Sunday, 21 September 2008

The Next Big Thing

By Darren Roberts

Saturday 20 September 2008. Woke up at 7am and immediately stared into images of jungles, deserts and mountains. ‘Got to get up and find some information on the events’, ‘Got to get up and go for a run’ ‘got to…., got to….’. Ahhhhh. ‘Just get up’. I slipped out of bed, careful not to wake the missus, grabbed a couple of bananas, fed the cat, poured an apple juice and settled on the sofa to surf for info on endurance races.

It had been 12 hours since we found out we had got to the final of the Team Men’s Fitness competition. We had a chance to represent Men’s Fitness in 3 endurance events in 2009. When the confirmation email arrived at the advertising agency we all work in (Delaney Lund Knox Warren in Covent Garden), I rushed upstairs to break the news to Steve and Nick Tidball, my fellow team mates. I burst into their office “Have you seen the email from Men’s Fitness?” I blurted out. Nick looked at me with confused wonderment “No”. “We’ve got through to the final!”

We half jumped up and down on the spot, trying desperately not to look like mad space hoppers to anyone looking through the glass walls of the office. “I don’t believe it, that’s amazing” he said. Needless to say the next hour was a jubilant one. Nick spent 30 minutes on the phone to Steve, who was on leave, and I found it hard not to run around the office telling everyone who had a day job to get on with. This was it, all we had to do now was get through the final!

8 teams had been picked to race in the final which was an 11-mile trail run called Saab Salomon Turbo-X Trail. November 23rd 10am – this was the next big thing. If we made it through this and proved we could work as a team, we might be in for a shot at the big one – our next big thing.

I started surfing for information on all 3 events which we might be undertaking. 5 minutes into it, I stopped and reprimanded myself . ‘Focus on the 23rd November first you loon’. We haven’t got through the final and indeed - may not. I composed myself and began to devise a training plan.

My previous experience of doing this was limited and amateur to say the least. I’d been running since I was 15 (a mere 20 years ago) but had never got very scientific about it. Now I felt I had to. We have to win this race and because Nick and Steve were a good few years younger than me, I felt a pressure to be on top form.

I would be the slowest of the team but having spent 6 years in Infantry Reconnaissance in the TA, I could hopefully offer some mental endurance at least. As Nick had said on our competition entry form ‘We might be able to out-run him but he will out-survive us!”

I needed to devise a fitness schedule which would hopefully allow me to peak for the big day and not let the side down. This however would take some ‘think time’ and right now I needed a run.

Perhaps this is the feeling that Lance Armstrong had before every gruelling training session. Knowing that there is something big to try and win driving you out of the door, come rain or shine.

You’ve just got to do it. I closed the laptop and headed for the door.

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