I’ve been thinking about motivation recently. When I get to the “Why” question, the answer that seems to keep coming back is, “Because it’s there”. But I know there’s more than that to it.
When I did my first triathlon, my biggest fear was a not completing the race - a DNF. So I worked really hard through what seemed to be the longest, coldest winter ever to prevent that. And when I completed the race, within shouting distance of my Tall Friend, I felt just so amazing.
Well, now I’ve committed myself to moving up this “wacky racers” sport’s distance ladder. After a weekend running and then cycling longer than I usually do, I felt a little (but not excessively) tired today, but I just had to go out this afternoon to visit a client in Newcastle, and run a couple of errands. The sun was shining, so I took Trixie the Fixie, and I can tell you she’s no slouch - I equalled my record set by my sturdy commuting bike for the return trip, and apart from a couple of hills it felt like easy riding.
But then when I got home, I found I’d just run out of enthusiasm for tonight’s swim session with the NE31 Tri club. Swimming is without doubt my weakest discipline - the one where my performance is so far short of the mark that it seems like the impossible mountain, and I am very, very daunted.
It’s like arriving in Grindelwald when the mist is down, and then suddenly seeing the north face of the Eiger through a break in the clouds. That little voice whispers in my ear, “Ya see . . . I told you you’d never be good enough for THIS”.
This is where I have to put the effort now, or what I have planned for June 2009 just ain’t gonna happen.
It’s a part of that whole “Begin With The End In Mind” thing from Stephen Covey’s books. Some of what he says is just a bit too happy-clappy for my British upper lip, but this point really works for me. I can see myself in the swim; through transition after 2.4 miles; cycling what seems forever; transition again, with legs like jelly, and finally putting on what feels like a sprint to cross the finish line after running 26.2 miles, with the crowd going wild. I mean it - the images are there in my head, in wide-screen technicolor and the most amazing surround sound. The more real I can make it in my head, the more I’ll start to believe it’s real, and that I AM that IronMan. If that doesn’t impact my behaviour (not to mention my hat size ) I don’t know what will.
Along similar lines . . . Paul Campbell wrote a recent article for one of our region’s business magazines arguing that as a region, the one thing holding us back is belief. That insidious ‘I’m not good enough’ feeling that prevents people from achieving their potential. Naturally, he points out that this isn’t reality, just in a communal ‘head’, and that there are examples around of people who’ve broken this collective psyche mould to build great (or even, Amazing) companies.
And he’s right. One of my errands today was to the Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative shop in Byker. While I was stocking up, Trixie was parked up in the show room, with a small group of staff and customers admiring her stripped down looks. And suddenly people were interested in talking to me about how she rides . . . are those steel forks . . . am I going to the Leazes crits on Friday . . . or one of three road races on Saturday & Sunday . . .
. . . I could understand it if I was riding a £4,000 lighter-than-air carbon bike. But Trixie’s made from bits and pieces. She’s unusual, but there’s more to it than that . . .
. . . like when I look at the training log that Sweat365 generates as if by magic from my blog entries. This isn’t looking like the effort put in my someone who’s just dabbling at triathlon . . .
. . . even though I bunked off swimming tonight, I might just be in danger of becoming The Real Deal.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 06/11/2007
- Total Time: 1:25:00.00
- Distance: 24 miles
- Average Speed: 16.94 mph