Confidence Tempura

Posted: August 28, 2011 in Motivation
Tags: , ,

When I raced the Welland Half Iron event back in June, I was ready; in fact, I was more than ready. I was ready to rip into the course like a hungry lion and devour everything (and everyone) in my path.  I was eager to go, excited and determined.  I wanted to do well and I was more than confident that I would, maybe even a little bit cocky.  In short, I was ready to ‘kill it’.  However, with the Cancun 70.3 event looming over me (only another 21 days), I’m struggling to find that same grit and determination.

For reasons I won’t get into again, August has proven to be a very difficult month and I’ve been struggling to find that same motivation that I had earlier in the season.  Each time I showed up to the starting line, I had a purpose and a goal in mind to motivate me along the course.  There was a drive and determination.  This time, well, I’m still trying to find that motivation; that particular something in which to inspire me.

I’ve been reading inspirational books by inspirational people like Marshal Ulrich’s Running on Empty, Chris McCormick’s I’m Here to Win’, Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air’, and even The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu; but all to little or no avail.  Man, I haven’t read this much since my university days (and even then, probably not so much).  I’ve spent a lot of time going through and recounting all my training journals and even went so far as to calculate out all the mileage I have accomplished this year (and last), both running and cycling, not to mention the amount of time I’ve spent in the pool, as a means of recouping some lost sense of accomplishment – nada.  Both my friends and TryForce teammates have been (and continue to be) both supporting and encouraging in my endeavor, but still, nope, nothing.  If anything, I feel like I’ve been sinking into this pit of despair and I’m scared out of my mind, so much so, that I’ve even made an appointment with a councilor through work in the hopes that, maybe, they can help sort out some of these negative thoughts rattling around inside this pea brain of mine but, truthfully, I don’t have much faith there either.

Confidence level dropping…  Shit.

But then, suddenly – finally – a moment of clarity came yesterday during an impromptu evening out with friends.  Hey, as it turns out, sometimes inspiration comes looking for you.

I started running with Colette just over two years ago as she began training for her first triathlon, and I was starting to toy with the idea about competing in Iron distance events.  We originally went to high school together eons ago, but we didn’t really know one another back then.  We were reintroduced through another random friend through the magical world of Facebook and, voila, instant training partners.  Our runs weren’t very long back then, or difficult for that matter (well, everything is subjective in hindsight, right?), but we forged a new friendship based on mutual respect for what the other was aiming to accomplish.  Around the same time, Colette also started dating a nice enough guy named, John, for whom I also felt an immediate kinship.  I couldn’t have been happier for the both of them.

Long story short, John and Colette moved to the remote reservation of Pukatawagan, located in Northern Manitoba this past year so Colette could pursue teaching opportunities there.  Certainly a huge risk and no easy task as it turns out.  And as sad as I was to loose a training partner (Lord knows I don’t make friends easily), I was excited about their adventure together and genuinely looked forward to seeing them again when they returned home again this summer; and that opportunity came last night.  To make matters even more exciting, they were recently married in a family ceremony only a few short weeks ago.  Awesome, right?

During several courses of sushi, we regaled one another with tales from this past year; me about my continued training and races, and they about the rigors of up and moving to the middle of nowhere.  However, one thing was very evident throughout the entire conversation: they were both very happy together.

Now, one might think that someone dealing with feelings of despair and loneliness (as I am) wouldn’t really enjoy hanging out with people so clearly high on life but, you know, they’d be wrong – myself included. The more we talked (and ate) the more I reflected back to those early runs with Colette and about how far we’ve both come since then.  Hey, it’s only been a little over two years which is but a mere drop in the bucket time-wise!  She’s now a beautiful newlywed working in her field despite countless obstacles and is already looking forward to having children of her own, and I have two completed Half Iron distance competitions under my belt and getting set for my third and most significant of them all.  Hmm.

