‘There’s no comparison to anyone else when you are looking in the mirror’

These last two weeks have been full of mixed emotions. I came back from Zurich full of energy and resolve to correct what had happened in the water to this week feeling very low and demotivated.
I’ve been spending time looking at why I feel this way and how to get out of feeling like this as it is very counter productive and destructive.

I’ve realised it stirred a lot of emotions inside me watching The Captain and Tim finish their triathlons. I was puzzled at what I had done so wrong that I wasn’t able to complete mine. Was I so different from them? What made me so different from them that I choose to stop rather than push on through.

Yesterday was a dark day with these thoughts flying around my head. I thought a run to work and then a lunchtime gym session would help me but all I did in these sessions was prove to myself that my mentality when training needs to change. I kept thinking of how far I had to go and how much everything hurt, at one point those dreaded words crossed my mind ‘am I getting to old for this’. They stayed all day because I entertained them as opposed to quashing them like I normally do.

I researched the mentality of an endurance athlete and asked people close to me what they thought about when training and competing. One blog had an interesting take that as an endurance athlete the last thing you ever look at is the finish, you almost adapt a thought process akin to mindfulness where only the here and now matter. Tim had a good point in that he embraced the pain felt when training and racing. Therefore accepting your current state and working through it rather than ignoring it and denying it.

I needed to find a way to make my thought process to everyday life become the same when training and performing in sport. How could I have mastered dealing with everything life threw at me personally and not even considered my mentality when it comes to something that I can afford to be so selfish in such as sport.

I realised that I am always comparing myself to others and not even people that I am on a par with but people that I have no hope of initially equalling. I was setting myself up to fail. Those words that have been thrown around inside my head for years ‘Self Worth’, reared their ugly head. Just when I thought I was getting to grips with my meek and self-deprecating doppelganger she was alive and well and relishing these last two weeks, happily telling me I was too old, to stop as I was no good, an easy life is a good life. She needed to be put back in her box.

I walked home from Twickenham along the Thames Tow path last night, a beautiful walk, full of nature and tranquillity, an ideal place to sort through my head. As soon as I came to the realisation that it was my self worth holding me back I had that glowing moment of enlightenment in that everything was finally going to be manageable as I had established the root of why I was feeling so low.

Training today was a joy not that it was easy, I still had my internal battles but I felt I could take them on rather than let them own me.
I put in to practise all that I had learnt last night. I swam this morning, whenever I panicked I reminded myself I was in a pool and not a lake and looked at each length rather than what I was hoping to achieve overall. I looked at the time I had finished my 500m in and instantly berated myself that Tim had swam that twice as quick on Sunday, I gave my alter ego a quick slap and stated that if I swam at that pace I would complete the 70.3 swim in under an hour and be within the 1 hour and 10 minutes time cap. The happiness flowed over me.

My gym session at lunch was productive, I took it at my pace and no one else’s, focusing on each exercise rather than what was coming next or how many rounds I had left. Each movement suddenly didn’t seem as draining and I was moving quicker between each exercise rather than relishing the possible rest period. I feel different today, like I can take on the world again.
I feel stronger being like this and I have my sparkle back in my eyes that I had dulled over the last two weeks.

A good friend told me today that sport is a selfish place where you can focus on your own abilities and hone your skills, it may be an obvious statement but I have never said it out loud to myself let alone apply it to my training. Time to be selfish and enjoy it.


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