Find The Edge And Then Dance On It
“You could swim forever…and at a good pace. We’ve gotta find a way to make you swim faster.” That’s what my coach Tom told me after we had done a hard set.
I figured it out. I don’t like to dance on the edge. To push to the limit. Chris McCormack “Macca” on an interview called it the ultimate price. To push to the point where you sacrifice it all-what’s implied is that you push to the point where you might blow up-crash and burn. Completely as in not even finish. The ultimate sacrifice. Ok I can understand that in a race, but in practice? How hard to I have to push in practice? I really don’t want to say this but yes I need to push hard in practice. When I work that thought around in my head I find myself thinking: You mean I have to push to the red line? Go to the point where I might bonk? Wipe out? No thanks. I don’t want to. It is so much easier for me to just add a little more yardage at my comfortable pace. Push the envelope? Feel pain? Wonder if I can even finish? Waste myself?
Yeah I do, if I want to be better. So today I have embraced this living on the edge-the maybe bonk mentality. I am going to test my limits, swim hard, run hard, and ride hard. I am going to feel that icky, over the edge feeling. I will probably crash and burn. I might turn my body into jello-but I am going to get faster and improve.
It’s kind of funny I have parents who are extremely different in their risk comfort level. My Mom is ready to try anything. She never worries about getting too tired; she doesn’t think of the risks, instead she thinks about the fun of the adventure. Chaos may follow but so what? My Dad on the other hand thinks of every potential problem and then solves it. I take after him. We figure out all the things that might go wrong and then prevent them. We go no where near the edge. As a matter of fact we put a big fence around that edge so nobody will accidentally fall off. Unfortunately this can drive the people we love and live with nuts. Not only that, but our risk avoidance also limits our growth. I am safe, secure…and S.L.O.W.
This is going to be hard. It’s gonna get ugly. But starting today I am going to test myself. See how fast I can go. See what I’m made of. I start where I am right now. Whatever it is today, tomorrow it will be more. I will adapt and I will improve. I might wipe myself out and maybe I will see just what it takes to really red line, to make the ultimate sacrifice. It might take much more than I think. I’ll bet I’ve got a long way to go to get to that edge. Start with me today, find the edge and then dance on it.
“There’s such a fine line between absolute explosion and having the most glorious day of your life….at the ten mile mark of that marathon I was prepared to pay the ultimate price and that was not finish. And I threw it all out, I said you know what I want to have a shot at the title.”
-Chris McCormack, Ironman Talk Roth Interview