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  • Writer's pictureThe Useless Runner

The dynamic duo

Updated: Mar 10, 2021

The Oxford english dictionary defines the word 'Nemesis' as follows:

Nemesis (noun) ~ A person or a thing that is very difficult to defeat.

This is what these 2 amazing human beings are for me, apart from other things. Bear with me, it is not as bad as you think!.

Col du Galibier, French Alps.

I met Mr. F and Mr. J back in 2018 at a birthday party in the summer. Is a day I remember clearly. It was the world cup and we were watching the games on my mobile phone.

We got introduced by our friend, and we chatted about many things that afternoon. One of those things being that Mr. F had done an Ironman 70.3 the year before in Portugal. It was something I found extremely crazy at the time. 'A half Ironman!', 'that is insane'. This guy was immediately a hero in my eyes. Who the fuck does shit like that?.

Well, apparently a lot of people do.

Mr. F was a keen cyclist and done triathlons. He was also a runner. Mr. J on the other hand, did mostly running, and was getting a bit into cycling at the time. He had an old bike and was really getting into it. They were neighbors and knew each other for a while, and were doing some events and training together.

The idea of an Ironman was in my head for a while. 'How can people go through something like this?'. My head could not wrap itself around it. Who swims almost 2 KM, jumps on a bike for 90, and then runs a half marathon?. Mr, F did.

When I met Mr. F and Mr. J, I had a fair fitness level after making some changes in my life. You can read about those changes here. I had some fairly good habits, loved cycling, and had finally gotten to a goodish place with my way of eating.

We kept in touch and started riding our bycicles on weekends, for leisure mostly, and some good chat and banter. It was a lot of fun, and it also made something very clear to me. These guys were competitive, they liked a challenge, and they enjoyed a challenge that pushed them to their limits.

We would go on rides, and time and time again they would leave me on the climbs, as much as I tried to keep up, they would just fly up the hills. I tried hard, and it motivated me to improve, to be better, to be able to someday remotely consider the possibility to match up their efforts. I was still big and had some extra weight I was working on. Mr. J is a super slim guy with powerful Watts. Mr. F is also slim and uses big gears up the hills. He's got power on those legs of his!.

At the end of the autumn I took the plunge and signed up for a Half Ironman race in September the next year. It felt crazy at the time that I could train for something like this, but I was motivated.

As time went on, I started running, swimming, and training hard with the aim to race in September. We started doing virtual rides in the winter using our bike trainers, and planned a cycling trip to the Alps in August before my race.

It was an amazing year. I trained hard, and then some more. But I lacked some structure and that pragmatic eye in my training, but still did good. Every time we trained with Mr. F and Mr. J, I would get my ass kicked. I would put inconceivable amounts of effort and sometimes I could match them for a bit, but not for long. The running was even more difficult. Mr. J is a super fast runner, and Mr. F is not far behind.

I remember 2 training runs I did with them. Mr. J was relaxed in his approach, and we had some good runs. He kept me motivated throughout and I had some improvements. Mr. F was a tougher coach, he would push the pace a bit harder for me to follow and keep going. We also made great improvements.

So there I was, trying hard and fighting for every inch on that bike. Swimming and Running. Fighting my demons (I will get to that some day).

We had an amazing trip to the Alps (future post on this for sure!), and I completed my Half Ironman race (another post for sure as well!). These 2 guys have single-handedly gotten me to a place where I wanted to race, I wanted to be better, I wanted to improve and perhaps beat them one day.

They are, to this day, my nemesis.

I can only count probably 2 times when I have been able to get ahead of Mr. F and Mr. J on the bike, and that is on a very good day. I am still proud of those efforts, because they teach me that there is much to improve, and progress is always good.

I keep training hard, and I have found a good structure in my training, my habits, and my day to day life. I have learned loads from Mr F and Mr. J. Their commitment to achieving something is amazing, and the way they see life is equally good. They have taught me more than they know. I appreciate that.

You guys have taken me out of every comfort zone I ever had. Made me run when I could barely walk. Made me jump into a bloody river at 6 in the morning on my first attempt at an olympic triathlon. Made me climb the Col d' Aspin in record time in my kitchen. Made me endure 2 amazing days of cycling, getting to limits I never thought were possible. Made me drive at 5 in the morning for a whole summer every Sunday. Made me a better person. In retribution, I made 2 amazing friends for whom I am grateful to have in my life. Two IronWarriors.

You two are my Nemesis, and I embrace it, produly.

Thank you both, sincerely.

Thank you for reading.

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