The Kloodle Story
I didn’t realise you could get blisters on the ends of your toes. They weren’t painful. Just strange. They must have emitted some pain, but it paled in comparison to my quadriceps. They positively screamed at me whenever I moved. So I didn’t move. I just sat there contemplating the feat I had achieved. Whether it was a feat of human endurance or sheer stupidity…..well, that remained in the realm of opinion. I was erring on the side of stupidity at that point.
I had just finished the Welsh Ironman, a gruelling triathlon of 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle, and a marathon to finish. I was now in the finisher’s tent, pork sandwich in hand, trying desperately to remove my trainers. It was proving futile. The energy required to bend forward no longer existed. The day had been an emotional one. I had swung from “this is the best day ever”, whilst in the crystal clear waters of Tenby’s ocean, to “that’s it, I’m quitting”, when the driving rain lashed my skin half way into the cycle. I had held on. Motivated by Jeremy Paxman’s old adage of “I’ve started so I’ll finish”, I trudged my way over the finish line, arms aloft and feet in tatters.
Was it worth it? I started my Ironman quest whilst at university. I was in the midst of applying for graduate jobs, and thought endlessly about my employability. I went as far as auditing my soft skills. Highlighting my gaps, I started to list experiences that would fill these deficiencies. “Resilience” was one item on the list, and next to it, I had written “Complete Ironman”. Half way round, I thought it evidenced “Stupidity” more effectively.
Students embark on these types of experiences throughout their educational lives. From being at high school as a member of the school council, to college and a participant in the annual production, to going to university and managing your halls of residence, these experiences define an individual and are what make education great.