It amazes me the range of experiences, emotions, and feelings that I have over the course of a training session or a race. Whether it is swimming, biking, or running, I always experience fluctuations in how I feel and my way of thinking, which leads to changes in my overall experience. While biking for example, I might be out on a planned 60 mile group ride. I may start out the ride excited to be moving and to be active with a group of triathletes and cyclists. I could be riding along for 30 miles, feeling strong, when all of a sudden the wind changes direction. Now I could be cycling directly into the wind, which is never a pleasant experience. Then, just a few miles later, I might make a turn and all of a sudden be cycling with the wind at my back, feeling like I am floating along and as if cycling seemed effortless. While out for a long run, a short hill might cause me to notice a changing sensation in my legs and a more labored breath, whereas while swimming, I may notice subtle changes in my stroke and the effects that it has on my level of comfort while in the water. During a race, there will be moments where I feel comfortable and at ease and there will most certainly be moments where I feel uncomfortable and feel as though I want to give up.
As I sit back and think about this concept, the concept that there is and always will be fluctuations in how I feel during a training session or during a race, I can’t help but equate this to my day-to-day experiences outside of training and racing. Everybody experiences this, regardless of whether or not we have stopped to think about it before. As humans, we go through a range of feelings and sensations as we go about our day. We shift back and forth along a continuum of happiness and sadness. We have completely different thoughts and feelings from one minute to another. We all have day-to-day fluctuations in how we feel as well. Some days we feel incredible, while other days we struggle to find the motivation to get out of bed and get started with our day.
I find it interesting that as I go deeper and deeper into my training and racing, that I am becoming better at handling these small, and sometimes large, fluctuations in feelings or emotions. I have come to realize that, much like in a race or during a training session, there will times in my day-to-day life when I feel great and as if things are coming to me with ease, and there will also inevitably be times when I do not feel so great. I am slowly coming to realize the importance of these “low” moments, or the moments when I don’t feel like doing anything or giving my best effort. I have come to accept the fact that this feeling is completely unavoidable and that this type of feeling will pass. Simply acknowledging this fact, that to get anywhere in life, there will be moments in which I struggle, is huge in getting me past them and continuing onwards towards my final destination.
In a training session or during a race, the final destination is the end of the workout or the finish line. However, in life, the final destination might be graduating from school or getting that dream job. It might be starting your own business or publishing the book you have been working on for so long. In order to reach that final destination, you have to be willing to endure the low moments and open to embracing the high moments. It’s a roller coaster of a ride, and it is sometimes hard to accept that the roller coaster has its uphill moments and that it isn’t always going to be an exciting and thrilling downhill coast. I think realizing that fact is what makes pursuing anything difficult in life completely worth it, knowing that you were able to endure and push through the lows while humbly and gracefully accepting the highs, always appreciating that both are required to realize your dream.