December 3, 2013

Just a game

It’s that time of the year when I want to find the motivation for the next 12 months. Little clips like this are what motivate me. Today I am aching all over from my first session of rehab for an imbalance that took months to create and likely, months to fix.

A bout of crossfit-type exercise a year ago left my right knee a little right of center. No hassles until I started doing masses of vertical descending for trail running. It showed as Osgood Schlatters, which took me 6 months to work out, and it’s been management of that all year. Through Ironman, I couldn’t run anything but flat roads. In prep for Otter, I had to limit technical downhill running. And since Otter, it’s been management of it to get me through Double Century.

Now the work really begins. Twice a week sessions with the pain cave to realign the muscle, ligament and nerve structures. Strengthening of the core systems and lower back. Re-activation of muscles that have turned off because of the imbalance and recovery of the muscles which have worked overtime because others were switched off.

Just a niggle?

Left alone, it could have kept me out of going full tilt for years to come. Who knows where that could have led to. In the end, I don’t want to know where it could have led to. I want to take responsibility for it, which meant not running for 3 weeks to let it ease up, then starting rehab on it (which mostly involves my patient specialist contorting me into odd positions to re-align my structures while I balance on a bosu ball or on one leg) with the vision to keep the rehab going through the season.

Some things are just not instant-satisfaction or instant-fix. Some thing require pain, sacrifice, work, compromise, toughness, resilience and most of all, it requires the WILL to do all those things.

So often we are sold on the line “it’s just a game” which is such rubbish. It’s not always a game. Just a game implies no attachment to the outcome and no focus going into the experience. Sometimes, its the end of the world and sometimes, success is the only option. Sometimes, its not just a game.

Now again, watch the same words, with some new images, and let it set in.

If you wanted the words to this, to stick up somewhere on a wall, here you are:

6 am and your hand can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you that it’s too early, too dark and too cold to get out of bed. Aching muscles lie still in rebellion pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move. A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous permission for you to hit the snooze button. Go back to dreamland!

But you didn’t ask their opinion. The voice you’ve chosen to listen to is one of defiance! The voice that said there was a reason that you set that alarm in the first place. So sit up. Put your feet on the floor and don’t look back because we’ve got work to do.

Welcome to the grind! For what is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way. 10,000 streams span out like a River Delta before you, each one promising the path of least resistance. The thing is you’re headed upstream and when you make that choice, when you decide to turn your back on what’s comfortable, what’s safe and what some would call common sense.

Well that’s Day 1. From there is only gets tougher! So just make sure this is something that you want. Because the easy way out will always be there. Ready to wash you away!

All you have to do is pick up your feet. But you aren’t going to are you? With each step comes the decision to take another. You’re on your way now, but this is no time to dwell on how far you have come. You’re in a fight against an opponent you can’t see, but oh you can feel him on your heels can’t ya. Feel him breathing down your neck. You know what that is? That’s you. Your fears, your doubts, your insecurities all lined up like a firing squad ready to shoot you out of the sky. But don’t lose heart. While they are not easily defeated, they are far from invincible.

Remember, this is the grind, the Battle Royale between you and your mind. Your body and the devil on your shoulders who is telling you that “ This is just a game. This is just a waste of time. Your opponents are stronger than you”. Drown out the voice of uncertainty with the sound of your own heartbeat! Burn away your self doubt with the fire beneath you. Remember what we are fighting for and never forget that momentum is a cruel mistress. She can turn on a dime with the smallest mistake. She is ever searching for the weak place in your armour. That one tiny feeling that you forgot to prepare for. So as long as the devil is hiding the details, the question remains: “Is that all you got? Are you sure?”

When the answer is yes, you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself for battle, then it’s time to go forth and boldly face your enemy. The enemy within! Only now you must take that fight into the open. Into hostile territory.

You are a lion in a field of lions, all hunting the same elusive prey with a desperate starvation that says victory is the only thing that can keep you alive. So believe that voice that says you can run a little faster and you can throw a little harder, and that for you the laws of physics are merely a suggestion. Luck is the last dying wish of those who want to believe that winning can happen by accident. Sweat on the other hand is for those who know it’s a choice. So decide now because destiny waits for no man.

And when your time comes and a thousand different voices are trying to tell you that you’re not ready for it, listen instead to that lone voice of descent, that one voice that says: “you are ready” “you are prepared”. It’s all up to you now!

So rise and shine…

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