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Sat, 01 Oct 2011

Try to remember what is normal - 21:28
At many times I really do need a reminder about what most of the population would consider kind of normal in the exercise realm. This became obvious over the last few months while reading the Canberra Times articles about the preparation for people training for the Canberra Times Fun run.

This is a stark reminder that to many people a 10KM run is a challenge and something they can not just go and do any given day. Another strong reminder of why my sister often tells me myself and the majority of my friends are freaks.

Sure I go around telling people I am not particularly fit, this is because of relative comparisons. I tend to compare myself to friends such as Dave and Julie, so obviously I am not that fit really. Friends that think it is normal to run a 100 KM ultra marathon then back it up two weeks later with a 24 hour rogaine. They have been known to head out for 84km training runs.

In the bike realm I hang around with the likes of Ben Henderson, Andrew Hall, Ed McDonald, and their ilk and am well aware they will beat the pants off me on the mtb or road bike. My friends and I will happily go do a 15 km Tuesday evening training run at faster than 5 minute km pace chatting away with hills and bush in the dark. This is normal behaviour for us. Same goes for riding, a 70 km road ride before work of a morning or 2 hours on the mtb is not strange.

I remember thinking at Dave's bucks party a few years back there was no one in the room who would not be able to do a 100km mtb event in under 7 hours or a marathon in under 4 (or both for most of them). Now I admit I do a lot of exercise, and a large part of it is I love having fun outdoors, and the further you can go the more of the outdoors you can fit into limited time. I like being able to have some friend suggest some trip or event and know I will be able to say sounds good let's go do it. And I will be able to do this activity and get through it with confidence and not find it too hard.

These activities include things like: the 320km Jindabyne to Jindabyne loop via Khancoban and Adaminaby, riding to the top of Mt Kosci in two days from Canberra off road (camping overnight in the bush), 48 hour adventure races, 360km non stop mtb races, 100 km ultra marathon in pairs (half each).

Though I run a lot more now than I did around 6 years ago I have been reasonably fit since I got into cycling seriously at the age of 12 or so, thus I would never think it impossible to head out for a 10 km run. Nowdays I would not even consider it particularly difficult to decide to compete in a 25 km run tomorrow with no specific preparation. Thus it really is a wake up call to see these multi-month training schedules to get people to complete a 10 KM fun run.

A previous housemate who had been running a lot (more than I do) had competed in the bush capital marathon (and did very well), so decided to enter the Fitzroy Falls marathon, however a week after that he had also entered his first ever 100 km mtb event and the following week was heading to Tasmania for a 4 day bush walk. To me this sounded like lots of fun and I said he should go ahead and enjoy it. He claimed I was the only friend he had that did not think it all rather over the top. Again it reminded me how different so many of my friends are as many of them regularly do similar series of weekends.

Last year one of my sister's friends had spent a while trying to convince her to compete with her in a 5 km run, however Jane was convinced she would not survive the event and instead suggested a triathlon in a team so she would only have to do the swim legs (a sport she does at her local pool often), (I thought otherwise about her ability to complete a 5 km run, but I have to remember I filter these things differently). I think it a laudable goal to do a triathlon in a team, I have never competed in a triathlon by myself either.

It is a huge wake up call to be reminded that most of the population would struggle to do a 10km run without a fair amount of preparation and would struggle with a reasonably paced 30km ride around the lake or similar. I was interested to hear from a friend in Adelaide recently who took his 8 year old son for a running race, 6 km, the first time his son had raced more than a 2km event at school sports or similar. And from the sounds of it they both had a great time doing this together. It is good to see the children of some of my friends who fit into the similar fitness category to me as they grow up surrounded by people who consider this normal.

Susie and Phillo's kids will grow up thinking 24 hour rogaine events and marathon runs are what everyone's parents do and probably emulate their parents to some extent, I already see Sam and Ben's daughters doing so much cool stuff, such as CORC Dirt Crit events from the age of two and a half to family fun runs, or multi day hikes though Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand. I do however have to remind myself often, not everyone is like myself and so many of my friends, it is a bit like when university educated people so often only hang around with others with similar backgrounds and then are shocked at the sentiments coming from people who have a completely different life and background.

It is worth remembering to celebrate the Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations of the people out there (to use a Star Trek term, IDIC) even when it is surprising to us.

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