If you are anything like me you might be inclined to overlook your successes. I have come to the conclusion that this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. This thought dawned on me a few weeks ago. I run a swim squad and was on my way home after a typical workout when I realised just what an insane group of swimmers I have. One of them had just completed the Midmar 8 mile event with me. A few had done Ironman 70.3 and a group had just completed full Ironman. One of my swimmers wants to do some 10 and 18 km swim events.
I have had the wonderful privilege of helping Pieter Du Preez with his swimming. Pieter is a C6 quadriplegic who hopes to be the first person with his level of injury to do a full Ironman. To put it into perspective, Pieter has just 15% use of all his muscles. Additionally, when his neck broke in a cycling accident, he lost the ability to sweat, and so has to spray himself down every 15 minutes to mimic sweating. The following is a photo of Pieter and myself after we completed Tri Rock 70.3 last year.
At SBR Sport we come across the most amazing people day after day. So, what is it that you have accomplished? My fear is that you will predicate your event with the word, “only”. In other words, you might answer by telling me that you have only done a 10 k race. I want to use this article to ban the word, “Only”. To ‘only’ run 10 km’s you need a few million things to go right. These include time to train, the health to run, finances to buy shoes and kit, and then a million physical processes that all need to come together. You typically run at a cadence of over 90 steps per minute with each leg doing 45 pushes. Over an hour that is, 5400 strides. Almost every muscle in your body will be used during this time with your heart and lungs furiously working to provide enough oxygen to your cells so that they in turn might be able to burn up their fuel stores in order to keep you moving. It truly is fantastic. I wrote an article a while ago about what happens when you run- it is quite technical, but will give you an idea of what your body will have to pull off. Look at http://sbrsport.me/2012/08/11/the-runners-gait/ when you have a chance. So, hats off to you who swim, bike and run. In the digital age of inactivity you cut straight across the grain. Well done to you who:
- Hold full time jobs and yet still find time to train.
- Have families to take care of and yet still get out there.
- Have disregarded age and just simply kept moving forward.
Full sombreros tipped to you who:
- Train despite disease. We have had so many cancer tacklers and survivors through our doors that just keep going and refuse to surrender. We have met people who with the challenges of asthma, diabetes e.t.c continue to make their lives an absolute adventure. I have met people who have been in horrific car accidents and yet with their broken bodies have found a way to move forward.
- To those who been told by your doctor that it’s time to train or else risk early death and you simply got out there and 5, 10, 15 kg’s of weight loss later you continue celebrating your new life style.
- Have used exercise to break an addiction.
You absolutely rock.
To those who on a scale of 1 to nutty are planning on hitting the complete nut status of Ironman, 2 Oceans Ultra, Comrades, Transbaviians e.t.c, learn to walk around with a permanent smile on your face. So many out there could never even dream of tackling half of those distances. Celebrate your health and the opportunities that have been afforded to you.
N.B. Since writing this article, Pieter has become the first quadriplegic to have completed a full Ironman.