Sunday, 14 November 2010

Nuts Part 1

I blame the parents. It has to be someone's fault. A total dislike of team sports (except women's beach volleyball) and a lack of depth perception combined with such poor co ordination  that I struggle to find the Pause button when Maria Sharapova is mid-serve. 

I seem to be attracted to the 'sports' that involve improving your own performance rather than beating others. OK thai boxing might have involved trying to kick seven shades of sh*t out of an opponent, but for me it was always about learning more technical moves, stretching further, kicking higher and faster. I was a pretty useless fighter, but could do the moves perfectly. Probably why I could teach others to fight better than I could do it myself. Rollerblading was always about finding new, higher, steeper sets of stairs to ride down. Falling and falling until they were mastered, then moving on to find a new challenge. With scuba diving I went through the qualifications up to instructor, then was getting into technical diving and rebreathers when I left Thailand. This was about diving deeper, staying down longer and mixing gases in order to combat the body's natural preference to being  on the surface with a nice frosted margarita rather than slowly poisoning it with Nitrogen at 50m down. I dabbled with strength training while in Thailand, increasing the weights every session, finding it hard to sleep at night as my legs were hurting so much. The downside of this kind of training was people would always ask you to carry heavy things ,as you were the 'strong one'. I was training to be a donkey.

I quickly went from running in a 10km race to wanting to do a marathon. I only started to do triathlon because I thought it would force me to learn to swim front crawl, but I knew when I signed up for my first sprint triathlon (750m swim, 20km bike , 5km run) that I'd end up doing an iron distance race (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 41km run) - I can't help myself. Now of course, I want to do another, but want to go faster than before. I want to take an hour off my Barcelona time and go under 12 hours in Germany next year.

Norseman Swim Start
But going faster isn't enough, I want to know how far my body and mind can go. In 2012 I want to do a double Iron distance race, which should be about 30hrs of fun. There's always a triple or quint, but then you're getting into sleep deprivation and losing toe nails. Alot of these ultra distance races involve huge numbers of laps of short bike & run circuits, which keeps things safer (should you collapse or fall asleep while moving!) but are boring. I think I'll attempt the double then just look for the harder or more interesting challenges. Ironman Lanzarote is a brutally hard iron distance course, whilst the Norseman race in Norway starts the swim with jumping off a ferry into a fjord, and after a tough bike leg, ends with a run up a mountain. 

Also interesting is the more bizarre stuff like Ö TILL Ö in Sweden, described as:

A simple concept – teams of two run and swim, continuously, during the hours of daylight, from the northern end of the Stockholm archipelago to the south, encompassing 22 islands from Sandhamm to Üto. 

Total distance is over 66km; 57km running and 9.3km swimming

So that's running in your wetsuit and carrying your running shoes and backpack while you swim - mad as a box of frogs!

Finally there are the people who were dropped on their heads as babies. Starting on November 14th and running (or more likely sadly shuffling) until 12 December, we have The Deca and Double Deca Iron Distance race in Mexico. I'll need a calculator for this:   76km swim, 3600km of cycling and 844km of running. The swim is 1520 lengths of a 50m pool, the bike ride is over 1800 laps. Even if you got to see Megan Fox pole dancing once every lap - it'd get tedious.

Go Arthur!
The winner, as long as they finish in 28 days, gets $2000, which won't even cover the costs for you and your support crew. There'll be no sponsorship deals and I'm pretty sure the WAGS won't include glamour models helping to drain blisters, cut the toes out of running shoes or live in a tent by the side of the track for the best part of a month, feeding their athlete a steady stream of food, drinks and verbal and emotional support. I'm going to be following the daily results for a month. I'm backing Arthur Puckrin, well he's British and his birthday is only 2 days after mine. And he's 73. 
Go Arthur, you're brilliant & barking mad. I blame your parents.

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