I got into sport for all the wrong reasons.. well, you may say right reasons, but it could have been anything – sport, stamp collecting, snake charming. What I mean to say is that I didn’t get into sport because I enjoy sport, I got into sport because I had to do something, my life was work and party, party and work, with nothing in-between. And I was slowly killing myself, with the “autoimmune disease” and then the “stent” bearing testimony how close I got to achieving that end.
I don’t think there are that many of us at this age that have actually been active sport people all our lives, there seems to be a huge community of us “second comers” who actively avoided sports for the large part of our earlier lives, but due to health/personal reasons(although almost always health), discovered a new found interest in keeping fit and then, into challenging the previously thought of impossible summits of such things as marathons and triathlons…. Would like to bet that the vast majority of the readers of this and any of the sports related blogs on WordPress fit into that category.
So that being the case, it comes as no surprise to also read about the constant trials and tribulations related to keeping the motivation going once the initial excitement wears off. We find ourselves in a predicament, we kick ourselves up the butt and find our way out, completing challenges and achieving all sorts of wonderful achievements along the way, and then slowly we become …. Disengaged? Disillusioned? . We did what we set out to do, and more, we are svelte and sexy, positive and secure, why keep pushing ourselves. Especially those of us who actually don’t really like sport, who have to fight to put on our shoes and get out the door. Especially those of us who never actually get out of the “pretty good for a fat/old/unathletic bloke” stage – it’s hard to see all the new comers whizzing past us, seemingly able to summon the gods of sport at will to whisk them to the finish line. Am I right?
So, here I am at “That Place”, was all excited few months back to be setting new challenges then sickness, travel and eventually a bike accident knocked me way off course, and I find myself once again looking at a season of training just to complete the same old set of races instead of chasing the glory of age group world championships and Boston qualifying as I had dreamed. Motivation is at an all-time low, I can’t even be bothered to construct a proper training plan, because I know if I do A, B and C I will finish the races, why make it more complicated… actually why bother at all, maybe just sit back and enjoy life without struggling to get out the door to train.. and you know what, maybe I can handle a drink again, been over 6 years since I tasted alcohol, surely I can control things now, would be fun to go out, relax with a beer, make some new friends..
Yeah, I have been/am that close… but you know what, the thought of getting back into the crazy life style, the drinks and the smokes, the late nights, the embarrassing morning, the not remembering what happened and who I upset, the bloated body, the sweaty skin, that still scares me enough that I find myself jumping back into sports with desire, nothing can be worse than a life ruled by alcohol and actually I love being fit, I love being determined.
And if I ever feel the need for a little bit of moral support, there are a few bloggers I follow who are going through/have been through their own struggles. I won’t call them out because I will end up missing someone, but they should know who they are, be they in the US, Ireland, UK or wherever, and it’s amazing how a positive a feeling I can get by knowing that others suffer and come through the other side.
And at 52 years of age, I still get a kick out of completing my Sunday long ride faster than I ever did before, or running a “relaxed” 10k Tuesday morning run at sub 5:30 pace. I love being the guy out running when it pissing down with rain or wheeling out my bike just as the sun is rising. Yes I may be a sad lonely old git, but I am a fit sad lonely old git who has no regrets in the morning and to my surprise, a fit lonely old git who other people admire, and maybe most important, a fit lonely old git with family who are proud of me for what I have achieved and who I have become
So I will take that for now, I will have times where I struggle with motivation, I will never be a top athlete, and I will always be socially challenged if I don’t have a drink to support me, but the feeling of achievement I get just about every time I finish a training session or the excitement when I see how my times still come down, or just the buzz when the kids let slip they are impressed or people tell me that they wish they could do what I do … that is real and I own it, no one can ever take that away.