When I took on my challenge, I knew it was going to be very physically demanding. 110 events including a triathlon, a marathon, 10km of open water swimming and a very long bike ride or two was never going to be easy. However, I underestimated how mentally challenging it was going to be.
Partly, it’s the challenge of continuously learning the new skills associated with each sport. More significantly it’s the feelings – ranging from mild apprehension to outright fear – that I have at the start of each sport. Will I come off the trampoline? What’s it like to fall into the water while rowing or windsurfing? Will I fall off my mountain or BMX bike when I’m on that steep bit? Was that just banter about the ‘cutting and slashing’ damage done by the sabre?
The whole thing is exacerbated by my fear of injury – I know that I simply don’t have the time to complete my challenge if I get seriously injured.
Frankly, most of my concerns are overdone. It’s not that these sports are entirely free from the risk of injury. It’s just that, with proper coaching, you should be absolutely fine. You’ll be pushed – but not beyond your capabilities. Almost inevitably, by the end of the session, all my initial fears are long gone and I’m loving the sport in question.
Paradoxically, probably my biggest risk comes from the steps I take to minimise the chance of injury. When I see the videos of myself learning new sports, I’m always struck by how slowly, tentatively and stiffly I’m approaching the sport. If I could just relax, I’d be a lot safer (and better).
However, there are some sports that genuinely scare me. As I’ve blogged previously, I have equinophobia and I found horse riding very tough. Watch the video below of me just before horse riding if you want see how nervous I was – look out for the drop of sweat on my chin!
The other three I’m really not looking forward to are the 10 metre high dive, some of the gymnastics events and the pole vault. Perhaps I’ll love them when I do them but, at the moment, they give me the fear!