Just finished a charity adventure race and now wondering what my next adventure is in the sport of running/orienteering/triathlon/adventure racing.
Let's go back a couple of years....
My name is Nathan. I am 34 years old. Was born in England and moved to Sydney when I was five. Grew up loving Sydney, went to a good school and then in my last couple of years I went to a boarding school where sport was important. I was always a completive person but never 'great' at sport, boarding school proved that! I work in hotels so my timetable was all over the place and of course you have to socialize in this industry.
It was not until I moved to Melbourne when I was 24 that I discovered the sport of Triathlon. I signed up with a local Triathlon club and started actually being coached in swimming and how to ride a bike (sounds silly I know), and also how to run. Swimming was the most important thing to me as I had never had a coach to teach me how to properly swim. I thought I knew how to swim and then after some lessons realized that somehow I was able to propel myself forward but would you call that efficient swimming...not according to my coach. Rides were also sensational along beach road in a pack and into the hills in winter. At this point I should point out that I was doing sprint triathlons. 500 metre swims, 20km bike rides and 5km runs. Nothing huge but good fun all the same. So back to the bike. I was always a good bike rider, something about me having strong legs or something. Dad and me have the same memory. We went for a long ride that had a sprint finish up a small incline just before home. He had gone early and I timed it perfectly by driving up the hill and flying past him like he was standing still. From that point I loved riding.
Getting back to Melbourne, the hills in my second year were important because they taught me that those long rides in the hills during a Melbourne winter would eventually pay off. I remember my 3rd year doing Gatorade triathlons and being so quick in the bike leg that no one passed me during my race. That was a good feeling. The run however was a different story...but more on that later.
So after moving to New Zealand and working in various hotels my timetable was screwed up regularly but I decided it was time to get back into the fitness. It started with swimming at Papakura pool three times a week and then the riding on Tamaki Drive on the weekends. But no triathlons yet.
Eventually I moved down to Wellington and again was too busy at work to get into anything of substance but then an opportunity arose. To compete in and adventure race in Auckland to raise money for Cure Kids. I jumped at the chance and signed up even though it was going to be 6-9 hours of running through bush, orienteering and mountain biking, something I have never done in my life. Little did I know what the training would involve as well as the $11K that would have to be raised. Fast forward three years now and I have just completed my third adventure race for Cure Kids. Have come 5th (6.5 hours), 5th(8.5 hours) and 10th (7.5 hours). With a mixed team of 4 people and the course changing every year, I am happy with my results.
So we are back to where we started. Here I am finished my adventure race this year and taking 2 weeks off by doing nothing. Oscar Carlson who was my coach in Melbourne used to say, do not boil the pot too much as eventually the water will run out. Taking time off is important, it makes you want to come back to exercise which is where I am now.
I ask myself the other day, what is next? I can't wait a whole year to do another adventure race, I need something else in between at least. I need a new challenge. So I decide to give myself two challenges. The Tauranga Half Ironman and begin barefoot running.
First things first. It is the 4th of May and I am at a function when I run into an old colleague who has competed in various Ironman distances over the last couple of years. We start talking about half Ironman and I am told if you are going to do one then do the Tauranga Half Ironman. "You better hurry up as places are filling fast" I am told.
I arrive at work on the Monday and logon to see if there are spots available and there are. I make the plunge and register and it is done. I am doing a half Ironman on January 5 2013. But that is not the only decision I make. Notice that I have never mentioned anything about running in this blog. That is because I hate it. I hated it when I was young and I hated all the running I used to do to train for adventure races. At least with that type of running though, you were on different terrain and with the orienteering aspect forgot how long you were running because you were searching for checkpoints or markers. I am doing a half Ironman, I have to practice running on the flat. This was not going to be fun.
As previously mentioned, I hated running and I was slow at running. At least running with a map and stopping to punch your card when orienteering you could stop and start, not in an Ironman! So how could I improve my running and improve my speed and enjoy running whilst on the flats undulating runs if I already hated it. Try barefoot running I said.
So I did my research (was doing research prior to this time by the way) and decided that a pair of Vibram Five Fingers was going to be the answer to my problems. Let the journey begin!!!