Friday, 15 February 2013

The Good Life?

   The nice thing about my job is it's task oriented so I have a lot of time to get lost inside my own head.  This week has been exceptional though. I've been tangled in a web of non-stop thinking that has left me mentally exhausted, but given me some clarity in the end. I have been feeling my motivation slipping and a mild malaise washing over me for a couple weeks now. Outside of the obvious, that we're all suffering from the long, dark and cold winter, it was something else. I began this journey into triathlon in the Autumn of 2012.  I was excited at the prospect of new challenges, but I let it get the best of me as I tend to. The sports that make triathlon are about learning and practicing technique, as well as building endurance. It is only lately that I'm beginning to realize this isn't going to happen as fast as I would like. I've been getting so serious about training that I've neglected to really slow down and enjoy it. I started well enough, but lately it has only been about personal bests and picking apart everything I'm not good enough at yet. 

  This lead me to think what would make me happy. How do I approach training or any aspect of life for that matter? So all week long I have pondered this question and here is what I have come up with so far. Not in any particular order, but here are my thoughts on what is a good life...

Take everyday as it comes. Life won't bend to meet my rigid schedule. 

Find a sport or activity you love. Strive to be the best you can at it.

Listen to your body. It's no good pushing when your body has had enough.

Learn about the world around you. Question everything and demand proof.

Even if you don't love your job, find a way to enjoy it and take pride in your work.

Love with everything you have.

Live simply. Live within your means. 

Eat naturally. Consume real food and avoid processed junk.

Keep a few close friends and even fewer possessions.

Lead a balanced life. Work, rest and play.

Find a reason to smile everyday. Actually smile as much as possible.

   So where has his lead me. I'm not sure yet, but I need to start thinking how I can incorporate my own advice. I do know to my own surprise that I need to throw out my schedule for a while or at the very least all the specificity. I'm going to schedule in terms of generalities. A run this day, a swim another, etc. I'll just figure out what I want to do when the day comes. I need to relax and get back to enjoying my sports, also my life. Take a few minutes to appreciate life for what it is. An organic, evolving, beautiful experience to be savored as it unfolds, not a schedule for what should happen every minute of every day. As triathletes we need some sort of schedule, but even I can't live like this any longer.

   This did lead me to an interesting conclusion though. After a lot of so called "soul searching", I have to be true to myself. I'm becoming a runner. It's actually becoming an obsession. I find myself relentlessly researching all aspects of running and I'm developing new heroes in the sport to aspire to. Ultra-runners like Scott Jurek, Anton Krupicka & Ann Trason. The original barefoot runner and 1960 Olympic marathon winner Abebe Bikila. Ultra-runner Barefoot Ted and the amazing Tarahumara "running people" from the Copper Canyons of Mexico. I love the speed and power of 3km and 5km as well as the pace of 10km. I love pushing my distances from half towards full marathons and the new goal of making a 50km or even 100km ultra race one day . 

  I still love my cross training. Swimming is one of the most technically difficult things to learn and perfect. I have always relished the feeling of being in the water and I still have a lot of work to become proficient. Coming from BMX and mountain biking, road cycling is just an extension of my bike love, so that's here to stay too. I'm still very excited to give triathlon my best effort this season, but I'm currently working to revise my training to focus on running. It may require cutting back to one day in the pool and one day on the bike, but I need to follow my passion. Working 60 hours a week, maintaining a fantastic, loving relationship and training, all while leaving a few moments to relax means living within the time I have available.

   Many of the other aspects I spoke of I have already worked into my life thanks to the inspiration of friends, family and of course my best friend and partner in crime, well partner in life actually, Chris. I will continue to ponder these ideas and where I should look next to find, what is the good life.

1 comment:

  1. Well said Ryan. Finding one thing and doing it well.