Swedish Flatpack Inspiration

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

You may have noticed, avid reader, that inspiration and motivation wax and wane rather a lot around here. When I first set about this challenge, I envisaged many hurdles that I would have to literally and metaphorically clear, but I naively didn’t anticipate motivation to be one of them – or at least not as big a one as it’s turning out to be.

Of all the things that could motivate me – the suffering, bravery and determination of the beneficiaries of the charity money I’m raising compared to my own, the enormity of the task itself, the fact that I love sport – it’s funny that it took a recent trip to IKEA to kick-start my desire to train again.

My housemates, Jamie and Kate, are soon moving into their brand new home. They needed to go to IKEA with a van to get a couple of beds. I needed a new bed for the spare room. IKEA in Brent Cross is open until midnight. What else would we have done with our Friday night?

Meatballs and bed shopping out of the way, all that was left was to collect our purchases from the collection depot, load them into the van and head back up the M40 to Oxford. As we shut the doors of the van on our new purchases, it was just shy of midnight. By the look of some of the faces still milling about the collection depot awaiting their furniture, we had gotten off lightly.

As we manoeuvred about the car park trying to find the way out, we were approached by a couple of damsels in distress. Somehow, they had ascertained that we were from Oxford (I’m not sure if it was the “Oxford Vehicle Rentals” or the five-foot cartoon ox plastered all over the side of the van that gave it away).

“We’ve bought a wardrobe!” said damsel one.

“It doesn’t fit in our car!” said damsel two.

“Not a problem!” said the heroes, probably breaking some sort of white-van-man code of ethics in the process.

Before heading to IKEA that night, I had met Kev from Sobell House who had very kindly come into town to give me some new Ultimate Olympian cards for handing out to baffled newcomers to the cause. They have my mobile number on them, so I gave one to the damsels in case I wasn’t able to keep up with them on the trip back to their house.

By the time we reached the wardrobe’s new home, they had read the card and were most enthusiastic. Damsel one insisted upon giving us something for our trouble. I protested that we’d been coming back anyway. We settled on a donation for Sobell House instead.

As we drove home with our beds, I was filled with the warm glow of raising money for this cause I consider to be so worthwhile. I had been inspired to get my finger out and organise some more events in a way that Tim’s nagging could never have managed (don’t ever stop, Tim!). Perhaps most importantly, I was inspired to stop living this post-triathlon playboy lifestyle and get back into training.

I’ll admit that inspiration comes in waves and confess that I spent the next day at the Oval drinking and watching Australians fighting (and incidentally playing some sort of variant of rugby in the background), and then sat up until four playing poker and drinking some more. But in the course of the following week, I rode a few of those little waves of inspiration to the gym and the pool.

For now, I’m going to post this and then go downstairs and get Jamie to fill out an entry form for next April’s London Marathon while I do the same. If the fear doing that will instil doesn’t inspire me still further, I’ll begin to get slightly worried about my prospects of ever finishing this challenge.

Missing In-action

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

“It is wonderful how much news there is when people write every other day; if they wait for a month, there is nothing that seems worth telling.”

O. Douglas – Penny Plain (1920)

And so it is that I’m sitting here in my study staring at the screen and wondering what to tell you. I have excuses for my absence, as always, but mostly you’ve heard them before, if not from me then from some other wannabe athlete with too great a liking of strong drink.

Sobell House are trying to get thirty people together to run next year’s (London) marathon. You have to enter before 21st October using a form in one of the official magazines. If you get in and want to run for Sobell House with me and several other suckers who have already said they’ll do it, e-mail me and I’ll get your name on the list.

Inspired once more by panic and a large dose of fear, I have been training twice already this week. Hopefully, over the coming days, I will also get back into the habit of boring you all silly with my nonsense.