Tuesday, 4 May 2010

I've seen the light...

In fact, not only have seen the light… I can almost touch it!

This morning I enjoyed a really great five hour ride, in the Dales, with my good mate and cycling sensation Guy Willard. We were both after a pretty easy time so the conversation flowed all the way round and the warm Yorkshire sun did it’s best to keep us company and the dark clouds at bay. As we dropped down into Burnsall (home of the finest flapjacks in the world via the subject of today’s photo – credit to Guy) the conversation turned to this blog and thoughts around how it’s documented what has been a pretty special journey. If there’s one thing that I feel we perhaps haven’t captured as vividly as I would have liked it’s the many low points which have been surprisingly frequent on the road to achieving our athletic dreams… a road which has so often taken us outside of anything remotely resembling a comfort zone.

Whenever I’ve been in the midst of these dark times the last thing on my mind has been to tell the world… partly because I don’t want people to think I’m looking for some kind of sympathy or attention, but largely because, at the time, I don’t particularly feel like writing about it. Quite often I’ve sat there deep in thought, wondering why I seem so determined to take myself to the edge of sanity again and again... the idea of capturing the moment through a quick video diary has flashed through my mind… then quickly passed out the other ear, only to re-surface at a later date when all is once again well in the world and the moment has been lost forever.

Why do I feel that it’s so important to get my somewhat depressing message across? The thing is, as with lots of difficult and challenging times in life, we so often sweep the tough stuff under the carpet in order to paint a rosy picture of how amazing everything is. Now, I’m all for a little positivity from time to time but it’s a fact of life that pretty much anyone who has ever achieved something special has equally been through periods of doubt and despair. In fact, I’d go as far as suggesting that there would be a strong relationship between achievement and ‘challenge’… delve deep enough into the history of your most inspirational heroes and I’ll bet you anything that they’ve experienced lows that you or I could only dream of.  The problem if we don’t talk about these times in our lives is that when we find ourselves in the depths of despair we feel like it’s only us, it’s something we’re doing wrong and that the best course of action would probably be to give up on our ‘unrealistic’ dreams… after all,  Kelly Holmes, Steve Redgrave or Paula Radcliffe never had a bad day … right?

So, I have two challenges for you, assuming you’ve set yourself the target of achieving something amazing (note: anything – it’s your dream not mine – but if you do one thing in life, do something amazing)… when the going gets tough and you feel like throwing in the towel tell as many people as you think will listen, let them know that it’s completely normal, you’re not doing anything wrong and that with the right support and positive re-enforcement you WILL get there. Secondly, if someone confides in you with their own trials and tribulations then believe in them, support them and take inspiration from another person putting themselves on the line and challenging their dreams.

Life… if it was easy they’d all be doing it ;)


p.s. Thirteen of the sixteen weeks down and I’m still bang on target with 208 hours deposited in the cycling bank. With three weeks to go I’ve got through the two weeks either side of the marathon, which I knew would be hardest, and only have the small matter of my traditional ‘mega-brick’ (five hour hilly ride followed by a 20 mile run) next Sunday (9th May) before we're off for some fun in the sun. The last three weeks have been by far the most challenging of my life and contained the appropriate number of ‘lows’ but with just one blog left before landing in Lanza… I just may have seen the light ;)


Ben G said...

Really great post. Too right you've seen the light, it's a bloody bright one shinning in the streets of Puerto del Carmen waiting for you to nail the race of your life!! Another great week done and another one coming up...

Jevon said...

all true mate.
No light without shade
No yin without yang
No happy without sad

Go finish it off

Donna said...

I couldn't agree more. I wish I was headed to Lanza to cheer you on in person, but rest assured I will be next to the PC waiting for tweet updates, screaming along.

Tom Newman said...

Mate....awesome. Really looking forward to catching up in Lanza - let me know when you get out (im staying in Tias from Sat 15th). Train smart the next couple weeks and Kona Q is a formality :) Bring it on!!!!

lord_lordy said...

You're so close now. REALLY think about what this mega brick is going to achieve. You are fit why test it now and risk knocking yourself for six. If you must do it my suggestion would be shorten the run and only aim to run the last 5km hard. This will test your ability to run fast when tired without killing yourself.
Your race is on May 22nd not this coming saturday.

Tom said...

Hi folks,

Thanks so much for your great comments and amazing support. I'm afraid I've been focused on this mega brick since the moment I finished the same session last year... whether or not it's the right thing to do, I need to do it for me. That's quite difficult to explain but it's simply something that I have to do. Maybe it'll break me, but maybe it will make me... we'll know in a little over two week ;)


Tom Newman said...

Look forward to seeing a photo like you did last year showing the calories to be consumed :) Good luck with it and may it fill you with confidence ;)