Issue 93, June 2006
(from the perspective of a confirmed couch potato)
Once upon a time there was a young lady named Carly, who was a
dedicated member of the couch potato club. She loved nothing more than to relax
and watch movies while munching on junk food.
Then one day a strange affliction crept over her; she discovered the joys of
walking around the hills and valleys of her home on Bluff Hill, Napier. The
concrete footpaths and steep stairways, the puffing and panting, the dripping
sweat, all brought her great pleasure (or so she tells us). This affliction was
highly contagious and Carly’s best friend picked up the bug too. They even
started attending a gym to create more puffing, panting and sweating, and this
is where the story gets interesting!
Would you believe that there are people who actively try to pass this affliction
on to others? Their deviousness extends to placing subversive leaflets in fitness
centres and the like, where the unsuspecting will read them. This is just what
happened to Carly. Once she touched that leaflet she was hooked and started on
an upward spiral that still continues today. Is there any hope for her you ask?
What was this leaflet you ask?
The SHE Triwoman Series of triathlons, devised by the cunning Shane Hooks, to
draw in women, against their better judgement, and force them to improve their
health and fitness! A shocking prospect for those confirmed couch potatoes who
know that theirs is the only way to live.
Carly was immediately drawn into the power of the leaflet and took it to her
friend, who was also immediately ensnared. They agreed to enter the event and
train for it together. From then on they were up at the crack of 5.30 every
morning, pounding the pavement or riding the road. There was a bit of swimming
involved too, so you would often find them flapping up and down the Onekawa
swimming pool, or gliding effortlessly through the salty waters of Pandora Pond.
(It must have been effortless because they never stopped talking!)
Perhaps something in the back of Carly’s poor befuddled brain was trying to warn
her of the danger. Whatever the reason, she came up with the idea of achieving
some good from the situation. She suggested using the opportunity to help others,
by raising funds for the Hawke’s Bay HD Support Group. But once the fundraising
got underway, she realised that it was just another trick to keep her hooked –
so many people got behind her with sponsorship and encouragement that there was
no way she could back out. Who would have believed there were so many devious
(generous) people out there?
The little seed grew like a weed, ensnaring everyone around Carly. She was
invited to speak at Woodford House, the school where her mum works. Some of the
girls had already picked up the same bug as Carly, so there was no help for her
suffering there – just lots more generous support and encouragement!
She appealed to people on the streets of Taradale and Havelock North on Saturdays,
but they just kept putting money into her donation tin, which of course did
nothing but encourage her to keep going.
Poor Carly. The day of the triathlon dawned and there she was in Taupo, fit and
ready to go! Even the pouring rain and cold wind didn’t stop her. The silly grin
never left her face and everyone could see that she was determined to go through
with it. But no-one had anticipated the worst danger of all that was to come at
the end of the event!
Her turn came to enter the waters of Lake Taupo and swim the 300 metres along
the shore. The lake itself seemed to be in on the conspiracy. Contrary to what
Carly had been told, the water was warm, if a little choppy. No freezing cold
water to snap her out of her enchantment.
Then at last, a glimmer of hope! She had trouble in transition (from swimming to
cycling). Her wetsuit didn’t want to come off and her shoes didn’t want to go on.
But no – by now she was conditioned to ignore little frustrations and get on with
the job. So off she zoomed on her bike for the 10-kilometre ride – her best
discipline of the three.
There was a long pause for the waiting couch potatoes, but little did they know
that a lone figure in the wilderness was doing his bit to fight the affliction.
As Carly came speeding down the hill (after first riding up), a car pulled out
of a driveway and moved slowly along the road in front, forcing her to slow down.
The roads were still open to traffic so Carly wouldn’t risk passing the car -
another strike for the couch potatoes! But of course it couldn’t continue, and
once free of the obstacle, Carly redoubled her efforts and made it back to
transition for the run.
Once Carly got to running the couch potatoes had given up hope for her redemption,
and by the time she finished the three kilometres they were cheering and yelling
as loud as the rest of the sufferers! Perhaps they thought that she would be free
of this thing now. But oh no – the worst was yet to come.
Carly received her medal and discovered that she had finished within her target
time of one hour. Then – horrors – she announced that she wanted to enter more
triathlon events! All hope that the couch potatoes had once harboured evaporated
into thin air. This addiction was here to stay and they would just have to make
the most of it.
We are very proud of what Carly has done so far. We would also like to
acknowledge the tremendous support received from members of the HD Group in
Carly’s “Dad” (stepfather Geoff) has HD. She raised more than $2000.00 for the
local HD Support Group. Her triathlon website is located at
We have a new project on the go now. Carly has entered the NZ Ironman, which is
held at Taupo in March each year. She has the help of some of the top people in
New Zealand and has dedicated the next ten months to achieving the starting line.
Her Ironman website is at www.jsites.co.nz/carly/index.php. The two websites have
links to each other.
While Carly concentrates on her training, I will be fundraising for a proposed
new trust to help HD families. More details will be available in future
newsletters, or you can contact us through Carly’s Ironman website.
Jan and Geoff Pickering and Carly Fryer
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org