Taper begins. For many doing their first Ironman , there is an uneasy feeling and doubt ...have I done enough.
Invariably , I was one of them. It is natural in the human psyche to question and doubt. But when all is said and done , it is what it is. I may not be at race weight or done enough long runs or fast speed work or taken enough vitamins or watched my diet but there isn't much i can do now.So there isn't any point worrying about it.
For most , they have done the training and the day will fly by and all their fears will be unfounded. Like any journey there is the fear of the unknown.
It is also the end of the training and a very taxing part for most triathletes . Gone are the juggling and management of training , the tiredness and the endless guilt at missing sessions...at least for me. But I have mellowed a little in the short years I have been training. I see this as part of a bigger journey .
But there are 2 short articles I have read that have helped make sense of all this madness. A piece by Antonio Neves. Neves is an award-winning broadcast journalist and the founder of THINQACTION titled : delusional optimism
For those who dare to dream the unthinkable is just one step forward , the next is to realise that dream by making it happen.For all those who dare by taking that first step , the next is when they stare out with 1600 others on the beach at the start of an Ironman race. Consistent action with a goal in mind as Neves described it.
The other piece is by Balsam in his blog with a piece called grit-cakes
He states eloquently:
Progress in life is directly proportional to the dirt under our fingernails. Success comes from the strife we endure and the effort we exude. Life is made up of peaks and valleys. Stay humble in the highs, stay hungry in the lows.
It is said that we are at our happiest when we are attempting something difficult but attainable. It is that unknown, yet reachable territory that excites us. When we hit that territory, it’s magical. However, even after hours, days or months of work, we don’t always get there.
But it’s OK to eat a face full of grit cakes every now and then. It keeps us level. We always learn something along the way so no honest endeavor is ever a wasted one. It didn’t work out as planned? You’re life isn’t going according to your “If Everything Were Perfect” memoir? I say good riddance! There is no substitute for busting your butt.
Struggling when chasing a dream reminds you that you need people to lean on, that we need to vent, regroup, relax, reset, rethink, retry, and get ready to fight all over again. Our story will be a much better read when it’s all said and done. Moments of clarity in my life have always presented themselves after periods of uncertainty.
Embrace the suck. Enjoy the grit cakes. It’s good for us. It will make us better. And if we’re not trying to get better every day, shame on us. Always Be Better.
Anyone eat their own fair share of grit cakes recently? What did you learn from it?
It is hard and nothing worth chasing is easy .I seem to remember the hard sessions and the workouts that did not go so well , the days when I really was low and tired and fed up but I also recall the sense of completing all those hard training sessions .There was a sense of completing and enjoying the day for what it was. No great triumph or medal. just knowing I did what I set out to do.
For me , the experience is a metaphor of life itself .The highs and the lows and how we handle it all. For those who contemplate the journey there are just two considerations , they are Embrace the suck and be delusionally optimistic. You owe it to yourself.