expect that.


Paul Newsome  [39:27]

That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. But, you know, as the, as one of my hits, very fondly says, and I’m going to swear here. So he, you know, with respect to a lot of things, you know, everybody is so busy in their own lives and doing what they’re doing. Nobody really fucking cares right now, to be perfectly honest. No, no, no. I think the biggest barrier to moving forwards after a big event is obviously an internal barrier. And it’s just it is laying the groundwork. I think what you’ve done there and saying, you know, you’re sort of undoing some of their specification, that’s a great way of looking at it, you know, because it’s sort of saying, Okay, for the next 10 weeks, that’s what I’m going to, that’s what I’m going to focus on doing. But you need to, obviously need to set that as a goal or a task before you finish the big one. Because I think if you fall off the edge, and then leave it two or three weeks and try and pick it up beyond that point, it’s very, very difficult. Oh, yeah, I had, my first solo swim was 2009. And literally, six days later, Michelle, and my wife gave birth to Jackson, our son to six days after the event. So you can only imagine how nervous both me and her were leading up to the event thinking, Well, if he comes early, or he or she, we didn’t know at that point, but here, if the baby comes early, then you know, that nine months of training is done, and I’m just gonna have to, I’m just gonna have to deal with it. So I think in my head, I was even at that point, starting to think, Okay, well really enjoyed the journey building up and training for this event. But, you know, I think had not been able to complete my first one. It would have been a big thorn in the side sort of things, it’d be like, yeah, yeah, I just wanted to know what that experience was like. But the point was that we had those couple of days, immediately after, and, of course, Michelle was heavily heavily pregnant. She actually came down to a CSS fresh and fruity threshold session on the morning, she gave birth to Jack. So she was swimming, you know, she, she swam all the way through a pregnancy. But of course, six days later, then suddenly, I was thrust into a world of having my first child and like, my world changed completely. And I had to sort of respond to that. And suddenly the, the high of the week beforehand was replaced with the high of having, yeah, having a baby, you know, it’s just such a massive thing. Exactly. Right. And I just, funnily enough, I actually just sort of, in that scenario, I almost just forgot about the solo swim. Yeah. Because it just, it just paled into insignificance in comparison. And, yeah, I didn’t really, I didn’t mourn for it or anything like that, because I was obviously excited about what was what was going on around me really. And I feel like that sometimes regarding injury, as well, it’s like, it’s, this is almost the exact same thing, when you, when you train it for a big event, you get hyper focused on it, because you have to, like you say, you don’t know if it’s going to be a southwesterly blowing at 25 knots sort of thing. And you’re going to be in the water for 10 hours rather than six like you thought you might be, you’ve got to focus and you’ve got to put in the time and the commitment to it. So focus and purpose is not it’s not a bad thing. We’re not saying it’s a bad thing. But on the flip side of our phone, I do the same sort of thing with injury. So when you get injured, suddenly all the focus comes on not being injured, you know, how do I not be injured, the outcome there is not getting across the Rottnest the outcome is How do I stop being injured. And I get hyper focused on that. And funnily enough, the the only time of injury ever seem to truly go away is when I get distracted by something else. And then on to a different, a different focus point, you know, so I think obviously, through life, we go jumping around these different focal points and stuff and you know, finding something to replace what was just gone, and it’s probably the best. Yeah, the best solution really to Yeah, to move forward without him


Bryn Edwards  [43:14]

indeed. But possibly, that has a variation to it. So he can continue to develop.


Paul Newsome  [43:19]

Absolutely, absolutely. Listen to that brain. Well, my first aeroplanes flying into Perth, Western Australia after two years,


Bryn Edwards  [43:26]

I know, they’re all two weeks late, because I think that covers most of the things I wanted to talk about. Do you think it has anything else to add to it? Like I said, it’s not, I wasn’t expecting to come to a massive crescendo No, therefore you should do. Maybe if anything, it’s a something to consider.


Paul Newsome  [43:53]

