Hawke's Bay Today deputy editor Grant Harding shares his Ironman life after completing Ironman New Zealand 2010 and while training for this year's event.
The Ironman Grinch almost defeated me.
Right up until last Friday I was fighting a losing battle with myself.
It all started three weeks ago. Just when I was feeling like Captain Scarlet* along came iliotibial band syndrome.
We could start with the gluteus maximus (Editor's note: no photo please!) and work our way down, but in short, I have pain in the outside of my right knee.
It surfaced at the completion of an 18km run on December 15. No warning - just a sudden pain, accompanied by an alarming swelling.
The lay doctor in me said, ""this is not your normal tear or strain"", because I wasn't exercising at the time. I knew it was the body telling me something.
To say I was annoyed is an understatement. I'd come through four events in four weekends and was planning to take part in another the next day to finish a top week of training.
Instead it was back to Plus Rehab in Taradale.
Initially Dr Evil (Tony Snell - not a character in Captain Scarlet, but he could have been) wasn't available to see me. But on arrival there he was. That man could smell a lynching from a thousand paces.
There was no "bad luck mate" followed by gentle massage of the sore area. It was straight into sweat-inducing, gut-wrenching stretching.
Tightness from the hip down had irritated my knee, prompting Evil to write a new Tui billboard: "Has Grant Harding been doing his gliding and sliding - yeah right!"
Fit? Yes. Flexible? No. Unfortunately one without the other meant no running for at least two weeks. Captain Scarlet I was not.
It's easy for the evil Doctor to say, "become the best duathlete you can be while injured", but after all the hard work I'd put in I became "the best depressed triathlete" I could be.
The only positive was that my training programme for December 17-23 said: "Xmas week see what happens".
Injured, trying to train, be father, partner, deputy editor, and join the Christmas rush ... my head was exploding.
Just like my tyre on the morning of Christmas Day. The Grinch was at it again.
Into the New Year life continued to win the battle over Ironman with not enough exceptions, so that by Friday it was make or break.
Fortunately the sun was shining so I dragged myself down to Ocean Spa for a 2km swim before work, then took an early afternoon break to run 16km. My knee was still tender, but it settled quickly. It was the boost I needed.
I had sworn off alcohol, after celebrating my late Dad's birthday the previous day. Fifty-seven sober days to Ironman.
And the Gods again smiled yesterday when a friend of the twins invited them over for the afternoon.
The week's 100km bike ride was a reality.
All I really wanted for Christmas was a sound body, to turn back the clock, go hard and do a better Ironman than last time (and a million dollars).
Instead the Ironman Grinch and I will battle for the next eight weeks. Unfortunately I'm not Captain Scarlet.
* Captain Scarlet was a 32-episode 1967-68 puppet series, from the makers of Thunderbirds. It was set in 2068, charting the hostilities between Earth and a race of Martians. Spectrum, an international security organisation, boasts the remarkable abilities of its top agent, Captain Scarlet, who possesses the martian healing power of "retro-metabolism". This ability to return to life, even after suffering fatal injuries, essentially made Scarlet "indestructible".
In association with Hawke's Bay Today