A row of children stand in assorted bathing suits along the stony edge of a local pool on a crisp, 50-degree spring morning in Western PA. The instructor commands the students to enter the water and they obey…with the exception of one. This one, lone, 8-year-old child remains, overcome with fear and anxiety. As he sees it, icy temperatures and crushing pressures await in the water beneath, 2 of the greatest enemies of his asthma. Memories of being “dunked” underwater against his will by friends and siblings plague his mind. In the end, he gets his way and is pulled from the swim lessons, never having learned how to swim.
Our story fast forwards to 2010 where we find the young boy has grown to a young man of 22, anxiously awaiting the start of his first triathlon. Not unsurprisingly, he has neglected the swim training and is “hoping for the best”, counting on the wet suit to save him. A nervous mother paces the sandy banks of Portage Lakes, awaiting the sounding of the gun. She wonders how her baby boy could possibly make it through the swim, never having learned how to swim. Boom! The gun goes off and a slew of neoprene clad athletes enter the murky waters. He is tracked by the watchful eyes of his mother and father as he is easily identified in the water. He is the only one with his head always above water, floundering along, not un-similar to a lackadaisical Labrador. Though it only lasts 15 minutes and 58 seconds, to the mother it feels like an eternity. As he rises from the water with a cocky grin, she sends a text of relief to the siblings, “He’s alive.”
We shift now to modern day. The dawn has yet to break in a small, Southern Californian beach town. The eager triathlete, now 24 years old, rises at 5:15 AM to begin the day’s workouts. The boy has reached a new milestone in his life, he has fallen in love…with his discomfort. Morning sports talk murmurs through the car speakers as he drives to his new hallowed training grounds, the Hawthorne Pool. Though the temperatures and fears are the same as when he was 8, they are no longer of concern. He fights his inner demons, steps out over the stony ledge, and plunges into the pool. The morning’s laps have begun. He relishes the searing of his lungs, his fatigued upper body, and the overall discomfort. He has learned how to attack that which he is scared of. With each and every stroke, he becomes stronger as he morphs the weaker self in to the greater self.
This is my story of my favorite break up, sounds odd doesn’t it? The fact of the matter is that some break ups are empowering as they release one to become who they are meant to be. Our video of the week perfectly captures the inner dialogue of how one must combat his or her own mind to overcome inner demons. Who you are at this exact moment in time is not match for who you are capable of becoming. This has been consistently proven throughout the course of your life as you grow stronger each and every day. As a child you learned how to walk, ride a bike, etc, all of which you were incapable of at one point in time. Running is no different. Perhaps it’s time you “cut the cord” with your excuses, your weak self, and your self imposed limits. Master your mind and become limitless.
P.S. To my weak self, I’m sorry things didn’t work out, I’m sure you’ll find someone that suits you better. Just was never going to work between us, you always kept holding me back:)
Always in Stride,
Quote – “Fear is the strongest driving-force in competition. Not fear of one’s opponent, but of the skill and high standard which he represents; fear, too, of not acquitting oneself well. In the achievement of greater performances, of beating formidable rivals, the athlete defeats fear and conquers himself.” – Frank Stampfl
Song – ‘Till I Collapse – Eminem
Video – Nike Reincarnate Ad