I can’t believe I’m only two weeks out from my 3rd ironman. Honestly, I have never been so scared. I felt so prepared for #1 and #2. Training was nearly flawless. But, this time…this time I’m scared. Training hasn’t even been close to perfect. I know I can cover the distance, the fear comes from the feeling of knowing I won’t be covering it the way I’d like to cover it.
A challenge for me is expectations. What do I mean by that? I often set expectations. I can’t help it. They happen naturally. In training, in relationships, in work, whatever the case. Every day I conscientiously have to make a choice to let go of my expectations so that I can open myself up to possibility, to happiness, to freedom, to living in the moment. How often do you have expectations of yourself, or of someone else, and ultimately you are let down, because those expectations weren’t met. I HATE that feeling. I LOVE to set goals, to strive to be better every day, but the second I create expectations it changes the joy in chasing my goals and dreams, it sets me up for potential disappointment. I have learned to never EXPECT anything. Everything comes with hard work, love, determination, fun, laughter, drive, ambition, and simply enjoying the process.
More than that, even if we do “expect” something, life throws us curve balls, and we have to change our “expectations”. Hence, why I don’t really like the word expectation. We have to change our goals, change our mindset, change the process. Obviously, I didn’t know I was going to crash going 30 some miles per hour down a hill, taking a sharp blind right hand turn. I didn’t know what the effects of that crash were going to be, or how long my body would take to recover. I didn’t know I was going to meet someone at a cycling/triathlon conference, and want to go to another country to get to know that person more. Sometimes the curve balls are fun and exciting, and sometimes they give us a challenge that we have to overcome.
So, going into Ironman #3, I am letting go of any and all expectations. And I’m just going to give it all I’ve got. My body is not 100%, and I’m working on taking care of some minor injuries heading into the race. My biggest concern for the first time is the run. The run is what I look forward to, and where I pass people, and work my way up the rankings. I have NO IDEA how it’s going to go in two weeks, but I’m doing everything I can to get there with a healthy mind and a healthy body. And no matter what I WILL give it all I’ve got. I will race hard, but within myself. I have never gone into a race not feeling 100%, this is a new challenge for me, and one that I’m trying to accept whole heartedly.
Expectation: the belief that something will happen or be the case in the future
What I love about sports in general is the life lessons they teach us. Letting go of my ironman expectations teaches me to let go of expectations in my every day life. What I mean by this, is do you ever catch yourself being mad at someone because they didn’t respond the way you wanted them to respond? Or they didn’t buy you the birthday present YOU wanted? Or simply someone didn’t do something the way you expected them to? We all show we care or love in different ways. There is no right way. We all reach solutions in our own way, as long as we reach a solution does it really matter how we got there? I think this is one of life’s greatest challenges but also one of life’s greatest gifts. We all do things differently, but it doesn’t mean one way is better than the other. This is one of my favorite parts of life, learning about how someone else works, what is their way of showing love, what is their way of finding solutions to challenges, what makes them laugh, what makes them sad. There are so many ways of looking at this. There is the kid who’s parents know he/she is smart, and expect them to get straight A’s, and yet the kid is getting B’s. Instead of expecting straight A’s, why not let go of expectations, and simply focus on how to encourage and help the kid be the best he/she can be? There is the wife who is mad at her husband for not noticing her new haircut or new dress, without her saying anything. Instead of hoping he notices, why not just say “what do you think of my new hair cut or new dress? Or why not just enjoy it for you, and not worry about what your husband thinks. And if you’re lucky maybe he will say something, but most important buy that new dress for you, or get that new hair cut for you, because you feel more confident with it, not for a reaction from someone else. There are simple expectations of course. We all expect people to drive on the right hand side of the road (here in the U.S), we all expect people to stop at stop signs, to not smoke where there are no-smoking signs, or if there is a deadline for an assignment that it will be turned in on time. And in this case, of course, these are fair expectations. The expectations I’m talking about are the ones that we have no control over. But what we do have control of is our emotions, how we react to things, and we have control over communicating. All we can do is be the best we can be, and give as much as we can, and where the cards fall after that is up to the universe.
Life loves to send us curve balls, and I love to see how I can tackle them. Challenge accepted. Ironman #3…you are within reach!