Thursday, August 3, 2017

RETURN - One athlete: slightly damaged

What to write about when you really don't feel like you have anything to say? The pre-race blog is not something I've done as a matter of habit. I don't particularly like talking about something in the future, preferring to shut up, do the job then tell you all about it afterwards. The upcoming event, Hell's Bells, isn't one I've done before either so I can't refer to previous events to compare. From memory some former team mates ended up with hypothermia a couple of years ago so perhaps my expectation of enjoying the relatively warm Queensland winter is destined for disappointment? As local AR legend Dave Schloss is setting the course I know it will be challenging but fun which is the most you can hope for in racing. When 'boogie board' is listed as mandatory equipment, this perks the interest.

I'm a little depressed at the lack of racing opportunities in Hobart. Apart from some cyclo-cross there hasn't been much on and, try as I might, I just can't get excited about racing around a field. That said, I am missing a Gravity enduro race 8 minutes from my door step this weekend. It's a drought or a flood. The question on everyone's lips is "how are you handling the cold?". I've actually ceased to notice it. Or, at least, I'm no colder now than I was in April. While out running the North South track, I'd taken off my thermal and tied it around my waist. Comfortably enjoying the contrast of inner warmth with the briskness of the air I checked my Garmin - 1.5 degrees. Righto.

The next question would be "who are you racing with?". Fair call as I seem to be changing team mates like underwear but this has more to do with availability than lack of loyalty. Due to the Adventure 1 series cap of 7 team members throughout the year, tactics also play a part. After racing X Marathon with Peak Adventure the team has reached its 'guest appearance' limit so I'll be joining Jarad, Tom and Jason for Peak Adventure - JP Rutkowski.

And form? Ahem...Normal protocol is to act strong when you're weak which means you definitely don't talk about any chinks you have in your physiological armour. I've never been a rule-follower though so I'll reveal I don't think I've ever gone into a race this battered. After badly spraining my right ankle several weeks ago I started back running too early, inflaming the left ankle due to the pronounced limp I still had. Then focused so much on avoiding pain in the left, I went over again on the right ankle last week.

But that's fine because it takes my mind off the screaming case of biceps tendon inflammation I've developed from, wait for it, carrying a water bottle. Yes, that's right. Apparently holding 600g of fluid in your hand and performing the small circles with your upper limbs which accompany the running action, for 3 hours, is devastating for a tendon. And yet I can go over the bars at high speed on the mountain bike and brush myself off without a scratch. Why does running hate me so much?? Dealing with non-perfect conditions is just part of being an athlete and challenging yourself. I've been in this situation so many times my over-riding thought is "it could still turn out OK". And it often does.

It's a little isolating being at the extreme end of the country. The community here are super friendly and welcoming, but I've realised that racing constitutes a huge part of my social life, which I'm sure it does for most people. It's probably what drives participation more than anything. When we're doing a multi-day race people talk about 'getting back to the real world'. I protest - the racing is the real world! The rest of the world is what doesn't feel real sometimes. Now that's deep. And I swore this was going to be a light-hearted piece. Doh. As Hell's Bells is a shorter event (perhaps 16 hours which is practically a sprint these days) I doubt Middle Eastern peace will be solved while we're out there. But there's still enough time to hang shit on each other, have some laughs and overdose on ham and cheese scrolls.

So frosty!

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