I have a few things to start with this week. Firstly, (it has become a bit of a habit), I need to ask for your forgiveness because I have been sooooo slack with getting this posts out as frequently as I used to. I love writing for my site and moving forward I need to get back into the habit of doing it for my own mental health. Secondly, I need to ask a favour of you. You! Yes, you! The person out in Internet land who has stumbled across my site and is reading what I have written. I need you to listen to me,. I need you to be a person who I can talk to (or write to at least) about what is going on. I don’t have a shrink to turn to, I can't talk to the people I am closest with because we are all going through it together. So random unknown Internet person, I am relying on you today to get this stuff off my chest.
On January 1st I received some of the worst news imaginable. My Grandad’s prostate cancer, which has been an ongoing battle since 2000 was back and this time there was nothing we could do to stop it. I am not sure why, but I often feel a bit guilty about how upset I am about this. For that reason I feel the need to explain that my Grandad is pretty much the greatest man who has ever lived. He has been central to my life as long as I can remember. He has been more than a Grandfather. He has taught me most of the lessons that are central to who I am as a person. He has been there for some of the best and worst experiences of my life. He has been that one person in the whole world I could talk to when I didn’t know what to do, where to look or if things were going to work out for the best. He is quite literally the voice in my head that tells me right from wrong and writing this stuff down is breaking my heart.
So yeah, January 1st I found out that his remaining time on this planet is limited. Was I surprised? Not really. He has been deteriorating over the last 12 months and I think we all knew something wasn't quite right. It was however a massive shock to learn just how little time we have left. I mean look, ultimately we are all going to die and I know that my Grandad being 80 means it is sooner rather than later. I just think that the human mind is very skilled and avoiding the things we don't want to think about. The news that he had a huge tumour that was taking over his kidneys, liver and was inoperable certainly forced me to deal with it. I also know that I am extremely lucky for this time. Many people lose loved ones with no notice. They are taking away suddenly, and people don't get the chance to make their peace, say goodbye or all the things they want to. For that I assure you I am eternally grateful. The problem is that this news has had serious ramifications on the rest of my life.
Here we go, back to sport now. I had a race in January and I think it is probably the only time that I have done a race and not written a race report about it. To fix that glitch I will summarise the race now. It was hard, I was sad and didn't want to do it. My mind kept going to my Grandad and I couldn’t push myself to the normal level. I finished and cried and was disgusted with the piss weak performance I put in. There you go. That sums up the race. The positives from the race were that I knew my mind wasn't in it. I knew I was distracted and not able to train or race properly. I decided I needed a break. I took 3 weeks off training and spent the time travelling between home and my Mum’s place to spend as much time with my Grandad as possible. I am extremely grateful for that time and I have some memories already that I will cherish forever. I also used the time to really focus on my new job, running Team MaccaX.
I know that taking the break was the right choice because I did not miss training at all for probably 2 weeks. I was so happy not training that part of me started to get scared that I wouldn’t miss it at all. I was relieved when I went to watch my wife run Park Run a few weeks ago and I was actually really jealous I wasn't out there running myself. I made the most of my last week off and decided to try a new approach to my training and racing this year. I was going to learn to be patient. To spend more time training and pick some shorter races at the start of the year to try and build some speed. My 4:05 70.3 is absolutely my number one goal and will be until I eventually get there. Then last weekend we recorded an amazing episode of my podcast, Think Fit (mandatory subtle plug that isn’t so subtle) with Brett Robbo. We were talking about overcoming adversity. One of the best things we discussed was the power of words, two words in particular. I AM.
This really struck a chord with me because 12 months ago without a doubt in my mind, My attitude was “I AM going 4:05.” Then after some less than stellar performances I slowly started to think “I SHOULD go 4:05” and then I realised I had ended up at “IS IT POSSIBLE to go 4:05.” Great, I had worked out that I had experienced a massive loss of confidence and in life, the first step is to admit that you have a problem. Tick box, done. The next step is to try and correct the issue. Now here is where I link this back to all the stuff I said at the start. No matter how much I am trying to convince myself that “I AM going to go 4:05” if I am really honest, I cannot get past ‘DOES IT MATTER if I go 4:05?”
Here is my struggle. I am struggling to get my motivation and focus back. I don't want to take time off from my sport. I really love it. My training gives me a sense of structure to my life that I find comforting. It also provides me with a distraction from everything else that is going on in my life. But how do I go about getting my frame of mind back to a point where I believe that not only am I going to accomplish my biggest ever goal. But also, that it is a goal worth pursuing? I have been seriously considering seeing a sports psychologist about this. I am also completing a Mental Strength program at the moment too. I just need to get myself back to believing that I can do this.
I kind of look at writing this as the first step, I even took a break just then to write on the blackboard in my kitchen ‘I AM GOING 4:05” so hopefully that helps too. I really think that by focusing on all of the negative things that are happening at the moment I am simply prolonging my own suffering. There will be a time to be sad, It doesn't have to be now. So if anyone else out there has dealt with these sort of struggles or difficulties, or knows someone that I could talk to please let me know. I have always thought that one of my biggest strengths was my optimistic attitude to goals. That belief is really being tested at the moment and I don't like it.
So there you go, a bit of a confession, a bit of a chance for me to get my concerns off my chest, a bit of a cry for help. However you want to look at it. To me, it is the first step in the process of getting myself on the correct path. If you have gotten to the bottom of this, I want to say a huge thank you. Thanks for doing me the favour of being someone I could get this off my chest to. It really does make a difference.
So on that note, I will leave you for another post with a promise that I will get better at this. I am not saying I will always write as long or that I even know what I am going to write about. But I promise you it will be honest.
Thanks for listening, focus on the positive and remember to TRI!
I lost 50kgs though triathlon and completed the 2016 70.3 World Championships. Aiming to hit 4:05 for a 70.3, the same time it took me to complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon. I want to bring as many new people to the sport as possible. Whether you are fit and active or want to make positive changes to your life.