It’s July – time to panic???

It feels like you blink and January has turned into July.

As a triathlete whose main goal is survival, I’ve found a new month (with two big races scheduled) brings an automatic inner monologue of;

“Oh shit, it’s July. Santa Rosa 70.3 is coming. Ironman Wisconsin is in September, only 2 months away!!!!!”

Like sands of the hourglass…
Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that no matter how hard I try and how much wishing I do, the Hot Tub Time Machine only exists on Blu-Ray.

Check that, I have learned something else. No matter how much training I do, will I ever feel completely ready? Is anyone ever completely ready for anything? More often than not I’d say hell NO!

We’ve all had the conversations in different walks of life where we commiserate over how unprepared we are for that day’s exam, appointment or training session. I guess it’s the daily dose of Imposter Syndrome.

Truth…

I guess I’ve learned one more thing. Or to phrase it more accurately, it’s something I continue to learn on a daily basis. During both of these upcoming races, I am going to be miserable at some point. For me, long-distance races come with some physical pain and plenty of mental anguish. Having completed both distances multiple times (not a big deal) I know what to expect and can anticipate when I’m entering the pain cave. Barring a catastrophe, the pain of not finishing is greater than the physical pain that will subside after a few days. I know this ultimately comes down to mindset and controlling what I can control. In the meantime, I’ll keep training mind, body and spirit. And when race day comes, all systems will be ‘go’ in a perfectly imperfect fashion.

Momentum Generation

When I watched this inspiring documentary, I immediately thought I’d write about it. My idea of a traditional ‘review’ quickly disappeared. I deemed that idea obsolete for no other reason in that, I’m still thinking about the ideas, themes and inspiration I’ve taken from the film. I suppose that’s the best thing any form of art can do; make the viewer think, daydream, learn and take action.

For a movie so outwardly uncomplicated, Momentum Generation, by directors (and brothers) Jeff and Michael Zimbalist,is remarkably hard to define. 

Daniel Duane (from Outside Online)
Sunset in Dana Point, CA

If you’re like me, you probably don’t think of surfing as a team sport. For a novice who is dying to learn, I see a solitary pursuit of excellence among often fierce elements. As a lifelong participant (and coach of) team sports, I’ve become more intrigued by solo endeavors in recent years. This, in no small way, coincides with my triathlon pursuits. I often think of one of my first century rides (100 miles) where I found myself among the tall pine trees and crisp air of Black Forest, CO. If you’ve ever been for a ride in CO, you know oxygen is scarce and flat earth never lasts. In the midst of a roller coaster of climbs, I was engulfed by the solitude around me. Although the ride (Elephant Rock Ride) has hundreds of participants, I found myself completely alone with only my thoughts. This was, at the same time, exhilarating and terrifying.

After graduating to triathlons of various lengths, I acquired a greater appreciation for the juxtaposition of individual sports compared to team sports. With triathlon, I am ultimately competing against me while drawing inspiration and strength from other competitors. I’ve often wondered if surfing has a similar energy and rhythm. Watching Momentum Generation gave me pause for a number of reasons. I was in awe at the fearlessness, artistry and dedication displayed in the water. Beyond that, the connections in and out of the water could have just as easily happened in a hockey locker room or on a bus traversing Saskatchewan. Beyond that, the connections among the guys will resonate with anyone who has spent time in a locker room or any other space that gathers people pursuing a goal. While camaraderie is an inherent part of team sports, could those connections you have to seek out when running, riding, skating or surfing (solo) be just as deep? I look forward to finding out!

Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

I’ve never been one to make resolutions. I should actually correct that to say, in recent years, I’m not one to make resolutions. I find them to be cliched and often directionless. I’m trying to focus, instead, on mantras and words that will remind me to take action.

The idea of finding comfort in the uncomfortable is one I’ve tried to remember and make second nature in my mindset. Everything related to triathlon is uncomfortable to me, more or less. I’m still relatively new with each of the three sports in addition to the wild cards in the sport, such as transitions, fueling, recovery and managing injuries. At this point, having completed two Ironmans, 4 half-Ironmans and various Sprint and Olympic distance races, I can at the very least anticipate various forms of ‘uncomfort.’

Be it on the trails, in the classroom or in the boardroom, getting comfortable being uncomfortable will produce results. For if you truly believe this you will put yourself in challenging and uncomfortable positions and that is where growth comes from.

Chris Vokaty

Are uncomfortable experiences the key to any type of growth? I know I feel most alive when I’m doing something out of the ordinary, when I’m traveling, when my heart is pounding, when experiencing something new, etc. In mapping out 2019 and beyond, I know my restless spirit will struggle if I’m not pushing boundaries in search of bold challenges and new experiences. Ironman Wisconsin (September 2019) is a great place to start!

Pondering the uncomfortable!