I recognised the anxiety straight away
The nervousness. The slight hurry in everybody’s step. The frantic darting looks for the loo. The anticipation. I was surprised to find them so strong, so overwhelming and I had not missed them in two years.
Sunday morning I stood at the start of the Hohenhort 15km road race. In fact this was probably the last race I did many moons ago. How would it feel this time around?
The loop through the leafy suburb is a funny one, lots of hills and twists and turns. I started way back in the field. I was not here to race just to do a long run and see how things went.
At the end we had come full circle, back to where we came from under two hours ago and back to where I was years previously. What changed?
Certainly the streets were the same. Many fellow runners seemed the same (though I enjoyed running with three folks I don’t often have a chance to run with) it was I who had changed, I had come full circle.
I realised that this was more true than a linear progression we like to believe in. I was back where I had been before, well almost. But yet I felt different.
I had grown. I wondered about how many New Years resolutions had been swept under the bed already. How many dreams had been given up? Unreachable.
How it all seemed so impossible. Impossibly hard.
If these cycles were true then maybe our approach to achieving goals should be different from our linear approach. If the finish line is back at the start then what is the point.
Well that is the point exactly.
Maybe we can look rather at the next micro cycle and see “What I can I do today?”
“What can I achieve today, that maybe I could not do yesterday?” or
“Can I do something slightly better today than I did it yesterday?”
Because I know I will be back at the start tomorrow and the next day and the next. I can start again.
But start I must.
I am reading Chris Froome’s book right now. The hours and days he spends by himself turning the wheels. Again and again. Each one building. Unraveling the carpet until it gets easier. Until it builds momentum.
But starting the momentum going is not easy.
Our brain wants short term gain for long time sacrifice. We need the equation to go the other way around. This is true in all areas in our lives. Diet, exercise, career, self discipline.
Sunday I ducked under the tape in the finish chute before we got to the coke. I felt no need to replenish what I had not lost.
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
I actually don’t need that much when I know I am coming back to the start. Day after day, week after week, 23 day cycle after 23 day cycle.
(A couple of nights before I did not sleep very well. It was full moon. Lunatic.)
The transition to the New Year has had its bumps. Too much compromise, too much eating other people’s snacks.
“It is not what we eat between Christmas and New Year that makes us, it is what we eat between New Year and Christmas that makes the difference.” said my wife.
And so I set myself a challenge of 33 days to eat clean. 100% clean. No deviation. I falter, I start again. Simple. I am keeping a log. It is not the only thing I am keeping a log of.
A record, a record of honesty. Of where I am. When I know where I am I can build. Slowly.
Slowly build momentum.