Friday, 27 February 2009

Lapland provides inspiration for my Triathlon bid

EIGHT weeks of training have almost come to an end. The body has hurt, ached and needed a good soak or two in the bath along the way.

So I take a look at the calendar and, oh no, the London Triathlon is still five months away. At least another 20 weeks of this punishing regime to go. And it will only get more intense.


But whenever that feeling arrives, that one where you might just skip a session, might not put in the required effort, I stop to think why I am doing it.
Not just as a personal goal for myself of swimming 1.5k, cycling 40k and then running 10k around the capital.

But for the Nottingham-based charity When You Wish Upon A Star, one that helps realise the dreams of sick and terminally ill children.
Their main trip each year is to Lapland to meet Santa Claus.
And I was privileged enough to be invited along before Christmas in 2002 to report on their adventure.

Now, I was as excited as the kids at the time. Lapland, the home of Father Christmas himself.
A near four-hour flight there to Finland, the same back and all in one action-packed day. I was shattered by the end of it, never mind the kids.

But to be among those poorly children and see the zest for life they had and the smiles on their faces throughout the day will never leave me.

Some had lost their hair as a result of chemotherapy and I remember helping one mother carry the oxygen tank off the bus into the forest for her child who was no older than five or six.

Husky rides in the forest, sledging in the candlelit woods, Santa Claus and his real reindeer walking down to meet the kids (see right).

It was magical for them and when we landed back at East Midlands, almost 24 hours later, the kids were tired.
But despite serious illnesses, they were still beaming at what they saw as the trip of a lifetime.

The sad reality is for some of those kids and ones that will benefit from the charity in the future, it is a lifetime cruelly cut short.

But When You Wish Upon A Star ensure they make dreams come true and I have seen proof of that first hand.

So the next time I hit the pain barrier, feel sorry for myself when the training gets tough, I will think back to that trip.
I will remember why I am doing it and how privileged I am.

Suddenly, you realise training for and completing a triathlon is a drop in the ocean compared to what those children and their families are going through.
To see full story behind Stevie taking up the Triathlon challenge, click here
To sponsor Stevie visit www.justgiving.com/stevieroden
American-based sports giant Under Armour have backed Stevie in his quest to complete the London Triathlon and raise cash for When You Wish Upon A Star by agreeing to become his official sponsor.They have provided him with a whole range of their latest hi-tech training gear to help in all weathers, and a new tri-suit for the race itself. For more information visit http://www.underarmour.com/

Monday, 23 February 2009

Triathlon swim deaths have put me in a spin

Remind me not to read those triathlon magazines again.

I came across an alarming article the other day, talking about a spate of triathlon deaths.

About three happened in America in the space of a couple of weeks last year and it pointed out 23 finely-tuned athletes had died over the years.

But more worrying, 18 of those had all died during the first section - the swim.

I am still to swim in open water which will be the task in the docks outside the ExCel Arena come August 2, covering 1.5k.

And swimming is my weakest of the three abilities. Oh dear, I better up the lengths in the pool - quickly.

So I read further down, surely there was a few bits of advice to help reassure this delicate first-time triathlete.

American Russ Evenhuis was on hand for some words of wisdom.

“Nothing can prepare a newbie for the start,” he stated.

Gulp.

“It can be like jumping into a washing machine. You will get swum over, kicked, hit and banged into.”

New underwear please.

Then triathlete and coach Neil Cook chipped in about no matter how much you do in the pool, the swim will still daunt you.

“There is no wall 25 yards away, you can’t see the bottom,” he explained. “Oh, and you are wearing this wetsuit that’s tighter than a girdle.”

Raise your heart rate and blood pressure under those conditions, he said, and "any weakness you have will become apparent.”

Heartbeat rising under those conditions?

It’s beating like a drum just thinking about it.

What can I take from that as I look to prepare in the best possible way.

Scrap the swimming pool and jump in the washing machine for a hour every night?

Maybe even head to the local laundrette. Well, there is more room in those industrial-sized beauties.

I am in a spin already. Maybe I’ll invest in a pair of armbands.

Surely that is better than chancing meeting my maker in the cold and murky waters of the Royal Victoria Dock.


To see full story behind Stevie taking up the Triathlon challenge, click here

To sponsor Stevie visit www.justgiving.com/stevieroden

American-based sports giant Under Armour have backed Stevie in his quest to complete the London Triathlon and raise cash for When You Wish Upon A Star by agreeing to become his official sponsor.They have provided him with a whole range of their latest hi-tech training gear to help in all weathers, and a new tri-suit for the race itself. For more information visit http://www.underarmour.com/

Monday, 16 February 2009

Surprise cream could prove spot on for triathlon

I am an Evening Post sports reporter and set to compete in the London Triathlon - a 1.5k swim, 40k cycle, 10k run - this August, and I will be sharing my experiences in the newspaper and in a weekly, online blog.

