T-28 Endurance comes from Perseverance not Perfection
I am reliably informed by the various people in my life who have young children that they go through development leaps, sometimes called Wonder Weeks. I am also informed that these periods are somewhat turbulent and unsettled for everyone in close proximity to the leapee. I feel like this week has been a Wonder Week - emotionally turbulent, unsettling but a leap of emotional growth. I learnt this week the insidiousness of self-sabotage and I learnt the value of asking for help.
The Insidiousness of Self-Sabotage
Somewhere, somehow, at some point during the last 20+ years, I’ve made a set of decisions to attempt to mitigate an obsessive fear of failure by exerting an increasing amount of control over any variable within my grasp of influence. This has equated to tightening set parameters around my comfort zone which, upon reflection, has shrunk said comfort zone as each rogue variable was brought under control. I think I’ve become so well practiced at eliminating any possibility of failure that I have inadvertently and conversely eliminated my opportunities for success. So this week has been a painful lesson in just how a practiced behaviour that has been successfully embedded into your psyche can derail a desire for change.
My training has been going very well over the last few weeks: the intensity has stepped up and so has my fitness and endurance. I have legitimately started to believe that I can achieve the Taupo goal of finishing a half ironman - I’m easily swimming the distance, I can do the cycling distance, I’m stringing together 3+ hour brick sessions and my running is continue to improve. Its at the stage where if I were to “race” tomorrow, I might probably be able to finish. It wouldn’t be pretty but we’re not interested in pretty as much as we are in completion.
I had a great brick session on Tuesday with a solid hour on the wind trainer and a half hour run at pace so the weekend came as a shock. It was a weekend where my motivation, my ambition and my focus went on a very sudden and unplanned excursion to Procrastination Saturday and Double Down Sunday and no scheduled training was completed. There was no reason for it: I was generally tired, but not excessively, all gear was present and prepared, the weather was nice and asides from watching an election, nothing was planned for the weekend. The working theory, after a good deal of soul searching and discussion, is that as the possibility of achievement starts to manifest, so grows the realisation that we are traversing further outside a comfortable emotional space and so a set of behaviours kicks in to induce a retreat along a well-worn path of sealing the exits with a chant of ‘You can’t fail if you don’t try’.
Activating a support network
So after that weekend, queue the Monday meltdown and descent into the guilt swamp. This is also a familiar path and it didn’t take any special psychic powers to see the likely outcome. The difference this time is that I asked for help. I found this incredibly hard - I don’t like asking for help. Not from anyone. And I’ve had a good deal of practice at avoiding it at all costs. But I could feel my Taupo dream sliding out of my grasp, and that scared me more than the asking for help does. And so this week, I got to learn just how potent a support network can be, how sharing the terror mitigates it, how shame can be replaced with acceptance and how optimism can be renewed. I know that from this single weekend, this single experience, Taupo is more possible than if I had actually sailed through the training because I’ve started to exercise a set of mental and emotional muscles that I’m going to have to use again and again in the next 7 months. There’s a proverb along the lines that you can go fast alone or further together. Taupo is about endurance and going further so accepting that I am going to need help to get there feels like a pivotal moment that I need to keep repeating.
TSS: Dreaming of 700-1000 - in the spirit of positivity, I achieved 217 even without the weekend sessions which are usually ~half my weekly training load
CTL: Continuing to inch towards 80-115 with a score of 33 this week
Due to popular demand, Antoine’s Content Corner is returning with succinct, sometimes witty, observations from the sidelines of my endeavours.
The missus finishing her ride-run reminded me of my peace lily plant - it needs water.
Quote of the Week
Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.