23 January 2006

Epic NZ - Epilogue

Back to normal life here now that its Monday and it feels pretty good. The good weather has returned and I'm looking forward to another 6 weeks of summer.
Yesterday I had a day out with the family watching some Buskers festival acts in town and lunch on the strip and today trimmed the hedge in the sun with my son Miguel. My daughter has friends over today and they're out in the back yardin the pool and on the trampoline and they stop in every hour or so to mooch more money to go to the dairy for ice creams or milkshakes. I'm off to the pool to swima nd do some light weights in about an hour so thought I'd take a moment to reflect on this last camp and the camps in general before I lose everything I've been thinking about the last week or so.
These blogs are mostly for me and the people who do the camps. After the first few days the specifics of the camps - where we went and what we did - all tend to blend together in a big purple haze. If you take a look of that photo of Albert Boyce in the photo gallery on Day 7 doing the "Epic zombie stare" you'll have a good idea of how most of us feel most of the time during the camp. So its nice to put down a fe thoughts along the way for the archives so all the campers can have some recorded memories.

Firstly about finishing the camp - actually doing all of the scheduled sessions. This is something I really know every one would like to do when they sign up. But for various reasons before or during the camps some of the campers cannot complete all the sessions. And that's OK with me, but its not really doing the camp is it. And I mean this in the best possible way. The camp is an arbitrary challenge and has no objective value on its own. Only the value we each assign it for ourselves. Just like starting an Ironman we sometimes don't finish. We can say we took part and gave it a good try but if we didnt finish then we didn't and hopefully we learn most from those challenges we took on but failed to complete. So for those campers who made a valiant effort to do the entire camp but for various reasons failed to do the whole thing I salute you and hope you still were able to go further than you thought possible and that carries over into future challanges you find for yourself.
For those who did complete all of the nutty challenges Gordo, John and I set for you during this camp then well done. Because it was a very big challenge.
Secondly there were a couple of stunning revalations in the camp in Mike Coughlin and Brandon Del Campo. These are two guys who came to NZ this summer to make a big jump of several levels in just a few short months and they have done that already. Brandon's improvement since he's arrived here in NZ in early December has been nothing short of remarkable. Talent can be a curse, but it can also be a huge advantage if channeled in the right direction. I look forward to following their results over the coming year, along with the rest of the campers.

For me the camps are a way of examining and sharing all I have learned and appreciate most in my 30 years of endurance sport. They are like and exhibition a painter friend of mine is having soon in a local art gallery. He's been rounding up all of the artwork he's sold over the last 28 years that's still around and putting it all on show. He's a bit nervous about it as it is collectively a very good summary of his life's work. I feel like that about the camps.
Going forward I hope to do things I've never done and go places I've never been on the camps. I want new challenges for myself and sharing it with friends makes it more special for me. I really don't have any specific race aspirations at the moment so the camps are stand-alone prospects for me. Personally I don't attach any importance to them as race prep. I know races will come up that I get excited about, but this year I'm having an Ironman-free year so the camps are the main things I will be training to prepare for, not vice-versa.
Gordo still has some very specific race goals so his goals and motivations for the camps remain quite different than mine. And really I hope that (like him) most people who do the camps use them as a springboard to achieve something special in endurance sports. I just hope to be a guide from the back of the pack some how as my physical powers wane. And boy are they waning!!! I do like to step up to the mound and serve up some of that special Terminator fastball now and then to the big boys to see if they can deal with it, but more and more often they're whacking the ball over the fence with a sly grin on their face.
Its getting more and more obvious that I can't be physically present when they are digging their deepest. But I'm OK with that. I get a deeper satisfaction knowing I helped create the environment that enables them to reach for more.
I've been racing age-group for 6 years now and have been enjoying the company of my fellow age-groupers so much I can easily see doing this for another 15 years or so.
Thank you all campers who shared this one with me. I hope you have some good memories.
Special thanks to Pete, John, Michaela and Daryl for super support crew duties. Once again your humor and friendship made this all the more enjoyable.