Training is starting to consume more of my life; it is taking over in areas I haven't even thought it would matter. I find I'm checking weather reports on Sunday afternoons planning my riding and running for the week, my evenings taken up with prep for the next day whether that's laying out cycling gear or finding a fresh towel for the kit bag. And I'm becoming more conscious of what I'm putting in my mouth, questioning if it's going fuel me positively or negatively, but more and more I'm starting to question my motives.
Why am I getting up at 5:30am every morning; I have no doubt it's for the thrill of it. I love the training the effort required and the endorphin's it's produces, but why train? I'm being asked it more & more by those outside of my training circle.
The reality is I don't think I'm going to win an event, at 33 those young kids have got 10 years of training on me, I don't even think I could win my age group, I will sure as hell try but the reality is a Top 10 finish would be an amazing result and just finishing without dying is a bonus. I enjoy beating my PB and the personal goals, the games within a game is sometimes the driving factor. Can I ride faster this week than the last, can I run under 20 mins for 5km and still last till the end of the race.
But why do all the effort for a few minutes when it's only you keeping score?
And that's when I started to dig a little deeper; when I started to think further into the hidden factors to rolling my pedals over and over again at 6am, pushing myself faster and faster to get home from work while leaning into a headwind and a little rain mixed in that makes your teeth clench and your jaw numb.
It's her. Z-Girl. Otherwise known as Zara. I'm running, riding and cycling all while creating positive change in our family life for her, for us. Maybe when she is older we will enjoy running and cycling together, no doubt at 12 she will find my obsession with lyrca & french mountains embarrassing. At the moment she has no idea and the mornings spent speeding along running tracks will be only memories from a photo, but I think your mind can remember more than that, I think it stores experiences.
And then there is the frustration of her hips, she has had Hip Dysplasia pretty much from birth; with the Maternal Health nurse first picking up on her lopsided legs and the scans at the Royal Childrens Hospital confirming it. Z-Girl has been in a brace now for longer than she has been out of one, and I know it's not the end of the world and in due time she will be able to hopefully have it removed.
The brace pins her legs back into a curve, similar to that of an old style western cowboy and requires it to be on for 23hrs a day. She doesn't know why. And for most part it hasn't effected her too much, it makes changing her difficult, a lot of her clothes we got as gifts from nice friends stopped fitting her as they can't stretch over the brace, as she hits the solid eating phase it's difficult to get her to fit into the high chair as her legs don't slide in correctly, she struggles no matter how much she wants to sit up to keep her balance with a plastic bar under her backside rocking her forward, and when she lays down on her play mat she can only rock side to side and can't roll onto her stomach and finally where the brace grips her legs its clamped her muscles in her thighs so now her leg is skinny in one section and over sized in another so even with it removed you're reminded where it is.
It's my evenings when I speed home taking the shortest least traffic light ride home so as to see her for bath time, it's the best moment when we can take the brace off for a fleeting hour. Her face lights up, her legs jiggle about, and the first thing she does is roll over and over trying to put her foot in her mouth (why not you would if you could) But the brace always returns in the end, the legs pinned back, and then she tries to sleep waking up frustrated in the night because she can't stretch them out, it can't be comfortable sleeping with your legs entrapped.
When I run to work I think about how frustrated I would be if my legs were in a brace, if I was told I only had 1 hour of activity a day to which I can move my legs and what would I do with that precious little time.
Now don't get me wrong there are people out there with worse issues with their kids, children with little to be happy about, and having stopped playing rugby this year and hear of Maciu's injury certainly gave give goose bumps as to those days stuck in the scrums.
I'm moving because of those that can't move, I'm moving so I don't ever take for granted what is not always a given ability, I'm moving to remind myself that movement & endurance is what made us evolve to the species we are, it allowed us to live longer than those before us. When I use my body to propel myself, instead of to propel a ball I'm directly connected to my body and to my surroundings a connection that we take for granted as we run for the bus or walk to the shops.
So as I searched for the answer deeper and deeper I start to contemplate it, my heart rate thudding against my chest cavity as I climb up the hill one foot in front of the other on my way to work. I'm riding, running and swimming because I don't want to stop moving! that one day a doctor, a hamstring or the big man upstairs will tap me on the shoulder and tell me .....
"That's enough Oliver time to sit down"
And when I do sit down I will always remember all those movements, all those efforts, no doubt my memory will fade but my experiences won't leave me, so when Z-Girl get's asked what her Dad does she'll say
"He moves, he moves a lot"
"He moves, he moves a lot"
#dadathlon #forher #Geelong2016 #running #cycling #swimming #tritraining