Thursday, August 27, 2009

The English Channel

It's been just over 2 years since I watched Lynne swim the English Channel. We commenting on that Sunday morning as I chatted with her and Dave after a plunge in Barton Springs.

Our chat happened to coincide with the 30 hr cutoff time at the Leadville 100 mile trail race. We had a lot of friends out there for that race and Michael was there to help crew for Trisha.

These events had me thinking a lot about setting goals, watching my friends accomplish their own goals, and the mental strength of endurance athletes.

In our lives we all set goals, some are easily obtainable, some are meaningful challenges, and some of them are a long shot. It's the combination of these goals that makes us who we are. Those who truly achieve greatness have met goals that we know about but they have also faced challenges they could not complete.

Of all the friends whom I respect and admire for their achievements I also know of times when they have failed to meet their goals. Listing off failures is not the way to win over the hearts of your friends so I'm not about to do that here. What is important to mention is how and what they each seem to learn from those short comings. Learning lessons from the days you fall short of your goals is what makes you stronger. That strength is what allows you to thrive in situations down the road.

Although I try to learn from my own failures I must admit, I have learned much more from my friends. I say this because many of them have shown me how to truly thrive and learn from mistakes. I witness their actions and listen to their perspectives in admiration, they often seem to have a much better outlook than I do.

As you may have already guessed, Michael and I enjoy watching our friends along their journey to accomplish their goals. We've been lucky enough to make some great trips to support some of these adventures and I hope we continue to have such opportunities.

Of course, the times of not being present certainly out number the times of being able to watch from the sidelines. Good luck to all our friends doing Ironman Canada this weekend!

It's been said many times that endurance events are almost entirely about mental strength. I believe this is true, but merely knowing this does not imply you can figure it all out. The journey and the challenges you place before you are how you gain mental strength. We each have times when we thrive mentally. Conversely, we each have opportunities to melt mentally and make mistakes that set us back even farther. Again, it's what you learn along the way which makes you stronger.

This weekend marks week 36 of my pregnancy, full term. Baby G is due in 4 weeks but at this point she could appear and probably be relatively healthy at birth, it's a big deal. But it's a bit strange to think about the uncertainty of her arrival. I try to ready myself for the big event (labor) but I don't know when it'll happen.

Once again I loop back to the English Channel. After spending 2 yrs preparing for their swim, channel swimmers are given only an estimate of the actual date they will swim. Instead, they are assigned to a tide (7 days off chance). If the conditions are not right you might not swim during your tide. Instead you might just stick around in Dover, awaiting an empty spot in a later tide. Then one day, or maybe at midnight, you'll get a call to be down at the boat in a couple of hours, to swim. That's it, wait and wait to be ready at a moments notice. Kind of sounds like waiting for labor.