Monday, April 22, 2013

Different Strokes for Different Folks...and a non-race report

I was supposed to do the Metasprint Discovery Triathlon (stupidly short distance triathlon). I didn't. I did however pack my bag the night before, drive all the way to the race and set up my bike in transition. What I also did do was muck up the start times. For some reason I read that my wave started at 10.50am. It didn't. It started at 10.20am. I could feel angry, but instead I felt more stupid than anything else. You see, I'd actually got to the race area at 9.55am. Enough time to sort out my shit but instead I was taking my own sweet time to set up. And why not? I assumed I had close to an hour before my race started. Thank goodness I strolled over to the information area to find out where the start point was otherwise I'd be standing around the race start looking like a complete idiot. As it was I felt pretty foolish when I had to walk back to the transition area 20 minutes after popping my bike there to retrieve it sheepishly and drive quickly home hoping no one would notice that I was neither body marked nor looking like I had done a race of any sort.

My friend, Mun in da house (he made me sign him up, so I decided to give him a name he'd remember for life on his race bib!) who signed up for the sprint did pretty awesomely though. We talked after about doing a triathlon again and he was keen on signing up for a Olympic distance triathlon. I wasn't so keen. I have a 1.5k swim race coming up in May and for me working towards that was my highlight of the year. It was a do-able distance and a distance that I knew wouldn't cause me to hate myself too much mid-way through. Mun felt that he wanted something to work towards so for him doing a long swim was lame because he could do it in the pool, he wanted something more than that. I wanted to tell him that technically he could do a full triathlon if he had a pool, put his bike on a spinner next to it and then went out after to run 10k but he went into a dead zone and the phone line got cut off.

I did start thinking, however, why people did races and (as obvious as it probably is to everyone else) it really was for different reasons. Back when I was younger I always thought that people thought the same way as me. It never occurred to me that something I felt strongly about meant absolutely nothing to someone else, or vice versa. I realised later that people were inherently different and that we make friends with people who share little similar parts with us. I said before that friends were like bits of a jigsaw that make up a persons life because no one friend is exactly like you are, but just a wee bit similar. In the same way, I took for granted that people took part in races for the same reasons and the same goals.

For me, I like the swim leg in a triathlon. I'm not great at it, but it is the most decent of my 3 legs. Mun seems more bike-friendly. I once took part in a longer distance triathlon relay with 2 other girls. All 3 of us couldn't imagine ourselves doing what the other person was doing. I definitely would not have enjoyed cycling 60k (I think that was what it was), nor would I have enjoyed running 18k. My 1k swim was fine for me.

Then there's the other bit where I'm starting to realise I like races that interest me rather than races where I push my limits. I'm not a huge limit-pusher. I've always been very content with where I land. There are times when I sit around and think 'oh I think I might be able to handle a full tri' or 'I'm sure I could finish a full marathon' but then I think about the sheer amount of training that goes into it and I lose my nerve. The same way, the best 10k I've ever done (maybe not the fastest) was when I was back in Manchester after almost 8 years and I did a 10k run around town. The weather was beautiful, it wasn't stupidly hot and it was interesting seeing how everything had changed in Manchester. It wasn't extremely efficient because of the constant sudden stops where I stood in front of a building going 'oh the university has some some new fancy glassy thing going on there' or 'wow they haven't changed the law school building, have they?', but it was enjoyable and it really made me enjoy running. I love the trail races in Singapore, because they're different and this year Rich and I hope to go to Angkor Wat to do the halfie there.

A tri interests me in so far as when I get bored with doing one thing, I'm doing something else straight after. Which works for a mini or even a sprint distance one. But Olympic distance? That's a long time of doing something I may not actually enjoy at all! Basically what this means is I have a short attention span and I need a race that interests me.

So I seek out races where I know I won't be bored out of my mind. Mun takes part to push himself which is admirable. I wish I had that perseverance or strength of will, but I'm really just deep down just a lazy little thing who bores easy. In a way it's good that I've come to this realisation since I never really thought about why I take part in these races. I do like the competition with random people, the adrenalin that comes in a race and the fact that I push myself more than I would if I were swimming / cycling / running by myself. But most of all I need the fun factor in the whole thing and a lot of races in Singapore are starting to lose that. That said, there have been some interesting races popping up so there is still hope! I just wish they'd stop holding triathlons at East Coast Park with the gross waters and the mind numbingly dull runs!

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