I woke up early this morning … to sit on the back deck with a cup of coffee. I wanted to listen to the birds. That’s one of my favorite things about the morning. I love when the world is quiet like this.
It’s the end of recovery week and the beginning of the final push towards Ironman. I have reflected a lot upon the journey of the past year. Actually the past few years. What I have been through…. how I have come out of it…. where I am today. As I make my way towards my last Ironman (not last triathlon, it will be 70.3 and shorter) I am savoring every moment of it.
I love it.
There is a fine between passion and obsession when it comes to myself and this sport. I have been in the throws of obsession. When a missed ride would throw me for a loop, or not hitting XX pace for XX miles would cause me great worry. That’s long…. long gone. What drives me is the passion I have for not so much this sport per se….. but for the ability of even being an athlete.
I have been an athlete all my life. I grew up at morning swim practices. I grew up performing in front of large crowds. In some way shape or form I have been able to use the gift of being an athlete… the gift of movement… the gift of health….. to navigate my way through life. I know too many people who want to be able to DO….. and simply can’t. Because their body, for whatever reason won’t allow them.
I have lost my health twice and trust me….. I don’t take it for granted. It my worst problem today is that I miss a run or that I go slow…. it’s still a good day. Every single morning I give thanks for the steps I get to take. For the hours I get to spend on a bike, for the ability to cruise through the water. To pick up heavy things (—> heavy for me… and this is a new talent).
What drives me is not panic. Not insecurity. Not fear.
What drives me is again…. passion.
If there is any obsession here it’s the obsession of movement. The obsession for the feel of the wind in my hair. The obsession for what I get to see while I am out on my bike. What I have been through has caused the obsession for paces and mileage and weekly hours to vanish. Every step I take is a step forward. Every stroke I swim is a stroke towards. It’s never missed it’s only gained. If it’s missed there is always tomorrow.
It’s a good place to be. A good stage of my athletic life. It makes training and competing… happier. More fulfilling. More meaningful. I have to do things that have meaning. I can’t just grind in the face of the grind….. just because.
This Ironman has a lot of meaning for me. Why I am here in the first place. What I lost, then gained. The fact that it’s a literal family effort. Every day I thank my lucky stars for that. Trust me that this is so much richer and experience than not knowing why you are out there and being out there empty.
In three weeks I am headed to Mont Tremblant with a couple of friends. It’s one of those training weekends that we will each do our own thing yet we are up there together. In these scenarios I am not one for doing everything as a group, like in a camp situation. My goal is to be on the course and soak up the amazing beautiful scenery. I know how I pace Ironman. I know how I fuel Ironman. I don’t need to connect with the logistics or the details. I need to connect with the big picture. I need to feel the town. I need to feel the roads. I need to see the culture and the beauty of what will be around me.
In these types of training weekends I am very relaxed and very casual. I like going with good friends because I want to savor the experience. Years later you look back on these types of weekends as a “remember in Mont Tremblant when….”.
In these types of training weekends we have our own agenda. I have to be in charge of nothing. I like to lay back and relax and get to know what I am there to get to know. It has nothing to do with paces and wattage and nutrition. I know all that. I have all that down.
I am there to connect. To enjoy. To create what I need to create so that when I come back for Ironman…. it’s like I have a secret. And the only one who knows, who cares….. is me.
I am standing on the edge of this final push feeling very happy. Very rested. Very content. There are some wonderfully hard and longer days ahead and I look to them with hope. Last year at this time I was not in this place. I was at the beginning. And while there is no end to where I am going…. right here is the most amazing place.