Who would have guessed that I’d have picked the joys of iron-distance triathlon racing for my sport of choice? Certainly not those who’ve suffered the ignominy of being my long-term friends.
It was more than a decade ago that little ol’ me was big ’ol me, preferring to consume beverages that anaesthetise rather than drinks that slap you round the chops and keep you running. But here I am, with many a musty long-course race t-shirt nestled in my cupboard, pondering the ways that I’ve changed over the last fitness-fuelled decade…
When I took up Ironman, I thought I’d get a body that would render the need for a nutcracker obsolete forever. However, what I have in fact ended up with is a body more like an anglepoise lamp. Doing Ironmans has made me look really haggard and my plummeting weight means that I’ve had to buy a whole new wardrobe.
I do so many miles on my ride to work that the hush which descends over the office as I walk in isn’t awe-inspired respect – it’s my workmates holding their breath. And this is despite my washing machine being in permanent action trying to keep my kit clean. In fact, if the scientists in CERN want to see something that travels at a million miles an hour, they should scrap the Large Hadron Collider and just come and watch my electricity meter.
Food, glorious food
Before I took up tri, my entire diet could be summed up by the nursery rhyme “one potato, two potato, three potato, four.” I still eat like this now except that, thanks to the extreme hunger caused by training, I’ll eat whatever else is in the kitchen cupboard as well. I frequently have post-ride meals with food combinations that would make even Heston Blumenthal throw up.
Having spent years not really being aware that times like 4.30am actually existed, I can now be found slogging up and down my local pool or pounding along roads in the pre-dawn half-light with just the rabbits for company, while much of the general public is still coming in from the pub. It must be great to be an elite triathlete and train whenever you want; they don’t have to sit through afternoon meetings at work with one eye open so it looks like they’re awake and the other closed because they were out running at five o’clock.
Long-course racing’s a funny thing, causing all sorts of unusual and unnatural habits. Only recently I’ve been preparing myself for what will actually happen on race day. Not training, of course – simply inviting swimmers to kick me in the face, cycling until my arse goes numb, consuming gels until I’m sick and then running like my life depends on it. It’s great!
More by Martyn
- 10 reasons why you should never do an Ironman…
- 10 reasons why you should never, ever, date a triathlete…
- How to avoid looking like a tri numpty
- 21 baffling things about triathlon
- Race T-shirts: what yours says about you
- When to wear race t-shirts
- 12 of the best race-day excuses
- Top 10 not-needed triathlon gadgets