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Triathlon Training: Nasty, Brutish but Not Short

By Scott Simpson

February 8, 2010

Life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short". That's according to philosopher Thomas Hobbes. Cheer up Chuckles, you didn't have it so bad.

I have officially started my ironman training which means the 'get fat and slow' part of my training season has come to a screeching halt at 173lbs and many missed workouts, but not meals. Mmmmm -- chocolate. Alas, it is now time to buckle down (coz I can barely buckle up) and start into long base building workouts. As such, I have recently bumped up the volume and frequency of workouts, especially on the swim and bike, and implemented hard-day/easy-day rotations.

After 3 months of sporadic, non-structured maintenance training and loss of fitness (replaced by fatness), it is a bit of a shock to the system to have some longish multisport training days. Do you know how I tell? Because I fall asleep before 8pm while sitting on the couch -- head back, mouth open, snoring and drooling. Very attractive.

After the first few hard days, which were, um, hard, I'm kind of pleasantly surprised at how quickly my body is adapting to the return of training stress. And the familiarity of real hunger as a signal to eat is a welcome return compared to the no holds barred eating I had been doing.

Hunger also reminds me of my trip to Malawi and meeting people, many living with HIV/AIDS, who were literally starving to death. In particular, I have a vivid memory of meeting a frail and rail-thin grandmother. We sat in the shade under a tree outside her one room hut. Through an interpreter I learned that she was looking after her 3 grandchildren, all under the age of 8, because their parents had died of AIDS. Two of the kids were also HIV+.

She showed me her meager supply of maize that was to feed them for the next few months until the next harvest. She also gestured toward the current crop. Being a farm boy, I recognized a crop stunted by lack of rain and fertilizer. At the time I wondered how she would manage. Today, I wonder if she and her grandchildren are alive.

Since then, when I feel peckish because I haven't eaten in a few hours, I catch myself before saying "I'm starving". It belittles the challenge of those in the world who struggle to find enough food every day to sustain life.

Meanwhile, my biggest challenge is finding enough time to swim, bike, run. A far cry from being poor, nasty, brutish and short.

WTF up with our world Hobbes?

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