Golf vs Triathlon

Monday, June 13, 2005

I really enjoy playing golf, but perhaps not quite as much as these guys.

Several weeks ago, I was faced with a choice about what to do with the weekend that has just passed. In one direction, Tim was pulling at my sense of guilt and fear and trying to get me to go and do a half-triathlon with him in preparation for the main event in London in August. The other option was to go home to Northern Ireland and play in a not-very-serious golf competition being hosted by a close friend of my family.

In the end, I made my promises to the golf competition and my excuses to Tim. I didn’t want to risk injuring myself in the run-up to the main event – or, perhaps more truthfully, I didn’t want to risk terrifying myself to a sufficient extent that I pulled out of the main event altogether.

This morning, having read Tim’s blog entry about his race experience, I’m sure I made the right decision. Go and read it, then come back and read how my weekend’s sporting endeavours panned out in comparison.

The night before I faced my weekend’s sporting event, while Tim was no doubt forcing down as much spaghetti as he could lay his hands on and washing it down with an energy drink before getting an early night, I was basking in the warm glow of family and friends (not to mention a delicious 1995 Gran Reserva Rioja and a cigar) and arguing about the nuances of the rules of golf with my dad until half one in the morning.

Tim’s race day probably started with an uncomfortably early alarm call, followed swiftly by having to force some food down into a nervous stomach. Mine started with a gentle two-mile run to knock the edge of the previous night’s indulgences, followed by a leisurely drive around visiting yet more family and friends and eating breakfast as I went.

As the triathletes tugged themselves into wetsuits, I was wandering about the practice ground wondering whether I ought to try and find some sun cream from somewhere. As the neoprene-clad warriors were stretching soon-to-be-aching muscles, I was giving up on hitting practice shots and heading to the bar for a sandwich and a glass of wine. Halfway through Tim’s event, he thought he was going to drown. Halfway through mine, we stopped for a beer.

When Tim had finished his half triathlon, he was sat quaffing recovery drinks and feeling glad not to be dead. When I had finished my golf, I was sat drinking pints of Guinness in the sunshine feeling glad to be alive.

His evening was most likely spent gently nursing his injuries and knotted muscles. Mine was spent stuffing my face, dealing with some awkward questions (“John! How long are you back for? What are you drinking?”) and dancing with my mother to dodgy cover versions.

In fact, the only thing that threatened to take the edge off my weekend was the text message from Tim at ten o’clock on Sunday morning telling me that the swimming is a tad harder than I’d been hoping for. When it arrived, I hadn’t been in bed all that long, and it would be fair to say that I’d maybe had a little more to drink the night before than would be considered prudent for the average athlete. It was OK though, the fear it instilled instantly cancelled out the power of my hangover.

I’ll always be more of a golfer than a triathlete, but I think I had better order my wetsuit sooner rather than later.


Jen said...

I love that picture! LOL!

nancytoby said...

Is a "half triathlon" where you get to stop in the middle of the bike leg? ;) Fun blog, I'll be back! Let me know if you need advice on the equestrian sports - it's never to early to start training in those! What are your "rules" for deciding if you've "done" a sport or not? Those might be good to post on the sidebar. Good luck!

cougie said...

You've set yourself a hell of a challenge ! Good luck to you though.

Can't wait to heart more of your reports...

Anonymous said...

John there's no mention of any golf scores - are you too embarrassed ?

Eddie Izzard

John said...

Very much so... I managed a sparkling 77 (7 over par). I was out in 42, and looking odds on to come back in 32 until I missed a short putt at 17 and dumped one in the lake on 18.

*head hung in shame*

Anonymous said...

Does that mean you've gone from a tidy +1 to a lowly 7 handicap in the space of a few years - that's women and drink for ya!

Eddie Izzard

John said...

I've run the gamut from +1 to pro and then back to 3 (or possibly even 4 now after that 77).

To be fair to the women and the drink, I think the severed tendon was more to blame for my current lowly status.

Who are you?

Anonymous said...


You know who I am ! DJK

A long time fan of Eddie Izzard, Twix's in petrol stations, and many years of failing to fleece any money out of you round RBGC.

Hup the Ultimate Olympian

John said...


You left the word 'legend' out of your description there.

I'll be back in the motherland from 19th August to 24th August with some friends from here to play a bit of golf (after a fashion). Hoping to include RBGC as a venue and would be thrilled if you could come along and fleece me thoroughly (as you would without question).

Drop me a mail and we can discuss my stroke allowance, or at the very least arrange to met for a drink in the Empire on the Saturday night - apparently the "Best Guns 'n' Roses tribute band in Europe" is playing - I know you won't be missing that.