November 30, 2012

Adversity & That Pause

The Rapha Continental: Icknield Way from RAPHA on Vimeo.

Another beautiful video from Rapha. No surprise. Watch it and take in the faces at the end.

The last few weeks have been some of the most challenging that I have ever experienced. In every way, I was pushed, challenged and when there was no more to give, I had to find a little more for those around me who are important to me. I had to be hard when it counted, listen intuitively when I wanted to give advice, talk when I wanted to keep quiet and go out on a limb and disappoint when all I wanted was to keep my head down and stay out of conflict. It was harder than I wanted, but probably what I needed come end of the year. Time to man up and remember to be a superhuman.

Without going into details, we can just say that it’s been a time when I was searching for that Ellipsis – the pause – that pause – that brings it all together. Instead I found a pause that made me realise I had to keep pushing. That there had to be more.

When the pause came, it left me with bad news. News that I expected, but which I had an expectancy for which was always positive. It affected many around me. It gave me the chance to stop for a moment, and a deep fatigue set in that I cannot describe. I realised in one moment how much the last few weeks had taken out of me. And then I realised another thing, in that pause. It was very real, very raw and very powerful.

That it was far from over.

That I had to keep pushing. That more adversity was on the way, but that breakthroughs would make it all worth it. Because in the end, like that video, I will stand on the shore and look out at the sea and feel a deep content that I cannot define for you – it’s yours to go find yourself.

I made some tough decisions on races for 2013 and now, my calendar is complete, cutting out one of the bucket list items every endurance athlete dreams of to be able to prepare for another with absolute dedication. I paid race entries for Otter, Ironman SA, entered 3 x Xterra races, secured an entry to Joburg2c and paid my deposit on this, the only thing that currently scares me a little:

Cent Cols Challenge 2012 from RAPHA on Vimeo.

Here is my specific trip: Dolomites.

All in life is not worth it if we are only shooting for those material things. So next year, I am shooting again, for experiences, rather than finish lines or stuff. More big training sessions where I have to find that deep need to go beyond failure, more moments of overcoming, more switchback doping tours, more events without a winner, more interaction with you, my audience. More of the stuff which I take with me when the adversity strikes. More of what causes the pause to be permanent. This is complete maximimalism at it’s best and though I try to live as simply as possible and will continue to strive for that, I also strive for the most of certain things.

Am I having fun in all this?

I have had more fun this year, creating and contributing to things that improve the world, than in any other year. Athlete Manifestos, Ethical Food choices & being a leader in spreading those choices, Coaching more athletes, Inspirational new platforms like Free From & Privateer, sharing photographs I have taken of us exploring simple, and more than anything, living life with all the gusto I can muster and then some.

It’s only just begun, this journey.

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