It’s a busy time in the MEC camp with a number of athletes hitting the pointy end of their Cairns preparations as well as two very strong and unique athletes taking on the Ultraman in Noosa.
Now I’m not singing before it is over, as both the UM crew and Cairns athletes still have work to be done. What can be noted now though without questions is that it is at these points in events and training where things get real and the mind can start to race with doubts. The ‘three quarter mark’ as I think it, is the bit where you have come this far it doesn’t make sense to quit yet you still seemingly feel far away. The temptation might be to cruise it in, to rest on ones laurels to date, the ‘I’ve done a good job to date’ so near enough is good enough. Or you may be the one that gets to that point and then begins the ‘I’m not good enough self-talk’ and begin to feed that thought more and more until the whole experience is nothing but unpleasant.
Whatever happens at the ¾ mark for you and whatever the goal you started out with, know that the hard fought battle will always bring more satisfaction that the easy walk over victory. Having now coached enough years to build a perspective and what separates those who ‘succeed’ I can honestly say it is as simple as someone who wishes to get the absolute best out of themselves. I say simply however to continually ask oneself ‘do I have more to give’ especially under a cloud of fatigue and doubt, I’ve found to be a difficult thing for most. See when things get hard, justifications can start to come out as to why this is the limit. The ones who hold themselves to the moral obligation to always put forward their best seldom fail as they can only be shaped to be stronger.
This is not a phenomenon for certain people or demographics. I’ve seen it in every level I’ve coached since I started coaching 14 years ago. My first experience observing this in people came in my first ever coaching job, teaching swimming to kids 6 and under. A 3 year old I taught ended up swimming a full 25m length by the end of the summer. She would just swim until she reached the other end. No stopping to overthink along the way when you are 3!
People get caught up comparing with others and will be harder on themselves on this, rather than holding themselves to their own very best. Holding yourself to your own best requires far more discipline. Many people will take the soft option and so long as no one is around to witness are happy being mediocre.
Two of the finest examples I have ever had the pleasure of working with have just completed their 2nd day of the Ultraman. It is not the event or its distance that is impressive to me but where these two have come from and something that all in MEC and the triathlon community can look to as an example of giving ones absolute best. The stories from where both Trav and Donia have come may come in a later writing but those who know them very well, seeing them do what they are at the moment makes you look at yourself and ask, am I putting in that much effort to achieve what I want?
So hold strong for those finishing your prep and all the very best to Neo and the chief Ladybug for a victory lap tomorrow in Noosa.