DNF – Did Not Finish is available to order now… https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09KTCL3G6
Is is our story of 20 years swimming, biking and running. Every one of our results tells a story, even the races we did not finish.
It is a story about finding the joy in racing whether you come first or last.
It contains stories such as ….
Triathletes are modest about their ability but ultra competitive. Which can make training sessions tricky.
I discovered this at a swim session when a coach asked: “I’d like you all to swim eight lengths of the pool at 70% race pace. I’ll time you. Who wants to go first?”
No one volunteered to go first.
“Come on! Who’s fastest?”
Everyone looked at each other in the same way a lift of strangers look at each other after one person has farted. Who was it?
I looked at the man next to me. He was solid muscle. His back had the classic v-profile of an Olympic swimmer. He wore tiny Speedos that were so small and revealing they looked like they’d been tattooed to his crotch. His swim goggles cost more than my last car.
“Hurry up! Someone has to go first!”
The only time I’d been mistaken for a swimmer was when a hairdresser said to me, “Are you a swimmer?” I beamed with pride and replied “yes,” thinking it was because of my swimmer’s physique – but my pride was quickly punctured when the hairdresser said, “I thought so – I examined your hair. It is in terrible condition. It is dry from chlorine.”
I looked at the olympian. It wasn’t that he was in a different league to me: we weren’t even playing the same sport. He said, “you first, mate.”
I replied, “No thanks. You should go first. You look like a fast competitive swimmer.”
He thought about it and said, “no – I think you are quicker.”
So, I went first. I had a five-second head start. Then, on the sixth second, he caught up.
I went as fast as I could, but he kept having to stop to wait for me.
After we’d finished eight laps, the coach said, “are you all happy with your times?”
The man who couldn’t have been more like a fish even if he’d had gills said, “I could have gone faster, but I got held up”.
I looked around and saw everyone else. It was like the scene at the start of Saving Private Ryan. Bodies were strewn in the water. People were screaming in agony. One man looked like he’d swum himself into a heart attack.
The coach asked, “Was that 70% effort?” No-one replied. They were all completely knackered.