It also got me thinking about myself.  Since that time, I’ve lost nearly 100 lbs. and have developed a strong muscular frame (if I do say so myself) as well as having improved my overall core strength beyond anything I have ever managed before.  I am able to run faster and further than I ever could and I can cycle for hours on end without need of a break.  And swimming?  Fugetaboutit!

I realized something right then, what am I looking to prove at this point?  What am I so scared of?  I’m doing things I never thought possible, for Christ sake!  Even if I completely blow up on the course and end up crawling to the finish, I should consider myself lucky just to have been able to get that far.  Most people I know may never understand what it takes to get here and therefore never have the opportunity to experience it for themselves.  Maybe instead of looking for motivation elsewhere, I should be looking inward to what I’ve accomplished up to this point in my life and let that carry me instead.  Shit, look at what I can do now!

I should be taking a page from their book and just go with the flow and see how far it takes me.  No expectations, no remorse, and no regrets (it has certainly paid off in huge dividends for them).  Simply enjoy the experience for what it is and take pride in the hard work that it took to get me here instead of worrying about what might, or might not happen.  Or, like that annoying dipshit Bryan McFerrin once said: Don’t worry, be happy”.  Maybe I’ll do well and all this fretting will have been for naught, or maybe I’ll not do so well but will have learned a valuable lesson in preparing for next years challenge.  Either way, I’ll be Winning.

So thank you, John and Colette.  I think you may have inadvertently helped me find something within myself that I either dropped or somehow lost along the way during these past few weeks.  Come September 17th, I will fondly recall those runs together last autumn and take pride in all our accomplishments over this past year, and when the going gets tough I will use those to drive me forward, hopefully, with that same huge smile on my face that you both shared with me last night.

Confidence level rising…  (thank god!)

My sincerest best wishes to you both for continued success and eternal happiness together and, although I know I don’t need to ask…wish me luck.

  1. Robin says:

    LOVE this post, Terry! And I couldn’t agree more – every time I feel like I’m being crushed by school, I try to remember that I’m just ridiculously lucky to have the opportunity to be here doing what I’m doing. When all your focus is bent on seeing how far you can push your limits, things can seem like they only move millimeters at a time – and it’s tough to remember all those miles and miles you’ve come since your journey began.

    From a fellow motivational book reader, I got a good chuckle out of your reading selections. May I offer a few more titles? Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl; Feeding the Rat – A. Alvarez; The Human Condition – H. Arendt

    Enjoy and keep on doing what you’re doing because, even if you briefly lose your own motivation, your actions never cease to stop motivating and inspiring others.

  2. mom says:

    Eureka!!! You have seen the LIGHT! Nothing can hold you back from your goal! Whatever happens in the race,you will be over the moon, just for being there.

    • Cathy says:

      First, can I tell you that Sept. 17th is my birthday~~…enuf said – this is Race Mom!!
      You have the ingredients for success in your body – the formula for success manifests your world..every experience is a success….everywhere you go success follows….you go from success to success….each being a stepping stone to the next!!

      🙂 Race Mom

  3. Carolyn says:

    Hi Terry, sorry I’ve been MIA on the blog comments lately. Life is crazy. But I wanted to tell you how proud of you I am. I can’t believe how far you have come. The best is yet to come. I just read The Practicing Mind and it stresses the importance of focusing on the practice not the goal. It takes a Buddist approach to things without being too hippy-dippy. It tslks how We often make the goal the be all, end all and lose touch with what it takes to get there. Because with deliberate and repeated effort, progress is inevitable! Keep it up my friend!

  4. Thanks for the kind words of inspirations, folks. It’s comforting to know that I have so many friends, both near and far, ready to rally around me when I need them the most. Words will never be able to express my eternal gratitude. I will also look up these book titles as reading has become a new-found interest for me after all these years. Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement, even in dark times. You’re all the best and I’ll think of all while in Cancun…margarita’s are on me.

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