I had this epiphany in the water the other day. I went to the pool knowing my plan for the day. I was going to swim 100 laps. (Because my focus in 2012 is on sprint triathlons, I haven’t been swimming distance, and I kind of missed it. As the days draw closer to Barb’s Race, I am feeling nostalgic about my half Ironman training and kind of wish I was doing it again this year.) ANYWAY, I was on lap five and as I approached the wall to turn around I thought (with a little dread), “five down…95 more to go.” And, with this one tiny thought…by simply uttering these six words, I felt myself slow down. Suddenly the water felt harder to swim through and there was this feeling of dread about the distance I had left to swim – as though I was never going to get to that 100th lap.
This feeling of “I have so far to still go” lasted for about two laps and then I realized I was weighing myself down – not in body, but in mind. As Carrie Cheadle would say, I was “feeding the monster”. I was letting the monster weigh upon my back, making me doubt my ability to finish the swim, making me forget how much I now enjoy swimming and how much I was looking forward to that swim. And, once I made this realization, and let the negative feeling go, I could feel myself become more buoyant; I could feel my stroke and kick become stronger; I could feel myself smiling in the water…I had fought off the monster and the next thing I knew, I was thinking to myself, “95 down…five more to go.”
This moment made me think of all the other times in my life that I focused on the end rather than just let myself be in the moment. This moment also made me think of something I sent to my friend before her Ironman triathlon: “Remember to enjoy and cherish every moment. Any pain you feel will be temporary, but your memories of that day will last a lifetime!” I try to remind my athletes of this at the beginning of any event, and what is funny, is that I remember this whenever I am competing. However, I forget that training – the runs, rides and swims that lead to said event matter just as much, if not more. I should cherish every pedal stroke, every lap and every mile my feet carry me because they are just as an important part of my journey as an athlete as the actual event, and maybe even more.
When reading I take it one chapter at a time and am never concerned about the length of the book. In Weight Watchers I try to take it one meal at a time – one day at a time – one moment at a time. Sometimes I let the monster take over and I feel a little bit of discontent with where I am in my journey – “This book is taking so long.” “I can’t believe I STILL have weight to lose.” Whatever it may be…I forget to look at where my journey began, how far I have come and what I can do today.
I realize how cliche it is to say “life is about the journey that the destination” but I think that it often needs repeating. We move through life looking at the end gain and often forget to just stop and take in the moment. Yes, finishing a 13 mile run is invigorating and satisfying, but it can really weigh a person down if all they do during the run is tick off the miles LEFT to go, rather than looking at how far they have come, but also where they are right at that moment because it is that moment that matters, not the finish line.