March 22, 2011

The Small Victories: 3 weeks till Ironman South Africa

The alarm goes off. It’s soft and gentle but today it sounds brutal and almost like an insult to the life you make hard choices to pursue. The sacrifice of getting up right now completely outweighing the urge to continue cuddling the beautiful being next to you. It takes every bit of will towards your goal that you can muster to get you out of bed and into your training gear.

As you are loading your bottles and packing that extra banana in the back pocket, you yawn loudly and wonder what you are chasing. Why are you up at 6am on a Saturday, searching for the form to get to a line in the road after 9, 10, 12, 14 hours that will make sense to your mind, as settlement for the effort you have put in. It doesn’t make any sense. You shake your head and walk out the door, reluctant.

As your shoes cleat into the pedals and you start to move, you realise for the first time in ages how smooth you are pedaling. You apply a little pressure and the bike responds, almost a part of you. You crest the first hill on the warm-up ride to meet the other Ironman wannabe’s in an aerobic state, something which wasn’t possible even 8 weeks ago. You nod to yourself. Good job. Maybe the small victories are vital.

As you roll up to the crew you mentally count the people you will struggle to keep up with today. The list used to be endless. It’s now less than a handful. You mentally make notes on where on the ride the moves will go and where you need to conserve. New things, when hanging on used to be the norm. Control.

As you roll over the first climb of the day you feel strong and realise getting out of bed this morning was a good thing. This is your last long ride. 3 weeks till race day. The peak and taper are about to commence and you have the first emotions of feeling ready for the day. As you look back over your shoulder to the others coming up the hill, you count the long rides and the journey that has been 6 months of sacrifice towards how you are going to feel for the next 3 weeks or so, when you are bursting with energy.

You realise the journey behind is much longer than the one ahead. That the expectation of the finish line is quite large right now. That you hope all answers will be found there.

Just then you realise that perhaps, you already have your answers. That the next 3 weeks are merely the time when you should be relishing having done the work, having made the choices. As you sip your drink and click the gears down, powering over the top of the hill, you realise that the journey is right now, that in this moment, you are a rapidly moving vehicle towards the rest of your life and that no line in the road will ever be big enough. That the changes you have already made are enough proof that you can do anything you ever wanted to, that nothing will ever hold you back again. That the victory is already yours.

It’s a massive weight off your shoulders as you effortless cruise the flat section to the next climb for the day. You feel supple, fresh and like you could pedal this bike into the sunset. Your body is a furnace burning bright. You have arrived.


With 3 weeks to go till Ironman South Africa, this is hopefully what is happening to you out there. You have made the journey, now relish the next few weeks out there. You are the inspiration, the reason and the goal. You are the line in the road which others are striving towards. Be the beacon and the light and show those around you why you made the sacrifice. Be gentle and kind and let the energy flowing through your veins run calmly, finding the quiet power inside you.

Assume nothing, pursue everything, experience now.

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