October 2008

Bet You Didn’t Know This

In the brief interregnum between Europeans making initial contact with Australian aborigines and then doing their level best to completely exterminate them, it was discovered that the Aborigines had hundreds of different languages; tribes just a few miles apart would have languages comprised of radically different vocabularies.

This is because of taboo words. A common belief (not just amongst Australian aborigines, but amongst many primitive, superstitious peoples, such as South American Indians, the Massai and Londoners) was that uttering the names of dead people would disturb those people’s ghosts and cause them to hang around the land of the living, scaring the kangaroos, making milk go sour and generally being a nuisance.

Aboriginal names tend to translate as things like “hill,” “tree,” “wombat,” etc. Consequently, whenever someone called “Hill” died, they could no longer call a hill “hill” and had to think of a new word for it. These new words were obviously decided on a tribe-by-tribe basis. Consequently, if a tribe were divided for one reason or another, within a generation the two tribes would be unable to understand a word the other said.

Which explains American ‘English’

Things I Have Learnt

Training for an IronMan is nothing if not an educational experience. I have learned so much about random arbitrary stuff that I would surely be a shoe in for a spot in the finals of The Weakest Link or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Here are some examples of what I have learned, but am still amazed by;

Swimming is a full contact sport.

Really, it’s actually quite painful. 10 people sharing a 25-meter lane in a swimming pool is always going to resemble a cross between a Jacuzzi and WWF wrestling. With an angry crocodile thrown in for good measure. The trick is to in get as many good shots as possible before the others beat you into submission or you drown. I have been punched, kicked, swum into from all sides, and on one memorable occasion, I was vehicle ‘B’ in a head on collision. All of this is character building and apparently prepares you for open water Triathlon swimming.

04:30 am is too early to get up to ride my bike.

Actually 04:30 is too early to get up to do anything. I can think of no earthly reason to get out of bed that early. There are, however, hundreds if not thousands of people who do just this. Whole phalanxes of them weave around on their bicycles in the pitch dark pre-dawn hours, trying to find inner fulfillment and, no doubt, the way home. The only exception I can think of would be if war breaks out and we get invaded. I would then get up at 4:30 am just to get a decent head start on the enemy.

Core exercise is core.

2 Months ago I stopped doing core exercise (Don’t tell Claire). This was a bad idea. I can feel the difference in my pedal action after 3 hours on the bike. I found myself trading off the time taken to do core exercise, against what I thought was more beneficial exercise like running. I was wrong. Not doing core compromises my ability to do other stuff.

The Wind is not your friend.

Some would have you believe that training in the wind is good for you. ‘Treat it as a hill’ they will say. Rubbish. Wind is depressing. It just sounds sad and miserable and no amount of spin will change that. I ran into such a strong wind last night that I couldn’t even hear the music on my I-pod and when I opened my mouth the vortex caused snot to blast out of my nose. On this subject, If anyone knows how to turn off the wind on race day please let me know. It’s the missing piece of my race master plan.

Get a coach of the opposite gender.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the get-up and go to do 230 hours of training in six winter Months without being motivated to do it by somebody else. A hot tip here is to get a coach of a gender different to your own. Not because you need a date, but because your ego will ensure that you do as much as possible to keep to the program without an undue amount of whining. I discovered by accident that my coach Claire Kinsley was the Sports Illustrated beauty of the year in 2003 and 2006 ( There is serious mirth potential there when I work out how to use it against her, feel free to join in). Anyway, the point is that no male on earth is going to disobey a Sports Illustrated model. I actually have no way of knowing if this works in the other direction (male coach, female athlete) but I am sure that my female friends will put me right.

People read this stuff.

Amazed? Me too. Yes, it’s true, you are not the only one who reads this babble. I get complaints from people when regular updates don’t appear. Who would have thunk it?