Friday, 28 May 2010

The Ups and Downs of endurance training. The Downs.....2

I wanted to write a little bit more on why I have found it so hard to sacrifice time away from Ad. I am naturally focused on the future, the new challenges I can face, new places to go and things to learn. Sometimes I wonder what drives me to achieve those things and why I can't be more content with both myself and then moment I am living in. One of my friends, a fellow RAF triathlete and blogger is living a new lifestyle according to the 'Primal Blueprint' - more on that another day - very interesting! She says it is not 'just a diet' but has totally revamped her outlook on life and she now sees a lot of her friends living under such pressure - a way she empathises with as it used to be her. She recently blogged this description of it influenced by her reading a book called, 'Born to Run'.

One of the more interesting aspects were the mini biographies of a number of the 'racers'. We are talking here about ultradistance runners, 50, 80, 100 plus milers, mostly mountain trail running. However there were also IM triathletes too. Many of them seem to be literally running from things, driven to batter themselves day after day, week after week as if undergoing some kind of either personal punishment or perhaps distraction from their lives.I certainly recognised a former me in the description and a number of people I know within my circle. In fact there are several bloggers I follow that profess to be training for a peak performance at their 'A' race but when you look at what they are doing, or the comments they make 'I really beasted myself', 'I love the pain', 'I do it to earn my recovery' etc it is clear that peak performance is very far what what they will achieve so it makes me wonder what is actually going on underneath.

I also see aspects of myself in this, though I don't think I am striving every day to 'batter' myself, more to 'better' myself. However, whilst that seems a commendable pursuit sometimes you need to sit down with yourself and go, 'you know what, you are actually alright as you are, stop trying to do all these things to improve yourself and just be happy with where you are at'. I think a lot of things I have done in my life have been driven by this desire to better myself and I am only just learning that maybe I am ok as I am. I remember saying to Ad, "I can't wait to be finished with triathlon and have some time." Bless him, he probably thought I meant to spend doing things with him and our friends and family, fun things, smelling the daises type of things. But I said, "yep, it'll be great, I'm going to re-train as a nutritionist and also learn italian and russian!" Another classic example of me trying to 'better' myself. Why can't I think the former option isn't more appealing!

And don't get me wrong. It really is starting to be. We had a wonderful time last weekend with our friends in Devon and their brand new baby niece. We had BBQs, swam in the sea, ate icrecream and drank wine. And I laughed a lot. In fact, one time I was laughing hysterically, like you do as a child. And Ad just looked at me and said, "Wow, it's so nice to see you laugh at something." Jeez. And suddenly it wasn't that funny anymore. I mean, how sad it that? That I don't laugh and be happy enough that my wonderful fiance who I adore actually thinks me laughing is a noteworthy event. Things have to change!!

It was summed up by an extremely upsetting event that occured during the week. The Chairman of RAF Triathlon died suddenly whilst competing. His wife was with him and I don't know if that was a blessing or not. He was only 54 and leaves 3 children. He would have had future dreams and plans and hopes and his wife will have had them for the both of them. And now they are both robbed of that opportunity. I just hope he was happy that day and living in his present, because that was all he was going to get. My blogger friend summed it up in her post of yesterday:

When events like this occur it's natural to take a step back and really think about your own situation. My husband is only 51, that's only three years younger and I know we have lots of plans for the next few years and well into his retirement which isn't so far away now. The thought of him just not returning home one day is an overwhelming one and certainly focuses your mind on what is really important. It's very easy to let the everyday minutiae of life take over, to allow inconsequential aspects of your life to assume far greater importance than they warrant. I guess to miss the wood for the trees.

It's also easy to keep putting off doing things you've always meant to, or really changing things that simply aren't working for you, taking the path of least resistance even if the end result would be a big step forward. Often it's fear, or inertia, or just laziness perhaps, or the notion that there is plenty of time. But as yesterday demonstrates there may be no more time.I've blogged this week about the importance of being present in every moment, of noticing, I didn't realize just how relevant those thoughts would become, because we just don't know what might be around the corner.I had planned to do a long ride today but it hasn't happened as I've been busy doing 'my bit' within the committee. And does it matter. No, not a jot. What matters is really appreciating what you have, making sure those you love know it and living in the present because 'now' is really all we can be sure of.

This sums it up greatly for me and though Ad and I have discussed my path for the next 18months and are fully committed to it, I also cannot wait for my retirement day in September next year when I can spend time with those who mean the most to me and do the things that really matter in life. I hope this lesson is also a positive one for the next 18 months of training. It will be difficult and there will be times I don't want to do it anymore. But if I can just be grateful every single day for the opportunity of being able to attempt an event such as this and fulfil one of my dreams, then the journey will become easier. People often say that attempting events of this magnitude are life-changing and i've always found it a bit cliched but I think, sometimes cliches are there for a reason and you know what, maybe they have a point.

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