30 November 2008

My Superhuman Flatmate

Sam, complete with grin, competing in an ITU
World Cup race in 2006

At my new home in Bayswater, I live with Rex, Sara and Sam. Rex and Sara are brother and sister who hail from Omaha (Northland, not Nebraska) - he's an engineer who gets paid very well, if the conversation I just heard him having with Sam is anything to go by - and she is a nursing school dropout who now works at a company which imports plumbing products in Albany.

Sam is some sort of otherworldly creature, originally from "the other side" of Auckland. Honestly, I know I tend to inflate others, but Sam really is something else. He's an electrical engineer, New Zealand representative in triathlon, owns two homes, surfs, skates and to top it off is pretty well the North Shore's nicest guy. He even smiles when he talks. It's kind of unbelievable.

On Monday night, which was - as previously mentioned in "Day One at SRA" - the worst weather day EVER, Sam sauntered into the lounge where Sara and I were watching TV.
"I think I'm going to go for a run." We both looked at him like he was crazy. Surely even Jesus himself wouldn't go for a run in this. But Sam did. He returned, over two hours later with a half-crazy grin on his face. "Well, I went swimming too..." he admitted, almost guiltily. "All the surfers were out, having a good time so I went in with them." Only Sam.

This week, he's been running to the beach before dawn, having a swim and running home. The beach is like, 5km away which isn't anything too serious, but this is before he puts a full day in at work - sometimes returning after 7pm and heads out for another run. Who IS this guy?!

I decided to find out, and googled him about five minutes ago. Turns out he's raced all over the place as an elite. I mean, I struggle to place at age-group nationals, and last season, triathlon was my life. Last year, Sam had an ITU ranking of 107th. So he's no Javier Gomez... but then who is? I mean, even he choked at the Olympics.

"Sam is like, a perfect human being." Steph, Rex's (almost perfect herself, I must admit) girlfriend said last night after Sam whirlwinded in and back out of the house. "He ran a half-marathon in 1 hour 16, on no training, and was disappointed." Okay, so I can empathise with him there, because even when you're awesome, you still want to be better, and other peoples' standards don't really cut mustard compared to your own. But 1:16? That's not too shabby. Give this guy a training grant and a few months of work and I really feel that he could be a competitive runner. Competitive like, on a world scale.
"I wonder why he broke up with his old girlfriend. Maybe he like, dropped a plate or something and she decided he wasn't perfect." So Steph does come out with some interesting evaluations of people, but I can't help but secretly wonder why someone hasn't snapped Sam up.

This morning, I needed the pedals changed on my road bike, so I went up to get Sam. I found him, balanced on a wheely chair in his room, fixing his own smoke alarm. I understand that he went to school for four years, studying electrical-related things, so this was probably quite a simple task for him, but he then came downstairs and had changed my pedals before I had finished putting my bike shoes on. He's like, Mr Handy. As I left, I noticed he was doing his laundry.

I'm not the only one who's secretly in awe of Sam. Steph is quite open about it, and when her sister Vanessa heard about his half-marathon dismantling, she was pretty well dumbfounded. So was her husband (although, I do wonder if her husband is hiding repressed same-sex tendencies, after his admissions about Will Smith last night). Sara and I are still sold on the Monday night thunderstorm run. Sam must have some pretty proud parents. I can only hope my children turn out like him.

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