You know, and I think if you I mean your experience now, we haven’t done a lot of these events and you know, second solo swim, and you start to and you’re obviously a very thoughtful guy, thinking, you know, thinking to this level of depth. You know, some people probably been listening to this and think, gee, DePaul and Bryn actually have a life outside of thinking about their training and racing and stuff like that. And the answer is yes, yes, we do very much so yeah, but But I think, you know, if you are a an inexperienced athlete and you are maybe trying out for whether it be your first solo swim, or your first triathlon or first marathon or what have you, you know, there’s definitely no rulebook or training programme that I certainly that I’ve seen that talks about what happens after. Yeah, you know, and I think it’s a it’s an important thing, you know, maybe there are a lot of, as we mentioned before, mass participation in some of these massive events has only been on the increase in the last 10 years. And the types of people who are doing these events now are very different to what we’re doing 20 years ago, and I was considered totally freak at school. Yeah, we’re doing triathlon, like total freak. I was the only kid in school who swam, I was then the only kid in school who, you know, went for a run at his lunch breaks, and then went cycling evening and that type of thing. You know, it was like it was, it was unheard of. Whereas nowadays, that participation, you know, like, every other person you speak to is a triathlete or has done some or mate in around these parts has done some done some sort of insurance event. And, and I think, you know, I think that’s it. It’s obviously it’s a great thing for this for all sports in general, but bigger participation. And it might well be that the the nerdy Manas, the people who have been around the traps for a long time who do think about some of this stuff and potentially even overthink it sometimes. Maybe, maybe your, your weekend warrior who decides to do his first try out his his or her first triathlon? You know, maybe the natural response is, they don’t hit this big drop off afterwards, they just move on to the next thing, the next one of their life, and it’s natural things I’ve done that drive on, and I’m quite happy to then move on to it. I think where you get in trouble or in danger is that the classic thing and that they reckon is little factoid of information for you. They reckon the average lifespan of a triathlete. And I’m saying triathlete here, because simply I know this fact that from the governing bodies and stuff, it might well be true for marathon swimmers as well, or marathon runners. They reckon the average lifespan for triathlete these days is two and a half years. And that’s not their actual lifespan. Of course, triathlon doesn’t kill you know, that we know of anyway. And but the idea they actually recognise that, okay, getting into sports, you know, it’s a fun idea, you know, getting with the mates and you do first sprint or Olympic distance triathlon, or you might even go the full monty in, because I’d see that a lot more these days as well. Like, in the past, it always used to be this progression and be like, you have to almost earn your stripes, you got sprint distance, Olympic distance, half Ironman, full Ironman, it was always Yeah, that progression, always, or you just stuck at doing Olympic distance and represent the country or whatever it might be. Yeah. But these days, you do see a lot more people just going bang, I’m going to be an Ironman straightaway, that’s where I’m going. And then the classic. And the reason they reckon it’s like a two year cycle sort of thing is, you’ll do your Ironman, and you’ll think, Wow, that was great. You’ll have your little bit down period. And then the classic scenario is, I want to be better next time, you know, so then you build up again, with the assumption and the hope that the not just your speed, and your achievement and your performance away finishing the race is going to be better than the first time. But the actual experience of the training is going to be more joyful as well. Yes, very, very rarely do I ever hear anyone say their first Ironman training for the first Ironman. Okay, it was less enjoyable than better than the second one. The second one, it’s usually becomes a little bit more becomes a little bit more serious, a little bit more focused and stuff like that. There’s almost this pressure that people put on themselves to, to achieve better. Most people I speak to, and I certainly feel this myself. Your first is always your, your best. Yeah, not necessarily. Lots of


Bryn Edwards  [48:01]

people say, Oh, you’re the second. So like, yeah, my second one was shit. Yeah. Is I didn’t enjoy it. I think maybe for me, because it’s been six years. Yeah, because I let go of swimming. Totally. And I didn’t see a second one ever again. On the horizon. Yeah. And then it came back for a variety of reasons. You know, COVID going to start lining catching FOMO start, like two years and had no FOMO and slide. That’s right. And a couple of things like that. meant that it was it was as exciting as the first Yeah, but I think I, I didn’t follow that route. And yeah, there was a little bit of comparing to the first one. Yeah,


Paul Newsome  [48:45]

they’re always realised, stop. It’s inevitable. I mean, I personally, I would never go back and do the English Channel. People asked me like all the time, yeah, go back consuming my channel. And apart from it being a massively costly expense, costly exercise, to train up and put yourself in there for three years and cost of the thing going across. I feel like I have ticked that box box, you know, and I got that really, you know, I mean, I’m not happy with the time that I did across there. I’m not happy with the conditions that swimming sort of thing, but I made it on a tick by tick box, I’d never go back and wouldn’t consider doing that. That one again. And and that’s totally, totally fine. It’s totally fine. It’s not gonna stop me doing other American swimming events and yeah, and that type of thing. There we go.


Bryn Edwards  [49:32]

Cool. I think, yeah, for anybody who’s listened to this, hopefully there’s tonnes and tonnes and few to think about, like said, I don’t think there’s one specific thing other than consider it. I just consider what we’ve discussed. And and yeah, because I think you can be if you could, like I said, if you can leave this thing with a lot more easing. Rice. Yeah. And pick up all the the nuggets that you’ve picked up along the way, and take them into everyday life, that you’d come back to level of homeostasis or whatever.


Paul Newsome  [50:12]

Yeah. It’s definitely a I mean, it’s it’s a cliche that’s used far too often, probably, but you know, it’s not about the destination. It’s the journey, man. Yeah, but, but it is actually the truth. Like, it is actually the truth. You know. And I think, you know, after you’ve completed one destination, gone another journey, and I was thinking just back then, you know, the English Channel thing, I wouldn’t go back and do that. Similarly. I’ve been really hesitant. Michelle’s wanting me to take her back to India, and go and do India and Nepal, go trekking, backpacking and stuff. And I’ve got such vividly strong fond memories of that place. That I almost don’t want to take that. Yeah. And it wouldn’t just be different, right? It wouldn’t be better or worse, it just be different. You know, but we’ve got I’ve, I’ve held off going man in a similar sort of way that I’ve held off, you know, during the English Channel, so, you know, might not be India but South America and maybe, you know, now the board has opened up and oh, yeah, indeed. Paul, thank you very much. That is great change indeed.

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