My friend, Charlie, marathon runner (retired) and professional hedonist (practising) routinely points out to me that the amount of training and change in lifestyle the Ironman involves has turned me into a ‘boring twat’. Where we used to go out drinking until 5am, I’m now getting up at that time for a spot of light training and half nine at night is now bed time rather than the signal for a switch to rum and coke. It’s reached a point where he’s threatened to de-friend me which, given he’s one of the handful of people I’ve bothered to regularly speak to in this city, leaves me facing somewhat of a friendship crisis.
Fortunately, I have a collection of ready-made replacements waiting to step up fill the sizeable Charlie shaped hole in my social life. The number of hours spent preparing for this race and the mind numbing nature of the routines you have to get into means that assembling a decent bunch of like-minded idiots is vital to keeping things on track. Over the past few months, I’ve spent an awful lot of time in the company of these misfits and, despite their deep-rooted character flaws, have even grown fond of them.
It’s why this update is probably one of the most important I’ve ever written. With training now sitting at a minimum of 14 hours a week, I’m concerned that the strain, both mental and physical, is starting to take its toll on the well being of my chums and I wanted to let them know that support is there for them if they need it. Let’s consider the evidence:
Ben, a man so wedded to science and mathematics that he views all human emotion as a weakness, has started to become unhinged, ranting and raving at the slightest provocation. Most recently he lost the plot while out on a training ride through the villages of Cat Lai and began shouting and swearing at bemused locals. Admittedly, one of them had knocked him off his bike in a slow motion collision moments before but there was no need for such histrionics. Imagine his fury, then, when twenty minutes later two youths came past on a motorbike, slowed down to keep pace with us and began launching handfuls of peanuts at him. Now Ben does have an expansive forehead and the actions of these harmless scamps is understandable – to them he would have resembled a mobile Mount Rushmore and, when faced with the gigantic head of George Washington bearing down at you, throwing peanuts is the only possible reaction. Ben saw it differently and, foaming at the mouth set off in pursuit of the nut slingers. Needless to say he didn’t catch them but his actions that day mean that we all now view him in a different light and think twice before sharing a joke with him or writing about him on the Internet.
Another man tiptoeing on the edge of reason is Darryl. Normally so focused and erudite, the pressures of training have reduced him to a bumbling incoherent wreck. A brief text conversation the other night highlighted how precarious his situation has become. Now admittedly, it was his birthday and he may have been slightly lubricated, but surely nothing other than a complete mental breakdown can excuse the following (not having a decent phone, I’m unable to show the texts as they happened but I promise you that all of these are genuine. Apart from my responses, I’ve had to rely on memory for those…):
Happy birthday Darryl, been training? Just finished running, am shattered, need a rest.
With you. Only lying about and drinking beer 4 me in future.
I blame Wayne, this was his idea.
Yea! C*** and turner iS as bad
I think you’re being harsh, Ben works hard deserves the sporting rewards he gets. You don’t like him because he’ll be your boss next year.
And a c***
Don’t use such profanities, they don’t suit a man of your wisdom and experience.
and. Look at me
I’m not sure what you mean, can you clarify?
The other 2 tri
Hours on first
Darryl, you’re scaring me. Do you need help, I’ll call someone.
Have no idea what I meant to say. Most important think I meant to say.
The words of a sane and rational man? I’m not convinced and genuinely fear for him. Two of my Frankfurt friends are falling apart at the seams and I don’t know what to do about it. Luckily Wayne is fine, it would be hard for him to descend further into the realms of the ridiculous, but I fear the malaise may be catching. Phil is not considered an extrovert – his public outbursts are usually limited to an awful shirt and raffish cravat – but the other day he stepped so far outside the boundaries of what’s considered socially acceptable that it’s worth mentioning. Our gym has an outdoor area, overlooking the river, with some weights and a few spinning bikes. These machines are generally considered the territory of oiled up losers who like to preen themselves in public. Anonymous sources tell me that Phil was spotted on these the other day, hammering away in nothing more than pair of tight red swim shorts. My informant claims it resembled a scene from a bootleg Greek version of Baywatch and has left them with difficulties keeping food down. Hideous.
10 weeks to go and things are looking ominous in Saigon.
Stupid training things I’ve done this week – #9 in an occasional series
Ignoring the warning signs. Despite my friends’ problems, I’m absolutely bloody marvellous. They say that regular training releases endorphins and produces a natural high and that must be what I’m experiencing. Either that or the multitude of pills that I’ve been given for my bad back (ignored and trained on for a week, completely buggered climbing the bridge yesterday) have hit home. On doctor’s orders, I’m on four days of rest and am throwing pills down my neck like they’re skittles (Really. I’ve been prescribed enough to open my own branch of Boots). As a result, I’m higher than a kite and not sulking about being in constant pain or my inability to train.
Fatdanironman award for athletic endeavour – week ending 28th April 2013
Yet again Wayne misses out – any other week, he’d have picked up the award for his good grace in dealing with FOUR punctures in one ride (a four hour spin turned into a 6 hour marathon under the tropical sun) but sadly for him this week’s honour goes to a rather unique person. War hero (his Burma Star and tales of flying with the RAF in Asia make my Ironman quest seem rather pathetic), role model and all round nice chap, my Grandad turns 90 soon and picks up this special present for being able to drink his own weight in Dark and Stormies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_’N’_Stormy).
Swim: plan – 3hrs actual – 1hr
Bike: plan – 5hrs actual – 5hrs
Run: plan – 4hrs actual – 5hrs
Swim: plan – 3hours actual – 2 hours,
Bike: plan – 7hours actual – 7 hours
Run: plan – 5hours actual – 5hours 30
Swim: plan – 3hrs actual – 2hrs
Bike: plan – 7hrs30 actual – 4hrs but I’ve got a spazzy back so it’s forgiveable…
Run: plan – 5hr30 actual – 3hr30 see above…