January 2009

Priceless

You may have noticed that of late my journal entries have been a little thin on the ground. This is because somewhere between last May when my IronMan saga began and today, somebody has clearly sneaked into my life and stolen all of the free time I used to have.

Today for example I got up at 4:30am, was on the bike just before 5:00 for a hard 2 hour hill session and then it was a quick shower before breakfast (taken on the run) followed by the rush hour commute into the office. Straight after work it will be down to the track at 6:00pm for an hour of group torture Claire Kinsley style, before I finally get home again at about 8:00 o’clock tonight. 15 hours after I left.

And apart from variations in the type of sessions, this routine happens every day of the week except on Friday when I only have an early swim session in the dam. Thursday evening is particularly fun as I get to run the 22kms home from work.

And do you know what? I am loving every moment of it. Near our home is a pass that meanders through the outlying wheat fields of the Boland region here in the Western Cape, and riding there in the early dawn light is a privilege that I wouldn’t get to experience if I wasn’t committed to my goal. Watching the birds of prey rising on the first of the early morning thermals is enough to make even the most jaded of cynics whoop for joy.

Yet best of all is coming home after a hard training session and seeing my wonderful wife at the door with a huge smile on her face keen to know how the training session went.

I was told at the start that having a partner who buys into the scheme on day one is perhaps the single most important thing anybody who plans on doing IronMan can have. Although she must feel terribly neglected, (something she would never admit), she still remains my biggest fan and you can’t buy that.

Baaaa-Bara

The strange and the bizarre seem to follow me around. I think it’s a genetic flaw.

In December I was out on an early morning training ride when a car pulled up next to me and the driver announced that he had appointed himself to be my support crew. He then leaned across his passenger seat and offered me a puff of his marijuana spliff. If it wasn’t so funny, it would have been terrifying just knowing that this moron was out driving on the streets so early in the day. I politely refused his offer and suggested with just two words that he should go away.

The ‘bong incident’ as we now call it, paled into total insignificance compared to what happened later in the day. I was running through my neighborhood on the normal route I take, when I heard a huge commotion behind me .

Turning around I saw a large crowd of men charging down the road towards me with knives and pangas in hand. I wasn’t overly concerned about this, as judging by the size of them there was no way they were going to either outpace or outlast me, but still the adrenaline started to flow.

It was while I was pondering the local residents reaction to runners in their street, that I got run over by a sheep. With a big number 78 painted in purple on its back.

And that’s when it dawned on me that they weren’t chasing after me at all, they were just trying to recapture the sheep that was about to be slaughtered on their front lawn and that had somehow managed to escape.

Now I confess to being a bit of a tree hugger, and I have a soft spot for animals, particularly those about to become the main focus of a communal barbecue, so I slapped the animal on its backside to encourage its escape and the last I saw of the poor thing it was hightailing it down the main road being chased by the baying masses.

Why does this sort of stuff only happen to me.