Wednesday, 2 April 2008

"I'm just not that calibre..."

This evening at gym I met two chaps, Darryl and Paul. Brothers. They were next to me in the stretching area. Darryl says to Paul, "Isn't there an adventure race on this Saturday". "I think so," Paul replies. Unable to resist I add, "Ja, the Jozi event".

We get chatting and Darryl asks, "You doing the Swazi one?".

"No," I replied. "I'm helping Darron with some of the organisation stuff. I hope you're going to be there?"

"I'm just not that calibre...".

Darryl didn't make it much past the last syllable.

"This is just the problem," I continued. "Preconceptions and misconceptions. You think you can't do it before you've even tried."

99.2% of the people lined up at the start of Swazi Xtreme (and any other distance race for that matter - Eden, Nguni, Bull etc) are not of that unattainable, imagined calibre. They're normal people with jobs, children, families, responsibilities, overtime, social committments and home maintenance. They also enjoy being outdoors and active and even though they may skip a whole week of training, they just decide to go for it anyway.

They then got the usual from me on how sprint races are no reflection on an adventure race; that teams that make it through a race do so because they're consistent, not fast; that they would have probably considered entering if sprint races never existed and a 3-day was was all there was; and that they should enter the SPORT event (essentially a 3-day, staged sprint race) as a pair - then they need only one support crew and one vehicle.

In the course of the conversation two other elements emerged as to why they hadn't entered (aside from not being of the imagined "calibre"):

"My life is not very organised" and "But..."

My responses to the above were:

"Get it organised" (I've been watching a lot of Dr House on DVD) and "Procrastionation! If you have a heart attack in the middle of May or are in an accident I bet you'll wish you'd just given the race a go?" (I've thought stuff like this a lot recently - first after the untimely of my dear friend Paul in Oct 2004 and then again when Philip passed away last year).
Darryl asked, "Do you get commission?". Funny boy.
If it wasn't Swazi it would be something else; and whether it is Nguni, Singletrack Mania, Eden, Bull, Mondi or Quantum Adventures they'd get the same talking to. Believe friends, believe.

One Sunday afternoon, a few weeks ago, I stopped in at my uncle's place to say hi; it was the afternoon after my SPUR event. There were a whole bunch of people there, including my cousin's cousin, who was out from the UK to visit. I think she's been over there for about 3-4 years. She says to my younger cousin, "So what's new?". "Nothing," he answered, holding his 1-year old daughter (I personally thought she'd count as "new"). Nothing new in 4-years?

Readers-of-this-blog... I do hope that you don't answer "Nothing" to that same question.
You can choose to make your life interesting. You can choose to present yourself with challenges. You can choose to open that door. What's the worst that can happen? You can be really buggered after Day 1 and choose to spend Day 2 in the shade and continue on Day 3. There's no shame in this.

But there is shame in not giving yourself a chance and being able to answer "What's new?" with a tale of an adventurous escapade.

Darryl and Paul: you go to my gym, you obviously live nearby and I can get your contact details from event organisers of sprints in which you've taken part. I do hope you'll think about it.


Anonymous said...

Once you are on the other side of the door, people doing "Nothing" seems so boring. Slaving their lives away in routine.

Doing Swazi is one of my dreams, but starting the race with an ITB injury fresh in rehab, would be letting down my team and possibly slow down my recovery, so i will be seconding...

adventurelisa said...

Good move to give the racing part a skip Jacques. You'll definitely enjoy the seconding this year 'cos there will be a lot more action with teams coming and going ;)

Anonymous said...

Lisa, this was a wonderful mail and you’ve really allayed my fears about not wanting to enter because I’m not fit or strong or able or good enough or that our navigation is too dodgy or whatever else I can think of as an excuse!

coydogheath said...

hey i think i'm signing up for MDS 2009. what do you think? join me

Anonymous said...

Now I am pumped....think I am going to enter the Bull. Oops, I hope you are not able to get hold of my details :)

kungfujedi said...

Excellent post, and so thoughtful. You make some great points. We need to stop making up excuses for why we can't do things, and just do the things we want to do. Thanks for the reminder! :)