Grant Harding Ironman Life #20


Hawke's Bay Today's Deputy Editor Grant Harding, who will be participating 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.

We're now into JOCKTOBER.

No, the renaming of the 10th month of the year, is not to celebrate Daniel Carter's continued fine form for the all-conquering All Blacks - presumably while wearing the all-conquering briefs.

It's merely the unofficial title I have given it to focus concentration, after losing training momentum in the last week of September.

I got back on the bike, so to speak, with an "easy" schedule over the last seven days, although a few kilometres of cycling was all that was not completed. That could have been taken care of at the 3Rivers Duathlon yesterday but involvement as a spectator at the New Zealand Junior Squash Championships in Palmerston North put paid to that.

No worries. Training had been enjoyable - an unbroken 2km swim on Friday a highlight - and the squash was an exciting family affair.

With a "jock" sometimes defined as a person easily identifiable as a sportsman, it fits this month.

For example, you would have to be a jock to swim in Pandora Pond at Ahuriri at this time of year, even if the buoys have been put out just for that reason. I caught up with a few who were about to, and saw several others who were doing it over the week.

One of them brought his pool thermometer to check the water temperature - a chilly 14C. And away he went. That jock deserves the definition which hints at "no academic brains".

It's no way for this Jose! Ocean Spa is as close as I'm going to the briny.

JOCKTOBER is also appropriate because it features both the end of the autumn/winter programme, and the start of the spring/summer programme: The Tour of the Bay Cycle next Sunday, and either the Icebuster Triathlon or the Napier Pakn'Save Half-Marathon on October 28. Then it's on to GOVEMBER (MOVEMBER for the hairier among us, and GOMOVEMBER for British double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah's training month) with the IronMaori Quarter-Ironman, the Mitre 10 Mega Walk, the Peak Trail Blazer and the Staples Rodway Cape Kidnappers Challenge.

All leading to IronMaori on the first weekend in December.

With the improving weather it's now easier to stop for a conversation with fellow jocks, find out how they're doing, what they're aiming for and compare notes on the challenges we all face. Triathletes love to talk.

And it is an exciting time with more than 30 Hawke's Bay folk competing at the World Age-Group Triathlon championships on October 22.

It is easy to get swept up in the excitement and forget that my hard work lies in the distance, post-IronMaori.

On a recent cycle ride I met Kathy Eggers, who will be a rookie at Ironman New Zealand in 2013. She reminded me of myself in 2010 - all serious intent, fitting in training alongside family and work, worried if she's doing enough, worried if she's doing too much, worried because she's worried, or because she's not worried. By the time she'd dragged me into Napier I was exhausted because man, could she talk! She's definitely a jock.

If not as jockish as Brett Mudgway and John Moriarty who will compete at the World Ironman Championships in Kona, Hawaii on Sunday in the 55-59 age-group.

As Brett said when I spoke to him 10 minutes before departure: "Go the vets, go the vets, go the hard-arses."

Sort of sums up the idea behind JOCKTOBER, really.

In association with Hawke's Bay Today

Twitter: @GrantHarding4

- Hawkes Bay Today

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