Sunday, August 14, 2011

New beginning, again and again

At the end of a race, after I've left it all on the course - my energy, my sweat, my tears, my blood, vomit, whatever else - I often find myself saying... "Holy crap! I'm not sure I'll do that again!"

The pain I take as a sign that I've really raced to the limits of my ability, and accomplished all I was capable of. Despite the doubts it engenders, I always know, somewhere in the back of my mind, that I'll be back. I sense that once the energy returns and I've analyzed my performance, and diagnosed the limiting factors; be they nutrition, condition, strategy, weather, or some combination, the desire to make forward strides and fine-tune my goals wins out.

Soon I find myself planning the next race, and thinking about how I can train to improve on the weaknesses the most recent race experience has revealed. The greater the distance and immediacy from the physical aftermath of an all-out effort, the less I am lost in the subjective quagmire of mixed emotions that physical exhaustion brings about, and the more objectively I view the experience. The less I see the pain, the more I see the potential for future gains. The less I feel the tearing down, and the more I sense the building up.

And the more I want to do it again and again.

Once the pain and exhaustion of the race finish fade, the optimism for the next race begins to rise from it's ashes... I am the phoenix... YOU are the phoenix.

Use your pain to get better.

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