February 20, 2012

Warrior Poets

What a weekend. Amazing how conversations come at the right times, if you are willing to listen. On Saturday, I pre-rode the Xterra Grabouw course – a beautiful, challenging dame of a route that will punish you if you drop your focus for a second – and afterward bumped into the world class Dan Hugo. We had a chat about fatigue, how to build blocks and when to know to take 36 hours to recover, sleep and eat, virtually non-stop.

On Saturday evening, I went for a trail run around the Signal Hill and Lions Head peaks and got OWNED by the route – my legs were lead, my ambition to hurt just not there and my head not able to overcome. I knew the feeling and knew it was time to give the body a break. So yesterday, I was out on the 11 Global course, taking some snaps on the route on a new toy I have yet to even read the manual on. Triathlon is truly a beautiful painful thing to watch.

As the warrior poets passed me en route, letting the verse play out through their bodies, I was inspired. It is not often that I spectate. My races are very much centered around my experience and spectating through a camera gave me a new insight into the day. I tried to capture some of the moments out there, the attitudes of the racers and the emotions they are going through.

Belief, hope, power, fatigue, hopelessness then back into belief, power, focus and lastly, relief.

Here are some of the snaps.

The realisation that I needed a break came a day earlier than I planned to take a break, as this week is based around Xterra Grabouw on Sunday. Some would argue that I should have pushed through for that last big session, which is something I would consider every time. The smartest, and incidentally, fastest athletes I know are very in tune with their bodies.

Push till you crack, not break. That is what I am attempting to learn this season. I have no rest weeks, hardly any rest days and the combination of intensity and endurance work is taxing, but it’s a part of the lessons I want to learn, its a part of the commitment I have made, as an athlete who wants to represent everything the warrior poet represents, to take the chance at failing, multiple times, in order to succeed, for one specific day.

Without risk, there is no reward. Without hope, no life.

I saw so many warrior poets out there on Sunday around Big Bay – overcoming risk, or limping home, smashed. Every one of them a warrior poet in my mind. When you let it all hang out, you are living. So what if you fail? Your success will only know boundaries as long as you play it safe.

To close off today, I wanted to add a few pictures that I found this morning, around the theme of inspiration. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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