Training went really well today. It is scaring me now how well it is going. Can I ever be happy? I think it is just getting that taste of potential, hope and enjoyment about all this and how much it means to me, but still not really trusting that it won’t get swiped away again. On the bike I just felt so great. I was happy that I went out alone and back on that familiar coast road winding around Killiney bay and then cutting across inland towards Wicklow. It is only on a bike one can see how beautiful surroundings can be. I love the ocean and I love winding country roads in equal measure.
On the way back I was thinking about Chrissie Wellington again and it struck me that she also said make sure that you smile and enjoy this journey. I realised that I was smiling on the bike and quite often I do. I just bike around actually smiling away to myself. Ha. I thought about lightening up too. There is a saying I love and it’s when you begin by saying..” that awkward moment when…”so for today and in the spirit of lightening up. There was that awkward moment when I grabbed the aero bars on a steep descent. There was another one when I rode straight in to the middle of roundabout and how about another one when I found a bra hanging from my bike on the way out of the door this morning. Or even when I walked in to Tesco’s and realising I needed more recovery before food shopping , I grabbed a chocolate milk out of the cold cabinet and drank it down in one only to realise a couple where looking at me askance. Good to just acknowledge one’s utter un coolness in the midst of this very serious endeavour of mine. Let’s face it I am never going to run from the water in to T1 my whole life whilst elegantly stripping off my wetsuit as I prance past everyone. I will be the one rolling around on the ground with my legs stuck trying to rip the thing off.
There was a more serious moment today on the run. It was on the way back and I just was a little tired so I thought why you don’t practise what you used to do when you were training properly, thinking thoughts that help push you on. Last night in an email to Shu, I said that I will body mark myself with a name of someone you choose and swim, bike and run with them on my body. It made me think that all of this has started to become an obligation to others now. With every promise I make and every bit of love and friendship I receive it is creating an obligation now that I really do try my best. Not be perfect but that I really do try. I thought about Sherlyn too, the little girl in Africa. I imagined her on my back and that I needed to run holding her. The thought of that extra weight actually lightened my step. Then on the final small incline before the end of my run as I fought the wind I just said to myself over and over again "yes you can". As practise you see for when all of those images, obligations and chants will really count.
I really am surrounded by great people though. Annemieke Janssen’s a fellow leader tweeted some lovely encouraging words today and I thought about her and the presentation she gave to us all in Austin Texas about her work as a LIVESTRONG Leader in her own country. The genuine love and passion she has for what she does and how she keeps it very simple the way she gives back, she works hard but she keeps it simple.
Laura my dear friend came around this evening armed with massive baked spuds and various salads. I met her partner for the first time and it was a lovely evening. She seems very happy and they were very cute together. It made me think about not sharing my life with anyone but yet being lucky now that I have people orbiting me that offer me friendship and support in so many ways. I was also able to acknowledge that I have had a really hard time and that it is true that there is pain we choose in life as a way to give back and also help us feel empowered, alive and in control in a positive way. But there can also be pain we keep recreating in different ways that is not so positive and it can be a way to hold us back and not allow ourselves to step in to a new life, so we can fully believe that things are different and there is always the possibility for better, happier and easier. So yes there is the pain that is healthy and the pain that is not so.
I have no answers. I realised that tonight. I have absolutely no answers and all I have right now are certain commitments and as Laura said tonight to me, Vanessa it will unfold, what is supposed to happen next will unfold. I looked at a YouTube video of the start of the Iron man France Swim and it looked truly awful. I have spent so long now waxing lyrical about the magic of that sight like none other of an Iron man swim start, the still waters coming alive with a churning mass of humanity splaying out across the water. Well tonight it just looked awful. I also realised that I would have to be one of the last people to shuffle in to the water and that it will be a long slow road stretching out across that water in front of me, not for me that swirling mass of shared energy. That was a sobering thought but yet a realistic one also.
So I worry about my swim, bike and run being swiped away again, but yet all we actually have is right now and if we just keep saying" I can " over and over again one just has to hope that the road keeps on unfolding up ahead whether its ones we have to swim, bike and run on or the one that lead us on through our daily lives.