59 is not 60!

I gasp a couple of breaths trying to slow down my HR before the next rep. The clock poolside counts down. 57, 58, 59 and they are off!

I see them in my periphery only but they take me by surprise. “Is 59 the new 60?” I wonder. Time to put down the pain. New PB’s are recorded by some.

False records inflate the ego for a while but you will be found out. You can lie to yourself for a while but the truth will shine through. Unless you put in the hard yards you will eventually be found out. By others, By yourself.

Go to Pinterest and load your wall with motivation if you have to. But do the hard yards.

A few months earlier I was riding along and suddenly there was a scream. Self inflicted carnage on the road all around. Girls lying in the ditch, team mates stationary while we should be chasing the clock. I wonder where is your commitment? Too late to ask questions. We can just do the best we all can as a group.

I am not a natural

My first cricket practice ended with my coach tying a stick to my arm to try keep it straight while attempting to make me resemble a bowler. Batting practice ended with a black eye on my part a few days later. I never liked wearing white kit and ball boxes anyway. And smashing the hard ball on my bat sent vibrations all the way into my head. Not for me I thought.

Years later compulsory team sport ended in the last hockey team. I was positioned somewhere well out of harm’s way. I can’t recall too many matches that we played let alone won.

I did athletics in summer. After a few seasons Coach encouraged me to do the 3000m walk as there seemed to be some chance of success here (probably due to the lack of any competition what so ever). I still came last and my body hurt for days, like never before.

We chose cross country in winter. Not because we were athletes with any potential but because training was on a Tuesday and Thursday and that would not interfere with our climbing, And I figured that running was the best training we could do for climbing.

I romanticised about mountaineering. Looking back and tracing the route of our ascent on the blank canvas. The first few times I went out I immediately lived my dream. I was no natural though. Fear of imminent death and adrenalin combined to keep me alive. Somehow. I stuck with it not because I was good but because it was a challenge and I hoped to progress. I was committed and could not imagine a life without climbing. Slowly I improved. I devoured literature, watched and learnt. Every level of competence was challenged again and again. I travelled to the Cederberg first, then Namibia, Europe, the big walls. Each step climbing higher, building.

A few years ago I could not swim a length of a pool. I wanted to do a triathlon so I had to learn. There are no shortcuts. At some point you have to put your face in the water and go through the discomfort and either you come out the other side better or you don’t. No shame in either just be honest with what you call it.

Above all else don’t cheat yourself.

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