Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Engineered to fail?

Where am I? Kind of cast adrift at the moment, lacking in mojo and direction. Thought a blog might clear the haze and set me back on track.
Following the auction of the Olympic Track Team shirt Poppyfields have now raised a little over £177,000 for Birmingham Childrens Hospital and their research and treament of child brain tumours. This is brilliant and you, all of you, deserve great credit for that! Even better new is that Poppy is officially in remission following the removal of her brain tumour on St Georges Day this year. This after an 8 year battle, chemo, radiotherapy and 4 operations is the news that dreams are made of.
So whats with my lack of mojo? Part of it is post Outlaw blues I think and it happens after every 'challenge' once the buzz from the day subsides. It also has to do with not having plans for the next challenge in place yet.
Two pick me ups were to be the shirt auction and Outlaw being on TV. Both, ultimately, left me feeling disappointed but neither should have. The shirt was a great gift. It came to Poppyfields for free via Mr Jim Vanish, Daz Halfpenny and the LEJOG relay team. It was a fantastic unique piece of British Cycling memorabilia and with the auction running through the Olympics and with the massive success of the track team gold medals and world records were being added to it daily! I thought it would raise maybe £2000 - £3000. After all I have seen a signed Gazza boot go for £600 and shit popstar memorabilia go for more so a couple of grand for the shirt seemed realistic. Running it alongside the Olympics seemed to make sense too. Maximize the moment. Jump on the back of the publicity. We even managed to get some of the stars that signed it to retweet the details on Twitter. It was in the Midlands press and I was confident that a generous cycling/olympic nut or a business would see it as a good buy for a good price. The problem with an auction of course is that any item is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it. I was disappointed when the bid war on the final day never materialised and it sold for £720! I know I shouldnt be because its a great amount for the charity and I am sincerely grateful to the Scottish Gentleman that bought it to add to his collection of cycling memorabilia....but I cant help the nagging feeling that I should have gone about it differently and better to maximize the value.
The auction concluded on the final day of the Olympics which coincided with the hour long Outlaw Ironman programme from this year. I was very excited about this because the camera crew had interviewed me and Mrs B at the finish line and I had mentioned Birmingham Childrens Hospital and Poppy. I really thought the clip and the story would make the final edit. Sadly it didnt! Dont get me wrong it was great that Outlaw was televised but again I was left disappointed. Not only because I had again failed to get Poppyfields some TV publicity (as I had failed to do at VLM too) but because it concentrated on the elite athletes a bit too much and didnt give much coverage to the stories within it and the 'community' it creates. But then why would it?It is a show about an Ironman race and not about the non athlete in his first tri stumbling to the finish in the dark for a charity. But then some of the stories were given some air, the last 3 finishers ahead of me were shown finishing as was Nyut who was last just 2 mins behind me - it just skipped me. Now of course it sounds all me me me. Thats not the case. I have the video clip of me crossing the finish line and the amazing crowd shouting me down the finish chute so I have my moment. I would however have loved just a clip at the finish with my Poppyfields shirt on and Poppy's face. Of course so would every other competitor doing Outlaw for charity.
Quite a few people said I should have come last. Engineered a fail. Presumably for the kudos, attention and guaranteed TV clip and I would be lying if I said that didnt cross my mind towards the end of the run. However completing Outlaw was a personal goal as well as a charitable one. Despite my time I did Outlaw to the best of my ability. I went as fast as I thought I could go to give me a realistic chance to complete it. I was out the water in good time but my recovery from the swim took an age and I went to pieces on the bike. When I came in dead last from the bike (by some way) my only goal was to finish. I had 6hrs 30 mins to run the marathon. That sounds easy but I had to go with my plan and my pace. If I had pushed it harder on the run I would have failed. I was fine with that I just wanted to complete it and I knew I could.
On the last lap I got within sight of Nyut along the out stretch along the river. Nyut was walking and I did think about hanging back, staying behind him and finishing last but if I had I wouldnt have given it my all. Athletes at the Olympics talk about leaving everything on the track and I am glad I overtook him - kept to my plan - and ultimately finished 2 mins before him. I left everything (including the lining of my insides) on the Outlaw course. Should I have engineered last place for the charity publicity? Probably. Would I have been happy with that? Probably not. Its all a bit weird and confusing.
So, my Outlaw bubble was popped a bit because of my unrealistic expectations for the TV show but then if I can manage my own expectations and optimism (shirt value) world order should shortly be resumed. I stand by my Outlaw blog by the way. Outlaw blew me away and was utterly fantastic and remains my number one recommendation to anyone!
It appears then that I need to kick myself in the arse and get sorted! Sitting around is not good for me. In the last 3 weeks I have pulled 2 different muscles in my back. One when turning to watch the TV (I know ridiculous isnt it) and one by lying funny in bed! Mrs B has a fantastic challenge to look forward to next year and thinking about being her support team is already very exciting. Challenges for me are being suggested and some are catching my eye. The problem is that I am not an athlete nor am I fit so I am not doing runs and triathlons week in week out. I dont really have a desire to do a sprint or Olympic tri. I love the community and could well be marshalling at a triathlon next month but I am not a triathlete as much as I am not a runner or a cyclist. I am looking for the next 'thing' that will blow people away enough to part with their money again!! Stepping up from an Ironman is both difficult and frightening so we will see.

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