As the title suggests, I went for a jog today. Actually, it was more like a Cliff Young shuffle interspersed with significant periods of walking, but at least I was out there.
In fact, the last three days have seen a level of dedication to physical fitness that I have not had in the 10 years since I retired from swimming… OK, except for the annual ‘I’m making a comeback’ fit that would take hold for a week or three every time a major international swimming event came up on the calendar. And no, it has nothing to do with the approaching Commonwealth Games. Seriously. I swear. Not even the tiniest whisper of a hint. Honest. I don’t want to make a comeback. Scout’s Honour.
(Not because I couldn’t do it, mind you. I mean the times they are swimming aren’t THAT much faster, especially since they’ve banned techno-doping with those Star-Trek ‘Beam me up Scotty’ suits. I could make a comeback, if I really wanted to. All it would take is a full-time nanny, housekeeper and live-in massage therapist, me to quit breastfeeding the Blossom and to forget about having any more kids for a few years, and the kind of monastic devotion to a masochistic training regime that would make SAS training look like a walk in the park, but I could do it. Seriously. What? You don’t think I could? You want me to prove it? I will. I’ll make that comeback, just say the word… Ahem… Sorry… Where was I? … OK, I don’t want to make a comeback and the Commonwealth Games are just another sporting event. Right.)
So, what has brought on my two bike rides and one ‘run’ in the last three days?
Firstly, my parents have been visiting so I have had babysitters. A luxury not to be sneezed at. An opportunity to be grasped.
Secondly, motherhood amnesia. Again. I know, a running theme with me.
This bout of amnesia has seen me commit to two rather daunting events requiring the kind of physical prowess I no longer possess – A 24hr MegaSwim to raise money for MS Australia (committed to when I was 3 months pregnant with Blossom and clearly delusional about how I was going to juggle two kids) and a Sprint Triathlon to be completed before the end of the year. I am, unfortunately a woman of my word an despite my efforts to learn the N-Word and my recent spate of withdrawing from a number of fun social engagements because of the kids, these two are proving hard to shake.
The MS MegaSwim has the obvious ‘good cause’ guilt attached, but thankfully it is a relay, so provided I get more than the current one member in my team (yes, that one member is me), we can all take turns. If I remain the only member, I may have to band in with someone else who is a whole lot more organised than I. At least it is a swim.
The other, however, has the personal challenge thing attached, and in this world of motherhood where competition is futile and generally heartbreaking (I mean, who wants to compete and then find that everyone else is a better mother and your children have the odds stacked against them already simply because of your ineptitude? It’s better to just not go there.) my natural need for a competitive outlet has latched onto this Sprint Triathlon mission. Only problem is, the end of the year is fast approaching and I have done three days of preparation.
So as I pounded the pavement (and I mean, every inch of the pavement, that’s how slow and arduous the shuffle was), I began to think how I might make this a more realistic goal. Because, if I am honest, three days of training during each of my parents’ monthly visits isn’t really going to cut it. Sure, whenever I mention that I’m going to do this thing people say, “Oh, you’ll shit it in. You can swim 400m with your eyes closed. Easy.” But they neglect to consider that it is called a TRI-athlon for a reason. If it only involved swimming 400m, I may well have committed to doing five of them back-to-back. But it does not, eyes closed or otherwise.
The problem for me is the land activity and, as I have discovered today, particularly the run. You see, on a bike there is a certain amount of inertia that helps you along. You can stop peddling and let gravity do it’s thing as you go down the hills. You can gear up or down to get the biggest bang for your pedal-power buck. But when running, it’s all up to you and those non-existent leg muscles that have withered and died from so many hours parked in front of the computer, blogging.
It was this on the final up-hill stumble towards home that I realised the solution was simple. They just had to change the order of events. If I could run first, ride second and swim third, I wouldn’t have to face the hardest part when I was already completely and utterly fucked.
So I have penned this letter to El Presidente of the International Triathlon Union and I will let you know when the new rules come into effect.
International Triathlon Union (ITU)
#221, 998 Harbourside Dr.,
North Vancouver, BC,
Canada, V7P 3T2
Dear El Presidente Marisol Casado,
I am a mother of two small children and aspiring Sprint Triathlete who has noticed a rather obvious flaw in the way your sport is run.
As I am sure you are aware, the current order in which the three sports making up a triathlon are programmed , namely swim, ride, run, leaves competitors facing the hardest event last. This is a rather unfair and unnecessarily masochistic approach. Your sport would have a much wider appeal (and I dare say records would tumble) if you were to change the order to run, ride, swim.
The new order will allow competitors to cane themselves in the run without fear of what is to come, ensuring faster times overall. The following ride would allow competitors to work the lactic acid build-up from their legs, while making the most of inertia and down-hill runs on the bike. Finally, the swim would provide the perfect cool down to ensure athletes did not injure themselves because of post-race stagnation brought on by the completely-shattered-can’t-move syndrome that currently affects many competitors in your sport. I mean, who doesn’t feel better after a dip?
While I understand that there are a number of unreasonably fit fanatics who enjoy partaking in triathlons like the Port Macquarie Ironman and other such ludicrous events, and who may appreciate the added challenge of running at the end of such an event, but for the majority of would-be competitors, this is a clear indication of elitism in the sport. We unfit mothers of the world would like to be given a chance and by changing the order of events you would be sending a clear message of inclusivity to the world.
I propose that these changes be made before the last Sunday of 2010 to ensure I have the best possible chance of achieving my Sprint Triathlon goal.
Your humble servant and sports visionary,
PS: If you require a bribe, I would be happy to make a Lion Cake for you.