August 27, 2010

Don’t tell me I`m mad.

I am happy to confess it to you. I am happy to tell you that I am far from normal, that the normal limits of mankind don’t apply to me. That society deems me a freak.

Come here, I`ll tell it to you calmly, quietly, without prejudice. I`m happy to sit and listen to you tell me why I am mad to be trying to balance a full work day with my crazy sports obsession. I`ll sit and listen, without judgement. I realize you can’t fathom the compromise, the level of effort it takes to live the life I choose to live, every single day. I realize all you see is the training and the work and the limited time. I see that you see I am tired, that I look “ill” to you, too skinny by societies terms and conditions.

What you don’t see is the real effort. The packing of 2 bags a day, the effort it takes to shower 3 times a day depending if I am squeezing in a lunch session too. The compromise it takes when I want to go out partying with mates, because I LOVE the dancing, singing and laughing and bromance that they offer, but when I am simply too tired to be a part of whats going on there. The compromise it takes to stay true to a dream, a goal. I know you don’t see me when I`m sitting, 140km into a 180km ride, tired and weary, with 40km of hills and block headwind to get home. You cannot see the doubt in my mind right then, the fight in my head and body to keep going, despite the surrounding circumstance. All you see is “crazy boy spent the day on his bike again”.

You really can’t see that I`m training my mind as much as my body? Really? Interesting…

I full realize that you and most of the people I am surrounded by look at me with caution because they don’t understand my motivations. I know those of you who watch these videos and get goosebumps, wanting to be out there, on that course, that you share that burning desire. I salute you. In fact I am standing on the highest perch with a banner and a microphone for you, protesting the limits of society for you, with you, through you. I know you don’t expect everybody to understand you, but that you feel like an island some days. That the island gets lonely.

I get that. Just remember that life is NOT about finding yourself out there, in the open road. It’s about CREATING yourself out there, in the open road. That you are building the foundations for making amazingly good decisions by pushing the limits. The limits are beautiful. Just when you smash through one, it goes just a bit further again. The limits will challenge you forever. That is their essential beauty and truth.

Still not understanding what I am saying? Have a watch at this, tell me it doesn’t grip you in the heart and wake something in you. For me, I get so emotional when I watch this that I am ready to run out the door and onto the mountain, disappearing for a few hours where I set the trail and there is no route. Where all bets are off on whether I hit a limit out there or not.

It makes me want to go find that beautiful moment where I have to stop and ask myself serious questions about WTF I am doing out here in this state with so far left to go. Give me those moments. They make me laugh at myself. Yes, I am mad.

What am I doing?

This is my language. I know you might not understand it. I realize the crazyness of it all. I know it’s a little obsessive. I am fully aware of how intense it is. I am 100% coherent on the fact that I do it 100% for myself, however. I really can’t complain, all is Kosher around these parts. Thank goodness it`s far from over. Really there are too many great roads, trails and open stretches of water left to explore, too much great food to experience and far too many amazing wines I have never sampled.

I may not always be so driven to obsess about sport. I may switch it to exploration at some point, but I guarantee you I will explore by bike, foot and human power. I`ll be climbing the mountain, not catching the cable car to the top. I am too addicted to the way the body feels when it moves. How good it feels to walk, run, ride, climb, dance, jump, boogie, bounce, paddle and in the middle of all that, with all the senses going bazongkers, standing perfectly still with my eyes closed, arms wide spread, being amazed at how everything tingles with absolute excitement at doing what it’s supposed to do, when the mind and body are 100% stimulated through a full body sensory experience.

Don’t tell me I am mad.

I am well aware of the fact.

2 Comments on “Don’t tell me I`m mad.

August 27, 2010 at 11:41 am

Thank you for this post Raoul! It’s one of the most inspirational endurance sports posts I’ve read in a very long time.

One can see that it came from your heart and that you really know what you speak about.

It definitely inspires me to keep training no matter how much of a schlep it can be, because one doesn’t always realise that other people have the same ‘bag-packing-woes’ and the ‘why-must-i-get-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn’ talks in your warm bed.

And next time I’m pounding away on the road in pain in a race with many kilometres to go (not quite doing your kind of mileage yet though!), I will definitely think of those people in the videos and tell myself not to be such a wimp.

Thanks again!

morne van Greunen
August 27, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Dude just want to complement and thank you for this amazing article man!
There’s so much truth and inspiration in there! I realy find it hard to describe 2
People why i/we do what we do…all I can ever come up with is that it makes me feel alive, which off-coarse just confuses people more! They just don’t understand/get-it! Some-times I’m almost mad that I experienced that IM finish line…NOT!

Anyway, thanks again and all the best for the next couple of week prep for Kona & keep us posted!



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