Fancy doing a triathlon? Running, swimming and getting on the bike? Sure, easy. No sweat! Just do half of the Olympic route, don’t set your standards too high time-wise and bring a few mates to do the other legs.
Suddenly the pinnacle fitness event is as easy as getting cash out of the ATM.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The difficulty, then, is finding the will. The motivation, that’s the real kicker. Not so easy to find. It’s more like looking for $50 notes in old winter coats. A rare occurrence, but occasionally you’ll have some joy.
My triathlon career began today after Shorn’s hot girlfriend and Shorn Lowry himself asked me to run for them. I lept at the chance. I have been in a state of frenzied excitment since last Wednesday when I got the almighty call-up. With just five days until the event I managed to get in one rather strenuous run, which I was still aching from this morning. I was not confident of my fitness.
But I had the will. I was the Glory Seeker. I was bringing home the team.
And with Kirby’s competitive streak I had some great inspiration.
She set a cracking pace with the swim, smashing out 750 metres in 11 minutes. Shorn was hot on her heels, cycling through 20kms in 36 minutes. There was really no option but for me to suck up my aching muscles and get to work. 5kms in 25 minutes was all I could manage, but that just in line with the ambitious goals Kirby had set for each of us.
“If it’s not a challenge, it’s not a goal,” she says.
As I waited for Shorn to get back from the rabbit warren of cul-de-sacs that is the Bribie Island bike route, an older lady and I began chatting. To put it in context the triathlon is chock-a-block with middle-aged folk. I’m not being ageist here, but at first take it’s surprising how diverse the field is in these gruelling events.
As Kirby was writing Shorn off: “he’s had a stack, for sure,” the lady told me her story. “A few friends and I just get in and give it a go,” she explains.
“We’re not very fast, but we just like to say we can do it.”
What an attitude!
So there we all were, just casually kicking some goals on a Sunday morning. The team-spirit kicking around was strong and organic. High fives were being bandied about as if we’d finished a cryptic crossword.
Plus, the event was done and dusted by 10am. Usually I’m still lolling around in my sheets at that time on a Sunday, but variety is spice, and all that.
All of the proactivity got me thinking about motivation and giving things a go.
Reverse parking, for example, is something I casually chucked in the too hard basket when I was about 20. I was happy to never attempt to fit my beast of a car into a tiny slot again. I’d had enough of mounting and unmounting and mounting and unmounting the kerb. Doing it in front a building site when one very nice gentleman had to come out and direct me, that was the final straw
So, no more reverse parking. “That’s not for me,” I delightedly told all and sundry, basking in the liberation of acknowledging my non-existent skills.
My mum, of course, spolied such complatency. “You’re probably a bit young to be just writing that off, Pen,” she warned me.
Smarting from the comment, I learned to back my car into tight spaces. The feeling of achivement is almost palpable. I might as well have cooked a few ducks for Sunday dinner and made Peking sauce from scratch.
“Did you see that,” I sometimes yell at complete strangers. “I didn’t even touch the kerb.”
Once upon a time marathons and triathlons would have been in the same basket. Now, I know they’re going to be painful, but try to give it a shot anyway.
It does open up the field to failure. Ewww, that horrible word. Failure! But keeping that door closed is like going through life without ever pairing Tasmanian blue cheese with a South Australian Shiraz.
It’s a life half-lived.
I reckon, if the mid-50s mother-of-five can do it, then so can I. Why not? The only thing that stands between us is motivation and determination.
The next bastion is water polo. Since a particularly gruesome season in my second year of uni I have shied away from that sport. “I almost die when I try to play water polo,” I delightedly tell my pals. Once again, if you acknowledge that you’re not good at it, you never have to try.
Perhaps I need to change my ‘tude.
“Water polo is an evil sport and I have no desire to play it,” is what I’ll start touting. Or I could gather some inspiration and dive in again.