Thursday, October 28, 2010

Running in Lava Fields

I am on my way home. I wrote this aboard JAL going to Narita and this time I was not in Business Class. It doesn’t matter though because as far as I am concerned I have had a first class experience. Thinking about when I last had a holiday of any sort (without a bike) I worked it out to be 3years ago. And while I have still been touching base with work and doing some correspondence during my travels it has been a holiday, I feel it and more importantly my body after eleven months is finally telling me so.
Good Morning!
We are in this sport because it is our lifestyle. It is a healthy lifestyle and if your health is at anytime put into jeopardy because of how you live the lifestyle then you need to step back and re-evaluate. It doesn’t mean you cannot reach your dreams but you must be able to smile every day and love what you do even when you are having a tough day.

After months of feeling depleted, exhausted, fatigued beyond recognition I came to the silly conclusion that what I was feeling every day was normal. It was how one is supposed to feel. I now know and understand how wrong that mindset was. I am embarrassed to say how long I have been ignoring this. As someone who noticeably trains hard so she can race hard and be the best she can be I got lost. I lost myself, I lost my passion, I took on too much and I stressed about everything. I lost my smile.

Sunrise in paradise
I achieved my goal but not without a huge sacrifice that resulted in my not being able to go and enjoy the goal I worked so hard towards. I am not particularly impressed with how things turned out but one thing I will always be, is honest. I always seek out the positives from every desperate situation because no matter how hard things are, whatever life throws you, there is always a positive to be found. It is not always going to stare you in the face. But they are there; you just have to decide whether or not you are able to accept it when you are at your lowest and be ready to move on because it is so much easier to wallow in your own self pity.

You do not have to look far, it is right there within yourself. Just as doubt and fear of failure can cloud your mind, the power of positive thinking is there too. A bit harder to grasp and control, that ebbing feeling of doubt is always going to try and override any good thoughts about yourself, your situation, your current place in life.
Oceans and Islands
I am currently the heaviest I have been for two years, (stick with me, this is leading somewhere!) My jeans are tight, my face is full and I feel heavy. But it is nothing compared to the weight that I have lost from my shoulders and my head. I can start to control my real weight again as soon as I want, I have been on holiday and it is to be expected so I am told:) The weight that has taken so much longer to remove is the one that does not register on the scale but has been there, etched on my face for far too long.

I have many decisions to make about my future and I did not want to make any decisions until I was clear in my head and thinking straight again. I did not want to rush this decision-making. For me there is no rushing any more. I can only do so much. So the goal is to be in control of what I decide to do next, sounds simple enough!

I have spent some time with old friends and made many new friends on this trip. I have laughed so hard I have cried and my jaw sore. I had one meltdown, that’s all. And that was promptly nipped in the bud with the help of a friend - where would we be without our friends?

I have watched, I have learnt, I have questioned all things life and triathlon related. I have had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with some of the sports greats as well as some inspirational amateurs. I no longer have this ‘need’ to go and race Kona, bizarre but true. I can honestly say I would be quite happy to play the same role as spectator and supporter in 2011.
Inspiring landscape
But also I know I can qualify again if I want to. Nothing is ever guaranteed but I can put myself in the best position to give it a shot that much I do know. So the new challenge for me will be in trying to qualify a different way. By taking a lighter approach that’s what I am really excited about.

So I got to ride on the Queen K but I never got to run in the Lava fields. The one thing I love about IM is the soul searching, the lonely road. Nothing gets me more emotionally charged than seeing long stretches of nothingness. In a car whenever I see such roads I imagine riding these roads and sometimes running. All alone with just my thoughts and silence, no music required. Why would you need music when you are with the perfection of Mother Nature? To handle such isolation is all about your mental strength. Total isolation such as running through Lava fields is for me like attending church. It is where I learn to be thankful and appreciate my life.

And so while in Maui for Xterra I ran and I swam. I ran for 4 days in a row at one point, just one hour at a time. I ran out to the lava fields and got to experience that isolation I so crave at times. I got to experience it at sunrise, sunset and with a friend. With the Pacific Ocean on one side of the road and mountains on the other and black fields of lava rock in between it is hard not to feel inspired and moved by such landscape.
Isolation road
And so each day I would start my run just for 30minutes and it would turn into 60minutes, just because I wanted to see more. And each day I felt better. I still have my aches and pains, and most of the time I was sweating out the previous nights alcohol intake and it was never fast but it was always enjoyable.

I look forward to running those Lava fields again next year, maybe this time it will be in Kona. Until then my mission remains the same. It is my passion to inspire and to motivate and use my mistakes and experience albeit short but extremely well equipped to hopefully helps others to believe that they can do anything.

That little dot is not a smudge but the moon:)
I have said it many times throughout this trip when explaining to others what I love to do. And that is find out peoples stories and help turn ‘I cant’s into ‘I can’s’.


Kristian Manietta said...

Nicely said and welcome back :)

David said...

Excellent Emma. Welcome Home! In terms of your goals to inspire and help others I can honestly say that I don't think you've ever been away. However, I still can't wait to welcome you back properly and personally this coming Sunday. See ya soon. DD :-)

Denis Oakley said...

Really inspiring post to read over breakfast.

Julie Foreman said...

Fantastic to have my smiling friend back x x

Donna Phelan said...

Great blog Emma!

Emma said...

Thank you guys, plenty of time to blog these days!!