14 January 2010

World Champion? Me?

Yeah, you wouldn't pick it, based on my current lifestyle.

My gold medal is tucked away in a box with medals from various other competitions, in a wardrobe in my room in Hamilton. And maybe that's the reason I've made such a departure from the athletic lifestyle.

Currently, the extent of movement in my life each day is the dreaded 20-minute commute on foot (and usually in heels, as per my new year's resolution to dress better) to and from the University of Otago. This, along with my diet - mainly comprised of Bumper Bars, rice crackers and Frankly Sandwiches, has left me in a constant fog of lethargy. My life is boring, unfulfilling, for the most part lonely.

It's made worse by my inability to go more than an hour without staring mindlessly at my computer screen while it displays the graduate entry criteria for the University of Auckland MB ChB programme. As you can imagine, a month out from embarking on my Master's, it doesn't exactly do my already obliterated enthusiasm for study any favours.

I'm told my background as an "award-winning sportsperson" will lend much to my graduate applications - "yeah, they love shit like that!" was an exact quote from a friend, but I remain unconvinced. In 2012 (when I intend to apply, upon my return from the Nippon) I have fears that offering "2009 ITU World Champion" and "2009 Waikato Sportswoman of the Year" will not only seem redundant to the admissions committee but also  a little... desperate. It's kind of like how, once the Beijing Olympics began, my participation in Athens (way back in 2004. So little of my memory from this year is left, I sometimes wonder if it even happened) was instantly nullified. Athens? When even was that?

I find a return to my "normal" self unlikely. Even post-Athens, when I didn't swim for more than three months, I was racking up fairly huge mileage - by way of running - on the Waikato river paths. And since then, I've scarcely gone a week - let alone more than a month, without running, riding, or swimming. I don't even know what lung capacity means anymore.

Let's be frank: since my return from Worlds, I've avoided the gym like the plague (it helps that my membership expired), been running twice, and haven't been near a swimming pool in more than a month. There was that foray into the water for the Waikato Times pictures, but you only need to look at the resulting photos to see that I was hardly in the best shape of my life. It's a pretty huge fall from grace.

To that end, I had the quite serious intention of embarking on my first run of 2010 this morning. I wasn't going to get up early for it - we all know such ambitions when you've been away so long are always disastrous - I was just going to get up at a reasonable time, put on my shoes, and haul my ass a few miles. No such luck. When Michael Jackson's "Jam" (yes, I have a Michael Jackson song for my alarm. He's still relevant) burst into my ears this morning at the very reasonable hour of 8, I tried to move. I was unsuccessful. And besides, I told myself, it's raining. Only Ezekiel Kemboi runs in the rain (hugely untrue. In fact, I think I last year established that I may be the only athlete who doesn't run in the rain).

So this morning was a non-starter.

Start the year as you intend to continue? Meh. At least I haven't skipped class. Yet.

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