I feel unarmed without a goal.
I have one. It's to do well, by my standards, at Ironman.
Even though I actually do not want the IM goal to be the goal anymore, it's still the goal. It will be the goal until I satisfy it. That's annoying, but it is the way my limited, OCD brain seems to work. What's so unfortunate is that I will probably keep going for this goal until death takes me. I just have trouble letting up when I think something is close to being within my grasp.
I can have many side goals going on while I work toward a Big Kahuna goal, and what I find interesting, and worth writing about, is that I often do quite well meeting the little goals--the secondary or superfluous goals--but then fall short on meeting the Big Kahuna goal. This is not to say I haven't hit Big Kahuna goals in the past. I have--although usually inadvertently. Upon reflection I've always had trouble when I go straight shot for a Big Kahuna goal--work my ass off and go for it. I choke under great pressure. Noted is that the pressure comes from within. I get all freaked out by how hard I've worked, and get overwhelmed by the idea that the work is all for naught if the goal isn't achieved. I know, of course, this is a truly dumb way to think. The work is never all for naught. It's the journey etc etc and so on.
I have also noted that sometimes I achieve Big Kahuna goals quite by surprise when I had actually been working toward a totally different Big Kahuna goal. For example, over the years while working (again and again) toward the IM goal I managed to go 1:30 in the half marathon, 3:15 in the full marathon, beat my fastest high school 100 backstroke time (1:12), and win my AG at an Ironman half Iron (Mooseman). Each of those accomplishments were on the list of goals I want to achieve before I'm dead list, and each of them was achieved when I was really quite focused on something else--namely the IM goal.
So I guess that damn IM goal has been good for something.
SO my thought is....
what if I do not go straight at the Big Kahuna IM goal, but go at the Big Kahuna IM goal--around the back and sideways? Like, what would happen if I don't give it Big Kahuna status in my thoughts and allow other goals to rise up and usurp it or equal it in importance?
In the spirit of this, I am not focusing on my IM goal.
*I am not focusing on it, at least exclusively, ever again.*
I know that sounds extreme.
But I think I might be onto something. I think the Big Kahuna goal needs to be sandwiched into my existing life, and not become my life. When the Big Kahuna goal becomes my life, I lose joy, motivation, and will... and then come race day I also seize up under the pressure.
This brings me to the topic of JOY.
One of my big quandaries this season was that I had lost the joy for training and racing. Now that I have been playing around for five weeks and not "training" I can see that it was my singular focus on achieving the Big Kahuna goal that caused me to lose that joy.
Andy recently read the Rasmus Henning autobiography and described to me how Henning uses a pyramid metaphor to explain achievement. The pyramid has at its base, joy. Joy is the foundation of all. Above joy is stacked Goals. Above Goals is stacked Work. Above work is stacked will. The idea is that if you don't have a foundation of joy--the goals, the work and the will will not hold up.
I knew the joy was gone this summer, but I still had the goal, I still did the work and I still tried to have the will, but in the end none of that was enough, because my joy wasn't in place. My goals, work and will had no foundation. There was not place for them to rest, neatly, on top of the foundation of joy that make the training and racing and succeeding all possible.
I think I understand, now, that I have to be working toward many different things--all of which are fun--none of which take the other out--in order to achieve a Big Kahuna goal. When you put one goal above all others, you sacrifice for that goal. When you sacrifice for one goal, you leave other parts of your life and your self in the dust. Unfortunately, at least for me, that wasn't sustainable.
So I still have the goal.
But I can't sacrifice in the same way if I want to retain joy.
And I need the joy to get the goal.
So what does that LOOK LIKE?
I think it looks like this:
I take rest when I want it, as well as when I need it.
I race when I want to race, instead of not racing because I "shouldn't."
I do what my coach says, and not more than that, and in the extra time I have from not doing "more" I play. (in the garden, in the woods with my dogs, riding bikes with my kids....)
I do workouts and races for fun, and not just in service to the Big Kahuna goal.
So if I want to do a of series Cyclocross races while training for a fall IM?
If I want to do a race that doesn't make sense in terms of timing (like two half IMs back to back, or a swim meet two weeks before IM, or whatever).
If I want to splurge on an ice cream sundae when I am supposed to be trying to be perfect for training and racing IM?
If I want to make room for yoga, or a boot camp class, or a flying trapeze lesson when I'm in heavy training--and it means I sacrifice some of that heavy training for those things.
In which I attend my first Cyclocross Training Series race, realize I have no clue, and come in dead fucking last.
and had FUN! Woot Woot!
I leave you will pictures of my super awesome and amazing Jordan, who was 10th overall in her first middle school cross country meet ever! My baby--just barely 11 year old! She's a runner! And here's the kicker: LOOK AT THE SMILE.
I have to help her to keep that joy.....