Norseman – Part 1 (Pre-race) (Andrew)

Pride comes before the fall, which is okay, at least it’s better to have pride before you fall than a really, really big cliff.

I had pride on Saturday, a week before Norseman. I went for a short BRIC session and felt strong. “Looking good,” I thought, “you’ve reached the start of Norseman and you feel strong and confident and every bit of your body feels like it’s in tip top condition. Well done you!”

On Sunday, I climbed a ladder to the attic and tried to pull my bike bag down. When I tugged it I could feel a sharp twist in my lower back. Luckily, I didn’t fall, or at least not physically. Mentally, I knew what had happened. Pride. And a recurrence of a back injury from November last year. The same injury I had when I was told I’d got my spot in Norseman. I could only hope it would heal in time for the start.

They say time is a great healer but do you know what’s an even better healer? A fully trained physio. On Tuesday I was prodded, poked, stretched and manipulated back into shape. “You’ll be okay for Saturday,” she said. But she didn’t mention Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, days where the pain only increased rather than lessened. “Will I even make it to the start?” I thought.

It was only on Friday afternoon that the pain – by now just an intermittent dull ache – started to ease. I knew this would happen. That physio treatment tends to make things worse for 48 hours until you get better but it was a horrible couple of days of doubts and questions.

Alongside my doubts I was also having bad thoughts about the jump into the fjord. “People die when they jump into cold water,” I thought, “you’re going to die!”. I knew these fears were baseless. I’ve jumped into cold water before but I couldn’t help circling back and forth like a vulture around this dark thought.

This meant I wasn’t the best of company for the days before Norseman. No confidence. Full of fear. Such a change from Saturday.

As I tried to sleep on Friday night the thoughts were still there. Should I quit? Should I start? Should I just walk away? I went to bed at 9:30pm but it was a long time before I slept.