Procrastination: opportunity’s assassin.
To paraphrase Christopher Parker, procrastination is a bit like having a credit card: its a lot of fun until you get the bill. We are all guilty of it, and, in the words of Walt Disney, “the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” These words were never more true for myself and John as they have been in these past few weeks.
We begin back in May where I went to race the European Sprint Triathlon Champs in Lisbon, Portugal. We checked into our hotel with our friends Rachel, Tim and Vicki. I like racing when I have family and friends along, as I think it just makes the whole journey a lot more fun (there is, of course, the old philosophical experiment of “if a triathlon happens deep in a forest and nobody is there to hear or see it, does it happen at all?”) . Having been able to get in and have a recce of the swim and bike course, we found that the swim was as straight forward as the bike course; a 10k straight line on the highway, dead turn, then back on itself for another 10k. Nothing too exciting, except for the fact we had our own police motorcade! That’s right. 600 plus athletes and the lovely Portuguese police escorting us the whole way, almost as if the universes of transition, time trial, and inner tubing, had collided ungracefully with that of Don Johnson, white linen pants, and everything else Miami Vice…
Race day went well for me I placed 12th GB and 16th in Europe… wahoo top 20! As I have said before, I am always happy with my result, as long as I can get to the finish line safely… And this was exactly how I felt about John’s upcoming event which was literally the next weekend.
The following big challenge was John’s World Record Attempt at Blenheim Palace Triathlon, all in aid of the charity Bloodwise. It was as many sprint triathlons that he physically could do in 12 hours, consecutively. As there is no current world record for this, he was attempting to set one. However, The Guinness Book Of World Records decided to put the bar at 10 triathlons within the 12 hours—something entirely unrealistic on this type of course, yet something they deemed doable. So, after completing 7, he now has to re-apply back to Guinness as he couldn’t afford the astronomical £5000 required to bring an external adjudicator to officiate it. And now we wait, to see if the record stands or not.
These irritating bureaucracies aside, the day was amazing from beginning to end! He was allowed to do the first few triathlons on the course solo, when no other competitors had started. It was quite a nice way for him to get himself into a groove with just the lovely motorbike guys as support (what is it with this running theme of motorcade convoys in our races recently?)
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd all went well, but then the cramp started. As the water was 3 degrees colder then it normally should have been, John’s problems began when he couldn’t warm back up. Thankfully, he had more than one wetsuit to put on (thanks Huub Design!), and swapped accordingly. But, still, regulating his internal temperature was proving harder than anyone thought it would.
He suffered through the 4th and 5th with tenacity, determination and full-blown MTFU. These were the most difficult triathlons for him, as well as us, the support crew! It is never easy to watch a loved one suffer, let alone repeatedly, and by their own action, while you are expected to keep up cheering them on to continue doing so. But, it wasn’t just a little sprint triathlon now was it? It was a bloody World Record Attempt and he knew what had to be done.
Thankfully, with the 6th and 7th he miraculously found his mojo again. With a little help from a big jacket, several cups of hot tea and a bit of man-massage on his legs, to help get rid of the debilitating cramp, he actually started to pick up again. This is all relative, it just didn’t look like he was about to pass-out, and he had stopped shaking with the pneumonic intensity of one of those Power Plate things all gyms seem to have these days.
The finish was lined with everyone who had made it an unforgettable day; all the incredible people from IMG, the military cadets, the motorcycle guys, Courtney the doctor with his medical staff (thank God they were there!) family and friends and even the CEO of Bloodwise, Cathy and her fantastic husband Darren. This was better than finishing on the Champs Elysées at the end of the tour de France! It was cinematically stunning, and definitely, I feel as though I have sufficient authority to say, worth the pain ;)
So it was an exciting few weeks for all of us; John, myself, and the RG Active TeamGreen who came down to Blenheim to help support John; those who stopped talking, and started doing.
Thank you EVERYONE!
There are more challenges yet to come for 2016 so
I will keep you posted!
If you want to help John reach his fundraising target for this years challenges please donate via his Virgin Money Giving page:
Write soon…I am knackered now!