Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Big Moments and Small Victories

I think the thing I like best about individual sports is the bravery it brings out in people. Whether it's toeing the line at your first Ironman, as my pal John did at Ironman Australia this Sunday (at the age of 68!!!!!), pushing the limits of a long ride as another friend did in training for her first cycling century,  overcoming a lifelong battle with eating disorders, or combating a chronic disease or debilitating injury to come out healthier in the end, a sport like triathlon enables people to find their own best self.

I feel like I'm surrounded by people who each have an incredible story to tell, who have each triumphed over numerous small and large obstacles in their path. The more I get to know them, the more I am impressed by what they have faced to get where they are today. I got the opportunity to do a wonderful ride this weekend with a group of friends (more on that in another post), but what I took away from it was just what a journey it is for each of them.

For me, the week has been an accumulation of small victories. Nothing big or important. Not even big enough to merit a Facebook post for the most part. Just little things that give me faith in my own journey. In my Wing Chun class, I was able, for the first time, to complete 1,000 straight punches without having to stop and rest my arms. That means two things: one is that my conditioning is better, and two, that I have been able to hold better technique and punch from my core instead of my arms or shoulders. Although I am still very much a newbie in this martial art, it has, for the first time, started to give me glimmers of fluidity. One drill feels a little bit easier here, another technique flows better there. Once in awhile, our instructor walks by and just nods instead of coming over to correct. Just little glimpses, but it's a start.

On another day, I rode my bike up a hill I tackle regularly, and only realized at the top that I had never had to stand up out of my saddle. That's a first, for that hill. Nothing big, but perhaps significant (especially considering how much climbing I'll face in the epic Leadman Triathlon at the end of the summer). At swim practices, I've been able to move up the lane in some sets, not always following, sometimes leading. After several years of injuries, I'm feeling my full fitness return and it feels great.

Whether the sport brings a big triumph or a small moment, it's almost always a benefit to my life. Sometimes on the Paleo or Crossfit blogs, I read about how much endurance training tears you down, wears you out, weakens you. But it's been almost 30 years of this kind of training for me, and it still energizes me, brings me joy. That's a victory in itself.

1 comment:

Kiki said...

amen sister!

the quick-fix mentality that is so seductive but so unsustainable needs replacing with thoughts like yours. It's a journey of years, filled with incremental victories, that make the big ones possible.