Get ugly!

Right so this is only the second week of coached training and it’s already getting ugly? Well, not quite although it’s definitely starting to hurt. I also got seriously muddy mountain biking in silly places and running hilly and swampy trails, so that probably counts as ugly.

What really happened is that this week I stumbled upon Jeff Symonds‘ awesomely ugly Instagram feed (@gettingugly ). It just clicked. We all know it’s not all glamour, it’s mostly mud, sand in strange places, sweat, blood and sometimes even worse. Our photo shoots don’t always come out the most flattering, neither do we look particularly fresh in training or racing. I’m a bit unfortunate (or count myself blessed, you decide) to live with Mr Tiger, the exception who somehow manages to make ugly look cool, like here at the finish of Ironman Wales in 2014…


Yes, you guessed right: I get out and get hands on with life because I like it. I love feeling connected to the world and Humanity. Our ancestors knew that being ugly is part of the human experience. Throughout my outdoors life I’ve been bruised, smashed, stitched up, muddied and pooed on by various beings. It’s definitely not always pretty but it’s hugely fun and rewarding.

I’ve always been a tomboy. Hey, until I grew breasts, I was a boy. So now that I’ve got a daughter I’ve been surprised by how some (too many!) girls are scared of mud, or puddles. Come on! You’re a kid! You’re supposed to wallow in mud and be covered in leaves. Twigs, bits of bark and birds nest are supposed to find their way into your hair. As kids, it’s time to get ugly and have fun. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time knowing how to later or you might never know why you chose to stay away from it. At least have a go and then decide what rocks your boat.


So the message this week, besides “yay, I’ve finally found an outlet for those ugly photos” is really: be human, be ugly, have fun. Get that training done, finish that race, forget sucking in that belly on the bike, get on with living. Dare to be ugly, because as William Blake said: Prudence is a rich, ugly, old maid courted by incapacity. Who dares wins, get out, do stuff, embrace the suck and get HUGgly.

Thanks Jeff for making it such an obvious reality!

twex hug

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Blake also said “you never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough” after his first ironman, and then went on to say “no bird soars too high if he soars with his own tri-bars.” and “I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man’s. I will not reason and compare: my business is to do hill repeats.”
    Some fella, that Blake…

    1. Thanks for that, much needed on a rainy Friday! Would have blamed the last one on Nietzsche though, seems the sort of guy in the hill repeats business (“hill repeats are what you get when you drink beer after training on uneven ground”).

      1. Well possibly true. You know half of these quotes are usually made up anyway 😉 (Pavlov said that).

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