Zermatt Five Peak Challenge

Posted: December 9, 2011 in Iron Man, Training

What happened out in Kona?  This is a question that has gone around my head endlessly.

Looking back on the race, in the days that followed I could only explain my poor performance by my body’s inability to cope with the extreme heat.  However, this did not sit well with me.  I had put so much effort into trying to adjust my body to the heat in the build up to the race and it had been working well.  My body was adapting I was making major improvements in the heat training sessions that I had done.  I found it hard to believe that after all that effort I still ended up melting out there, but short of another explanation, this was the best I could come up with.

Eight days after the race I was still feeling utterly shattered.  Something was not right so I popped into the doctors for a quick check up.  It turned out that I had shingles.  Which, for me ended up being a few sores on my forehead, unusually low energy levels and swollen glands around my ear.  The drugs I was prescribed knocked it on the head pretty fast, but here is the question that has been with me since then. Did I have shingles before the race, or did I get shingles as a result of the trauma I was exposed to by doing an Ironman in temperatures that my body could not cope with?

The logical answer to this would be the latter of the two scenarios.  However, if I look back on the week building up to the race, I was already starting to show symptoms of shingles, in the form of few raised bumps on my forehead that eventually turned into the sores you associate with shingles.  The thing is, in my search for an explanation, it could just be my mind trying to find any possible sign, however tenuious, that could confirm I had shingles before the race and thus an explanation for the days events as they unfolded.  At the end of the day, it could just be my mind playing tricks on me and I honestly I don’t think I will ever know if it was shingles or the heat out in Kona that broke me.  I will just have to move on and let that one go.

I have a tendency to lose perspective on things sometimes, and let my drive to succeed blur things.  Adam Moore wrote some very kind and wise words after my last entry – “When I saw you were on your way Kona it did put a smile on my face and despite not knowing you that well I felt my self really egging you on to have a good race.  So despite the fact you are not entirely happy with the result (when are we ever!) I think on this occasion you don’t need to worry about it, because in my eyes you have won.. because after this incredible 17 month journey, you got to kona, completed the race and got the girl!!!”.  Adam, thank you for that reminder and help to keep things in perspective.  Like you said; after that crazy crash in Lanza, I made it to Kona, completed the race, AND GOT THE GIRL!!  Things don’t get much better than that.

So where do I go from here?  For me, the whole reason I ended up doing triathlon is because I truely love getting out there pushing my limits and enjoy every second doing it.  So I am going to carry on doing just that.

Over Christmas and New Year I am heading out to Zermatt again with my family.  Last Christmas I ran up and down three ski mountains in 6 hours.  However, it was only midday when I finished.  There was still a good 4hrs day light to play with so why stop at three?  There are five skiing peaks in Zermatt and this Christmas I going to try and run up all of them in one day!!!  The ‘ZERMATT FIVE PEAK CHALLENGE’: Rothorn (3103m) – Hohtalli (3286m) – Gornegrat (3090m) – Schwarzee (2583m) – Kl Matterhorn (3885m).  It is a crazy idea, I know, but I get excited at the very idea of this.  I will need to leave the chalet at around 4am and will probably reach the first peak around sunrise.  How cool does that sound!!  I have run up all of the peaks before and kind of know what to expect.  But like all of these crazy things, it is the journey and the unknown of it all that makes it all worth doing.

Can I make it?  Probably not, but I learnt a very long time ago, NEVER say NEVER.

  1. Luke says:

    I have faith Gooders!

  2. arthurcooke says:

    “The mountains are the means. The man is the end. The idea is to improve the man, not to reach the top of the mountains.” – Walter Bonatti

    Whether you achieve it or not, you’ll be a better man than when you started, but respect for even attempting it. I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    Ski season is well under way now…

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