Grant Harding Ironman life #7


Hawke's Bay Today deputy editor Grant Harding, who will participate in Ironman New Zealand 2013, having completed the event in 2010 and gone to the start line this year only to be denied by the weather, shares his Ironman life.

I had a training accident this week ... well, training-related mishap would be more accurate.

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It happened in the shower at work after I had completed an 8km run early on Friday afternoon.

It had nothing to do with bending down to pick up soap, or slipping on a wet floor. I wasn't even wet when I realised I was in trouble.

The penny dropped that I was trapped in the printers' changing-room shower immediately after I closed the handle-less door behind me.

After washing I grappled with the problem at hand and decided that the gap at the bottom of the door was worth a go. On my back with my legs halfway up the wall - a superb hamstring stretch, if a disturbing sight - I pushed my head under the door and began to slide out, only to get trapped at the chest.

I retreated back to my cell.

Then I tried to go out on my front. Quite why I thought going out on my front would work better I'm not sure. It didn't.

So I refitted the handle, which was lying on the floor, but to no avail.

With no printers expected at work for several hours there was only one thing for it: I yelled.

And my call was answered by a heroine.

Unfortunately, at the moment she walked into the locker room, I got the handle to work (by releasing the lock ... duh!) and emerged wearing nothing but a towel.

Normally I use sub-editor Hinda Lall (name changed to protect her from embarrassment, but just switch the first letter of each name) to judge the moral outrage we can expect from middle Hawke's Bay with regard to any incident on which we are about to report.

On this occasion, however, she let herself down. She lingered with her eyes just a bit too long.

I felt like offering a variation of a comment a Wellington transsexual made to me when I expressed shock after bumping into him as I rounded a corner into Vivian St once upon a night many years ago. "Haven't you seen a beautiful woman before?" the deep-voiced former front-rower said.

My violation continued in the newsroom where online editor Peter Fowler asked Hinda if I'd been nude. Quite why he wanted to know this I'm not sure.

But Parron Shardoennay (aka production editor Sharron Pardoe) was quick to reply: "No, he had a towel on."

Fortunately in triathlon one gets used to one's body being on display.

In training there are the swimming briefs, the tri-pants or cycle shorts which leave little to the imagination.

I was even twice fully nude - In the interests of comfort, you understand - during my first Ironman New Zealand in 2010. I believe both the female volunteers who helped me with my gear in the transition changing tents have returned every year since. It's only a rumour though.

In a half-ironman all gear changes are made in public, although full gear changes are not encouraged.

So it is a sport where it doesn't pay to have major issues about your body image.

That said, the man boobs that stopped me from getting under that shower door, and a sense that my body is beginning to winter, have made me aware how hard I have to work in the next three months.

Although I was in Auckland for a few days this past week I still trained: an 8km run on one day, a static bike session another.

On top of that I am joining a gym. Athletes of my age need to identify and strengthen weaknesses that are holding them back, prevent injury, keep motivated and stay generally fit. Tailored gym work helps to achieve that.

Not that it supercedes the basic structure of my programme for the next eight weeks - four runs, two cycles and two swims per week. Included in that is the second event of the Hawke's Bay Trail Run Series this Sunday, and the second Friendly Dental VLK Duathlon the following weekend.

Gym work, triathlon-specific training, events - if there's a next time I get stuck in the shower, at least I'll be looking good.

* 38 weeks to go: training diary in next week's column

* Twitter: @GrantHarding4

* In association with Hawke's Bay Today

- Hawkes Bay Today

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