Sunday, 31 January 2010

The New Season

Other Half and I have been away skiing, just back yesterday. It does surprise me that Other Half even wants to go skiing, what with the inherent physical dangers it offers and what the possible resulting injuries might do to the preparation for the new season's triathlon events. The visibility this year was pretty poor all week with the exception of two days - we saw the Blood Wagon more times this holiday than all of the previous ski trips we've been on added together.

But we go nonetheless and Other Half loves it. As do I. It's the one physical activity where we're both at a comparable level. Well, pretty much. Technically I suppose you would say that Other Half is better than me - as he's skiing along you can practically hear the cogs turning as he makes sure that each turn is precise and is executed exactly as it should be. I have a more random approach which basically comprises getting down the slope as fast as I can not really worrying about what I look like. This means I attack the moguls with much more gusto than Other Half - I'm waiting for him at the bottom as he thinks about the puzzle of how to get down them in the most intellectual way. I just go for it. He's better at the red slopes. I panic about the ice. He just skates over it. But it works for us and for one week a year, in the physical/exercise sense, we are the same.

This year's trip was not without injury however. I always feel blase (I can't locate the accent to put over the 'e' here - please excuse me) and full of confidence on the first day and like to ski off and over stuff when I can. Ditto for Other Half. Unfortunately, he didn't notice the 5 foot drop from the edge of the piste (which I avoided) and whilst landing with the thump of a twelve stone man, managed to mash his thumb right into the ground rendering it pretty much redundant for the rest of the holiday. 'Thumbgate' is now much better thank you, but I knew straight away what he was thinking. Is this permanent damage? (As he kept comparing the swollen size of it to that of the other, more normal sized left hand thumb). Will I ever be able to undertake a fast transition again? Will I be able to hold onto my handle bars properly? Will this affect my swimming technique?

When he gets an injury it always makes me remember how much this triathlon stuff means to him. It makes me not feel such annoyance at my weekends being written off because of the training sessions (not that actually I mind this too much - it means I can get through loads of episodes of my new favourite vice in peace - SATC) as I can see how totally gutted he would feel if all of his hard work were to be wasted. If something which was out of his control impacted on how he were to perform. And so we go on.

Today's task is to decide which events to enter for the new season. There is so much to consider: the date of the event; if this is a Saturday or Sunday; can we get up there beforehand to suss out the cycle course (of course I say yes at this as it's a cheeky chance of a nice weekend away); what are the gaps between each event.... it goes on and on. Our study has turned into a military planning room. There are print outs of the courses and google earth open and triathlon-planning paraphenalia everywhere. I just leave him to his spreadsheets of results and times and cross references and go and make him a cup of tea. Behind every strong triathlete, there is an even stronger triathlete widow.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Beginning

I think I have to start with the assumption that no one will read what I write - otherwise I suspect that I would not write anything at all and that would sort of defeat the purpose. It's like many things - thinking about them in the wider sense and in too much detail would be pretty life limiting. Giving birth, for example. From all the horror stories you hear, it amazes me anyone goes through with it at all. You just need to strap yourself into the roller coaster and even if you are filled with the greatest fear in the world, once you are locked in you can't get out. Of course you end up loving it and going round and round again (maybe this explains why women persist with going through child birth) but that initial umph to get in the queue and get on the ride requires (for me at least) that I don't think about it too much.

Putting yourself out there on any level requires a degree of balls. I am nervous sitting here typing this (even though I know no one will read it) because you think what if? So that is the first link to the pretty random title of this blog (well, probably only random if you don't know me) - I have a lot of respect for my traithlon loving Other Half because he totally and utterly puts himself out there every time he does a race. I could not (would not?) do it on many levels. Firstly and obviously: physically - I'm a bit of a wuss. I struggled with a 5k race for life about 3 years ago and could not contemplate running to catch a bus now, let alone running 10k 'just because'. I also don't really fancy the idea of getting some water bourne bacteria lodged in any of my orifices when swimming in some outdoors pond. And I gave up Spinning classes at the gym because I really felt like the seat was beginning to do me some damage (and wanting to have kids at some point, how could anyone object to me giving up these particular classes?)

So, more detail on the title of this blog. Many moons ago a certain rowing coach of my considerably younger Other Half called me the 'Rowing Widow'. I actually didn't believe this to be true until discussing it just yesterday with Other Half and university friends. To be fair, he had a point. Every night after school I would trudge down to the river, let myself into Other Half's car and wait and watch as he paddled up and down the river until 5.30 when we would pootle off home to do homework and chat on the phone and then begin it all again the next day.

When aforementioned university friends commented on the aptness of this label, and how funny (totally hilarious) it was that the title now fitted so neatly with Other Half's obsession with triathlon - it got me thinking about if I was the only one. Are there other Triathlon Widows out there? I assume it can't just be me who has to sit and look at "bike porn" on YouTube (the man who has filmed his brand new Cervelo P3 for 2 minutes to a back drop of Hard Core house is a particular favourite of ours). Am I the only one who finds it distressing that 'Muck Off' is pink but smells like very putrid lemons (Heston eat your heart out)? Is it just me who gets up at absurd o'clock on summer Saturday mornings to watch Other Half swim with stop-clock in hand making sure that he doesn't drown? (What I would actually do if he were to start drowning I do not know but I feel it's safer with me there nonetheless).

I'm guessing (praying?) it's not just me.