It Takes A Village
Thirty days from now I will be departing for Racing the Planet Nepal - 250km in six back to back stages and 99% self-supported. I will be participating on behalf of Mencap - a UK based charity to benefit those with learning disabilities.
Racing the Planet Nepal is my first ever multi-day event and true to form I didn’t exactly bite off something simple. The approximate distance by stage is: 40km, 40km, 40km, 42km, 75km, 15km. The lowest elevation on course is 700m and we climb as high as 3,200m. Total elevation change is 18,700m or twice the height of Mt. Everest. Suspension bridges are also common on the course with the one spanning 250m and hanging 150m above the valley floor.
Training began in early July after taking some time off from the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Certainly this has been the most physically ambitious endeavour I have ever taken on and while it may be my legs that will cover the actual terrain there is a whole team of people who will have been instrumental in the preparations and training for this event. I do not know how other competitors do it but for me without any of these people the ability to mentally and physically prepare for an event like this simply would not be possible.
Steve Nairn – Sitka Physio & Wellness - Steve has been my physiotherapist since I had shoulder surgery in 2008. My shoulder was ultimately rehabilitated beyond where doctors had advised me I’d be able to get it, gaining greater rotation and strength. As a endurance sport enthusiast I have encountered some other injuries and body stresses over the past few years. Each time I get reliable and professional treatment at Sitka. Oh – I also love their online booking because between training, work, fundraising and general life it becomes pretty easy to miss making that appointment phone call.
Stella Seto – Stellar Health - Stella is a Naturopathic Doctor and has been a god-send in helping prevent and recover from injury. Katherine Moore directed me to Stella for IMS treatment. Intramuscular stimulation is a form of acupuncture that focuses on the release of trigger points. For those that have had IMS, there is a special relationship between patient and practitioner; Stella is someone who I highly trust. In addition to IMS treatment I’ve received homeopathic treatments and invaluable advice on supplements and nutrition. I also love that she practices out of YYoga’s Flow Wellness location so I can follow up treatments with an infrared sauna session on some yin yoga.
Teammates – Running Amok ”Yes I understand. You devote hours and hours to competing in races you’ll never win, you want to build up muscles that your office job will never require… I get it, and I’ll help you.” (Peter Sagal) My running group is largely made up of current and past Team in Training participants. There are few things a running partner doesn’t know about you and there is no measure for the capacity to support or the ability to absorb your mid-run irrational rants because over 30km just about everyone gets in a pretty foul mood. And everything gets forgiven by post-run breakfast. Other runners provide a sense of understanding and motivation that is unparalleled.
Friends & Family Training for an endurance event means a lot of sacrifice: diet, nights out, missed social events because time on the track or foot steps on the pavement needed to be squeezed in. Extra physio sessions, yoga classes, afternoon naps, frustrated moods tied to injury or a bad training session. The demand for understanding that an endurance athlete puts on their friends and family is completely ridiculous. Seriously. Few people really appreciate that you’ve got to leave the social event of the year at 9:00pm on a Saturday night because you need to be in bed in half an hour so you can get up and run at 7:00am. Oh – and instead of that glass of wine or beer you brought your own organic coconut water or the other latest and greatest health drink.
Fundraising Supporters Sports philanthropy is probably one of the single greatest growing trends that I am seeing today: Mencap, Team in Training, Ride to Conquer Cancer, Team Diabetes, Climb for Change – the list goes on. I continue to be amazed by the support and donations that people provide with or without connection to the athlete’s cause. When you “hit that wall” during training or on race day there is no single greater motivator than thinking of the cause and the people you are participating for and the number of motivational messages that supporters have sent your way to keep on foot in front of the other. Since 2007 I have used Minor Meyers Jr’s quote as the tagline for fundraising campaigns and it still rings loudly today.
“Go into the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.”