I am taking up the challenge to prove something to myself after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis back in 2004, just after my 24th birthday. And I am also doing it to raise money for Nottingham-based charity, When You Wish Upon A Star.

I always worry when a suspect package lands on my desk at work.

Odd shape, as well. I wasn’t expecting anything when I rolled into EP HQ this morning.

Who had I upset?

On the back it had the address of the sender.

Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The Natural Skincare Factory.

Now I know I am hardly the most fresh faced of men and those triathlon pictures in last week’s newspaper did expose a few spots.

But somebody seeing that and sending in some acne products, were they taking the .....?

Finally plucking up the courage to open the intriguing package, I came across a jar - and a nice letter.

The power of the world wide web had taken my story to the far reaches of Scotland and this family-run business had seen it, and thought they might be of help.

They explained they were not promising any ‘miracle cure’ or ‘wonder product’ for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

But their Arthirache Cream for sore joints, aches and pains had received plenty of positive feedback.

A nice touch and given the challenge ahead, every little helps.

Before my next run, I’ll try and convince the missus to massage it into a few of the suspect joints. Convincing her might be a tougher challenge than the triathlon itself.

So suspect package turned into a nice little surprise, first thing on a Monday morning.

But maybe if I am honest, a pot of cream to help clear up a few spots would not have been a bad shout either.

To see full story behind Stevie taking up the Triathlon challenge, click here

To sponsor Stevie visit www.justgiving.com/stevieroden

American-based sports giant Under Armour have backed Stevie in his quest to complete the London Triathlon and raise cash for When You Wish Upon A Star by agreeing to become his official sponsor.They have provided him with a whole range of their latest hi-tech training gear to help in all weathers, and a new tri-suit for the race itself. For more information visit www.underarmour.com

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Beer we go on way to London


I am an Evening Post sports reporter and set to compete in the London Triathlon - a 1.5k swim, 40k cycle, 10k run - this August, and I will be sharing my experiences in the newspaper and in a weekly, online blog.

I am taking up the challenge to prove something to myself after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis back in 2004, just after my 24th birthday. And I am also doing it to raise money for Nottingham-based charity, When You Wish Upon A Star.


All this training is zapping the old energy levels, I really need to be replenishing the body with more than the average calorie intake.

So I did last night, I put plenty back into the system.

A good friend of mine popped round for a few beers to watch the England versus Spain match.
And boy did I enjoy them. More than the football.

It was the first time in six weeks I had succumbed to a few lagers during the actual week (weekends I have a little exception) but after all that exercise, I deserved a treat.

I was off work yesterday so I hit the gym for a couple of hours and then the local swimming pool. A good excuse to get out of doing any jobs the wife might have thought of leaving me to do.

But on the serious issue of body fuel, by trawling the internet, I am now starting to develop a proper diet plan to go hand in hand with the fitness regime I have got stuck into. Although beer is not officially part of it.

But after the best part of two weeks with the weather, it has virtually driven me to drink.
Snow, snow, more snow. And out in the Ashfield area where I live, it hasn’t shifted like in the city.

My road is still almost covered, snow turning to ice and the pavements are still treacherous courtesy of the freezing conditions.

So all plans to hit the streets on the bike or complete my road running went out of the window.
It was gym, gym and more gym. And there is only so long you can run on a treadmill. It is a lonely, boring place.

I have given myself a pat on the back for persevering in the gym, not using the weather as an excuse so early on in my fitness plan.

The conditions have not broken me as I bid to reach the London Triathlon in peak condition on Sunday August 2.

With the snow now showing signs of clearing, I can hit the great outdoors again.
There is no let up, I am back out pounding the streets tomorrow, get last night’s alcohol out of the system.

I’ll drink to that.
To sponsor Stevie visit www.justgiving.com/stevieroden
American-based sports giant Under Armour have backed Stevie in his quest to complete the London Triathlon and raise cash for When You Wish Upon A Star by agreeing to become his official sponsor.
They have provided him with a whole range of their latest hi-tech training gear to help in all weathers, and a new tri-suit for the race itself. For more information visit
www.underarmour.com
To see full story behind Stevie taking up the Triathlon challenge, click here You can also follow Stevie's progress on Twitter, visit www.twitter.com/StevieRoden