“Dura ma bella” – Tough but beautiful
Those three Italian words have summed up endurance perfectly. Not just the locations of these events, but the actual physical and mental toughness required to complete the challenge.
Many don’t understand it. Why, WHY would you want to wear a wetsuit and get up at 4am to go swim in some swan shit and then sit on a fucking hideous contraption that you’re clipped to and that tries to kill you repeatedly and then OH GOD YOU HAVE TO RUN HOW FAR???
I see your point.
But to me, endurance isn’t about the “Main Event” as such. The event itself is basically just the lap of honour. The culmination of months, and sometimes years of hard work, grit and determination is what I love the most. It’s the same for any pursuit that you choose to follow, really. I suppose it doesn’t matter which sport you participate in, it’s all about overcoming fear, pushing yourself to be a stronger person physically and mentally, and about achieving something that not many others can, have or will.
My training is taking part in one of the most beautiful parts of Scotland which is inspirational in itself. I am lucky it’s so flat here, although I will need to find some hills, as Kenmore and Aberfeldy are in the Highlands… bit hillier than The Bit Near Fife. It will be tough, obviously. But months of training and practice and that so-called grit should hopefully get me there and finished.
So. What’s brought this on?
This week, I have been mostly motivating my ass. This has involved hours poring over YouTube videos of traithlons.
Below is a link to one of my favourites so far: Swissman 2014
Nails. That is all.
Previously I have blogged about why I do all this rubbish (But Why?) however, I’ve rarely sat down and thought about what truly inspires me. Or who inspires me, for that matter. Who keeps me going when the shit hits the fan? Or the rain is hitting my face so hard it’s like being stabbed by tiny knives? Or when my right quad seizes 6 miles into a 14 mile ride and I have to pedal, one-legged, up a hill that hates me on a bike that doesn’t fit me, with 8 cars behind me.
The answer? Many things and many people:
My brave, stoic, hilarious mum. She kicked cancer’s ass and works hard looking after people and is one of the nicest human beings you will ever meet. My brilliantly intelligent dad who looks after all of his girls and gave me my inquisitive (and stubborn) nature. My not-so-baby sister who said “bugger it” to having a boring desk-job and went in search of her dream job. There is nothing easy about starting again. And nothing easy about veterinary nursing!
My other half. Who has spent the last 10 days rebuilding a car. (In addition to mine which is currently on a continuous it’s fucked-it’s fixed cycle) He does that a lot. He is also helping me build my bike, along with his dad. He is one of the most patient people I’ve ever met. And I’ve done my bit to test that over the last 7 years… The calm to my storm. (Not ever ever the cause of the storm in the first place… nope….never…)
My friends are better than yours. This is a simple fact. I love each of their beautiful wee faces tremendously. They pull me up when I’m sad, make me laugh so much I want to puke (and occasionally do) and each one of them is ridiculously talented and wonderful. Not to mention, they are supportive as hell.
I am very lucky to have been welcomed with open arms into Coach’s team. Team Painless is a silly, wonderful place. And it’s choc-full of talented, inspiring individuals. We each have our own disciplines and goals and achievements. But we all share the same passion and enthusiasm and everyone is supportive of each other. That’s a lovely thing. The creator of this, of course, is Jonathan Pain. Coach. Boss. Who encourages us all to interact and be nice. It’s fun. Jonny is inspiring in himself, having achieved so much and done it all with grace and pride and a genuine love of what he does. Serious respect.
My twitter account overflows with athletes too. Pro’s and “normal folk” like me who are just trying to push themselves out of their comfort zone a little. This is a brilliant thing. The encouragement I’ve had through twitter has been amazing. Not to mention the tips, inside info and pointers on kit that have prevented me from making some pretty catastrophic mistakes. I’ve met friends for life, here. For sure.
Too many gone too soon. I often think of them when I’m out running or cycling alone. What they’d be doing with their lives now we’re all technically “grown-ups”. Would they be parents now? Would they have found someone to spend their lives with? What would they look like as late twenty-somethings and early-thirtysomethings. It’s so unfair that I get to do these things and they don’t. So I make the most of the legs I have and the ambition that I’ve got. For them.
Ooooh she’s a cocky one, in’t she?
Not really. If I’m having a particularly shite week, or have found myself on the physio’s table yet again, I just think back to where I was before and how far I’ve pushed myself and what I’ve achieved, and I know that it’ll all be ok in the end.
I know I can do this. I do. Nothing is ever impossible. On August 16th, I hope to complete my first ever Triathlon. 70.3 miles. That’s a chuffing long way.
Why, you ask?
Because I can.