30 Apr

Last week I was planning my weekend long run and advertised a 10 miler on the triathlon club’s web page to see if I could get some company. Morgan, a member of the club, informed me he was planning a hill session for that day and invited me along. So, against my better judgement, I agreed to join him for his 6 repetitions up Oxford’s killer hill and then tack on whatever I needed either side to make up the distance. As we were jogging around the scenic uni parks, recovering from our henious hills, I discovered that not only is Morgan training for the same race as mine, he will complete a FULL Ironman (4km swim, 180km cycle and then a marathon) 6 weeks after our race. More impressively I found out that Morgan was around 35kg heavier this time last year and only took up swimming and cycling in December. After he had shared the details of his extreme training plan with me I asked him what drove him, in other words WHY? Morgan really enjoys the training and finds the improvements in speed and performace satisfying. Fair enough. Then I started to ask myself why? Why do I drag my butt out of bed before dawn to practice not drowning in the local pool? Why do I spend a good proportion of my weekend training and the rest of it recovering? I big part of it for me is that I am eternally running away from the fat kid I once was. I remember being distraught as a child because (thanks to very informative bullies) I knew I was fat and I had no idea what to do about it. Now that I am a lean, mean triathlon machine (ahem…) I realise that a large part of the reason I continue to push my body to its extremes is because I never thought I could. It’s a “see I CAN do this!” type of thing and I’m telling myself this as much as anyone else. I never want to be that little chubby girl, puffing my way to the finish line at school athletics days, always, unequivocally dead last ever again.

As I was struggling my way up the last immense hill, trailing behind four superiorly built men on our 70km cycle this Sunday, another reason why came to me. I realised that for the past 3 and a bit hours the only thoughts that had crossed my mind were: “fuck my legs hurt”, “oooo that’s a lovely view” and “not another fucking hill!”. Yes there was a lot of cussing. But for several hours there were no looming exams, no to-do list, no gigantic sum of money to raise in a seemingly short space of time, no homesickness, no missing my family and my boyfriend. There was just pain, exhiliration (on the downhills) and fine views. So I guess that’s another reason why: escape.

Apart from escaping from things (the fat kid and the mundane realities of life) triathlon training is also a journey toward things. In the last 5 months I have gained the skill of not drowning (I am still hesitant to call it actual swimming), I have made new friends, I have raised a fantastic amount of money for an incredible charity and I have discovered some damn fine countryside around this little city.

There are lots of reasons why, and with just 6 weeks to go til race day it pays to remind yourself of these reasons. and for those of you still unconvinced, I’d like to ask you a question: why not?

A spot of bother…

16 Apr

I would like to make a sincere apology to all users of the Oxford Sport complex pool this afternoon. The red, raw, spotty freak you saw donning a blue bathing suit and relishing the cooling effects of the pool water on her inflamed skin was me. I have eczema, EVRYWHERE!! An acute flare up of unknown cause. It gave me a dilemma… Do I forgo training in order to preserve my self-dignity and hide from unwanted stares, or do I train anyway? As you can see I chose the later. The half ironman is not an easy undertaking you see, and my training has to come first and foremost if I am to complete it.

Fear of failing is not the only motivator though – a wife of a friend of mine back home in NZ was in a horrible accident over Easter and severed her spine. She has zero chance of ever walking again. For someone such as herself, who ran marathons and raised four beautiful young girls, the prospect of a lifetime in a wheelchair must be devestating. The charity I am supporting helps people in this position by providing practical advise and support to the disabled and their families, as well as campaigning for the rights of these people. Yes, I look like I have a terrible affliction of the contagious and unsightly variety (it’s not contagious, I promise!) but damn it I can still move my spotted legs and so I do. With fervour. I run and swim and cycle with the ever-present thought of those who can’t stuck firmly in my mind.

I can’t imagine starting the day running and jumping, only to end it with the prospect of four months of rehabilitation in a spinal unit and a lifetime in a wheelchair. This could happen to any of us – so I urge you to appreciate the wonderful body that you have. Stretch it, push it, nurture it, love it and USE it as if you might lose this ability tomorrow.

The road has been rocky, but the path ahead is looking good!

10 Jul

Welcome to my blog! A place where all of the fantastic people who have contributed to me getting to where I am today can track my journey. It has been an absolutely insane 18months for me and I couldn’t have made it through without the amazing support that my friends, family, and even complete strangers have given me.

After the frightful experience I had in Cambodia, it would have been really easy to lose trust in people. However the actions and words of so many down-to-earth kiwis has made it impossible for me to become cynical.

I now realise, not only how lucky we are to live in a country like NZ, but also how many caring, generous and trustworthy people there are out there!

The auction is only a few days away now and the preperations are heating up. Looks like it will be a fantastic night with food courtesy of John Oyagawa Catering, plus the fabulous foodies Janet Wilson and Mary Phillips. Janet Wilson and Bill Ralston have really come to the party by providing PR support,booze, their house for the night, and their amazing public speaking talents! I really couldn’t have done it without Janet, she has just been simply amazing.

Ponsonby News photographers will be there, so I guess I’ll have to get out of my trackpants for the night!

Only 9 weeks til my departure now and so far I have managed to save around 1/3 of the total course fees. The $20/week budget is starting to grind but it has been totally worth it!

Looking forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday night, so I can thank you all in person 🙂