Hanging up my football boots this season

I’ve played football (aka soccer for the Yanks) every season since 11th grade. It has only been in the last year or so that I’ve gotten into individual sports such as Triathlon. But today has been a sad day for me. I have decided to give up playing football for this year.

The biggest factor in this is self preservation. In June last year I had lung surgery. Since then my right lung has not went down, but it has not felt normal since then. It isn’t painful or hindering breathing too much, but just becomes uncomfortable at times. After a very easy pre-season training this evening, I felt lethargic and seemed to take longer than usual to catch my breath after an exertion (sprinting, tackling etc).

It could just be it has been only two weeks since the Ironman and my muscles have yet to recover. It could also be that my body has got used to long, constant speed workouts, as opposed to the sharp and irregular running involved with football. Perhaps my slow twitch endurance muscle fibres have grown while the fast twitch ones used in sprinting have diminished?

Either way, I’ve made up my mind and will take the sensible route of avoiding contact based sports for the next year. Also something I have become accustomed to with the Ironman training is being able to exercise when and where I want. You also get the exercise the moment you head out. Conversely, there is quite a lot of mucking about and squandered time before training and games. This has become more important when you’re working full time and struggling to fit everything else in. I still enjoy playing footy but looking after myself comes first and foremost.

Held up in traffic

I’m a born and raised Wellingtonian. I went to Christchurch for varsity and have recently moved up to Auckland for work. Prior to moving to the Big Smoke, others told me how they liked Auckland but hated it for its traffic problems. I live and work in the North Shore, which fortunately has traffic problems that I can cope with.

This afternoon I was in town for work, which was handy as there’s a Stroke and Stride event at Mission Bay in the evening that I’ve entered in. I left the city at around 5:15pm, thinking that there would be heaps of time to get to Mission Bay which is 8 km away, even in moderate traffic. Boy, I was wrong!

It ended up taking me close to one and a half hours to drive from the CBD to Mission Bay. Ridiculous! All of the streets in the CBD were clogged up and traffic was at a complete standstill. I later found out one crash was all it took to cause absolute mayhem in the city. I know that traffic is bad in the city, but I was flabbergasted how one crash could cause this. From today I am glad that I currently live within walking distance to work and not in the city! Otherwise, if I had to contend with the traffic, the City of Sails might be a deal-breaker.

Cyclist attack at Taupo

Hearing things like this make me mad. A cyclist was out on a training ride in preparation for the same Ironman I’ve entered in. While out on the bike he suffered injuries after a road rage incident with a motorist, and is now unable to complete in this year’s Ironman NZ. From the article there appears to have been a kerfuffle between the parties.

I would like to discuss about the repercussions of this unfortunate incident.

Firstly the cyclist, who was training for his eight Ironman triathlon is in hospital with broken bones. Whether it is your first or you’ve done several before, an Ironman triathlon requires a lot of training and preparation. For newbies like me, I’ve been training for most of a year. This has been a huge commitment: it has taken up a lot of my spare time, made me somewhat (/more?) anti-social, and has cost a fair bit of dosh. I can only imagine how infuriating it would be to be made incapable of competing in an Ironman by a deranged motorist.

Now the motorist. Yes the cyclist made an inappropriate gesture. It is alleged that this was a result of the motorist coming uncomfortably close to the cyclist while overtaking another vehicle. Now I’m both a cyclist and a motorist. I know how vulnerable you are on a bike. I also know how annoying it is to be driving behind slow motorists. But after being caught and convicted of the heinous act, the driver is likely have an entry on his criminal record. I’m guessing this stupid mistake will have repercussions for travelling abroad and future job prospects.

The key point, in my opinion, is whether the agro is necessary. Yes you might think you are in the right. But is it really any skin off your nose to let it go? And if something bad almost happens, why not take note and let the authorities handle it?

Thieves at Parnell Pools

Something unfortunate happened today. My phone got stolen!

I was at Parnell pools which is a popular public outdoor swimming pool. Many of the triathletes and open water swimmers train there as the pool is about 60 m long and is salt water with minimal chlorination (so it won’t damage your wetsuit). I had left my phone in my pool bag on one of the benches beside the pool. The rank thief must have ventured into my bag and left with my phone. Not happy about this! At least they didn’t take my wallet or any of the cash in it. Now that would have really pissed me off.

So the hard lesson of today is not to leave any valuables unattended at public places. From now on I’ll be taking only the $6.30 pool admission fee and leaving my wallet and phone in my car.

The long road home

Due to my recent pneumothorax, I couldn’t return to Auckland by airplane. The only way to make my way back to the Big Smoke was to travel by land and sea. This morning I’ll catch The Coastal Pacific train from Christchurch to Picton, followed by the Bluebridge ferry from Picton to Wellington. Fortunately mum and dad live in Wellington, so I’ll stay the night there. Tomorrow I’ll catch The Overlander train from Wellington to Auckland, catch a Taxi from Middlemore Station to where I parked my car, and then finally drive to the North Shore. It’s going to a long two days!