The Eve of the Challenge

Posted on August 5, 2010. Filed under: anaphylaxis campaign, ayr, cycle, run, swim, triathlon, wetsuit |

With the first leg of the challenge on Sunday morning the nerves are frayed and doubts are preying on my mind.  On my 8 mile run tonight it did cross my mind what a damned stupid challenge this is – and then I would trip over a kerb and remind myself that I can only concentrate on one thing at a time and that should be avoiding a face plant.  As promised in the last blog I have a big revelation relating to my horrific shoulder injury that was brought to my attention earlier in the week.  While still enjoying the anaesthetic (stella and kronenbourg) after the bike crash I was taken advantage of.  Despite being in the early stages of shock from my brutally broken shoulder I was mounted, possibly without my consent, and was so traumatised by events that I have blanked the memory for two months.  Only photographic evidence has convinced me that I had the ability to support another human while in that condition.

Shakey retains Stig like disguise
In the first of a series of guest contributions while I complete the events over the next few weeks I have enlisted the help of Pam as self-styled long suffering wife, support crew and now bloggist.  As technical analysis of my new swimming technique is sparse below I will give you a brief synopsis.  Yes, one arm swimming is possible in both butterfly and front crawl style although I am slightly concerned by the prospect of cramp in the good arm.  Breastroke with both arms is no problem.  Shakey was squeezed into the rubber suit and then squealed about the cold, the dirt and the crawlies.  While executing a gallant rescue while she was in distress I stubbed my toe on a rock and had to make an emergency medical appointment.  Now, I can say for sure that a stubbed toe (with broken nail) is sorer than a broken shoulder but it doesn’t feel that “ironman” going into the beauticians in Cairneyhill for what turned out to be a pedicure.  Anyway, over to Pam……..

Penguins v Ducks
Monday night slobbing in front of the TV watching Penguin Island was disrupted by the need for wet suit testing.  As the self appointed coach/support crew/photographer/medic/PR it was my duty to sit at the side of Loch Ore with finger poised over the emergency call button on my phone. Two creatures from the deep waded into the Loch with a lot of moaning about the jaggy stones. Blah blah blah – toughen up if you can’t handle some stones how are you going to get through the next 3 weeks. Oh did I mention I am also in charge of team psychology/mental toughness?
Thankfully it was a still night and no matter where the creatures went I could hear their inane chatter (how to breathe, marathons, hypothermia, man eating fish – that sort of nonsense).  So with that audible but incredibly dull reassurance I could actually fit in a few games of Harbour Master and Angry Birds on the iphone without worrying about whether they were drowning. Some other bloke from the boat club was doing a more thorough job of watching them as he shouted at them to get back to where you were allowed to swim and suitably chastised, they actually did what Mr Health and Safety had asked them to do.

In one magical moment I looked up and they were swimming in the only patch of sun that was shining on the Loch. It was a tad surreal and I was quite worried at this point. It was as if angels were coming for them and the emergency button was almost pressed as I feared there had been a fatal incident involving the large swans.  But with the uneviable choice of having to mount a rescue or eavesdrop on something infinitely more interesting I was quickly distracted by the arrival of some chavvy parents and kids with their 4 legged Heinz 57. The discussion on why Heinz wasn’t trying to kill the ducks was way too interesting to remember that a swan attack was in progress.  Their conclusion was that Heinz was gay! (I may has paraphrased that – I think it was because he was soft and gentle!).

After that distraction some pictures of the very much alive ducks were required.  I am really quite proud of my efforts. Oh yes, back to the swim session.  Apparently, they hadn’t drowned or been beaten to death by marauding swans but were now getting close to the shore and good support team that I am, moved their flip flops down to where they were.  I know it sounds an inconvenience but to be honest I was quite glad to get up and do something as my arse was getting sore sitting on the concrete playing games.

Apparently Monday’s episode of Penguin Island was very sad and emotional so probably best that I was with the ducks.  If Team Sky want to headhunt me for next year’s Tour de France I think I can quickly adapt from swim support to pro cycling.  Job done!

So, it’s probably unlikely that a career in sports journalism beckons for Pam.  Anyway, despite being on friendly terms in training there is a real grudge match between Shakey and I at the weekend as we go head to head in the Ayr Triathlon.  Never before have two so obnoxiously competitive individuals ever gone head to head in the same event.  The tale of the tape……

Believe it or not money is actually being placed on this grudge match with 25% of the takings going to the Anaphylaxis Campaign.  Let me know through the comments if you would like to have a wager.  The form briefly is as follows…..

The Paddle
Stumpy currently has a broken shoulder but despite this handicap should emerge victorious as Shakey swims like a house brick

The Peddle
Stumpy has the fear on descents since breaking his arm in a ferocious high speed downhill accident (but didn’t really feel anything) but Shakey is threatening to release the brakes on the downhills and may even go one handed if she has to wipe her nose.

The Waddle
Stumpy runs like Shrek and Shakey runs like a gazelle but will have to take a loo break at some point on the course.

We independently estimated our times and came up with a one minute gap over the 90 minute event…….obviously with me winning.

I will update with a race report on Monday and will start thinking about the half ironman then.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to sponsor me yet there is still time……

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