Brendan Sexton

Back to Mortality

24 November 2011, Triathlon

It has been a while since my last entry and although a lot of time has passed and I've experienced my fair share of 'stuff' I cannot say that much of it was 'stuff' of any real substance. I got quite ill whilst training for the final stretch of 2011. I took this as a sign my season had gone on a little too long and decided my body needed a rest. Said rest was happily self enforced & immediately effective.

The unusual lack of 'stuff' had the desired effect and health of body and mind returned to full capacity. Now 'stuff' has again started raining down and the storm is only going to get heavier from here. This is where the light sprinkle starts:-

I love doing triathlon. There are many reasons why I love doing what I do:
•    the travel to exotic (and not so exotic) locations all over the globe,
•    the pride of representing Australia at the highest international level in my chosen field
•    and the opportunity to make a living by keeping as fit and healthy as I possibly can.

These are the reasons I get so much enjoyment as a full time professional.

Then there are the reasons that I feel all athletes love their sport:-

•    the chance to meet such a variety of people, most of whom are explosive with a lust for life and general vitality,
•    to reach and conquer personal goals that once seemed unattainable & impossible
•    and that certain feeling you get when you are in form that you are actually Immortal.

This last point is what I've had a great deal of pondering over the past 2 weeks. Many of you reading this may not understand what I am talking about. It is the sensation when you are in the water, on the bike or on your feet and you are unstoppable - Invincible. You feel as close to perfection as physically possible and the movement through your body flows effortlessly. As though the ground is moving under you, not you over it. Or the water is dragging you forward rather than you thrashing against it. The best word to describe it is fitness. The fitter you become the more frequent and stronger these sensations become. Although it's more than just being fit, it is having a higher sense of your body and being able to feel the water or the ground or the pedals with a greater intuition, almost instinct. It comes purely from training, endless hours of absolute repetition. And this is why my mind has been almost obsessed with it lately.

I am now very much mortal. I am not fit. I am two weeks back to training after a solid lay off and its the pits. I agonise to complete the most medial training session doing so in a manner that would have any witness cringing and quickly determining the location of the nearest First Aid Defibrillator. Cycling I huff & puff, running I spit, dribble & snot without acknowledgment. I'm capable of nothing more than rudimentary grunts and lack lustre hand gestures by way of communication if approached during exercise or up to an hour thereafter. I've stopped cycling on numerous occasions to adjust my brakes certain that they are rubbing on my wheel when they're actually no where near causing the performance inhibiting friction I anticipated. I generally feel like a Slinky man when I run due to the way my upper body ebbs as my legs flow, continually out of sync (and on occasion unintentionally comically flipping down a stairs amusing nearby children). Style, grace and fluidity are virtues far removed from the mass of white water that apparently is my freeystyle swim stroke. Surely defying some law of physics stating that amount of splash must produce a greater forward momentum than my current creeping progress.

But there are some upsides to marching on towards the light at the end of the seemingly infinite tunnel:-
•    Improvement is frequent and substantial. In two weeks in the pool I've gone from 'defibrillator defcon 5' to 'the guy who could be looking for coins on the pool floor.'
•    Training is uncomplicated and there's no surprises in results: [insert discipline here] until you can no longer [insert same discipline] anymore
•    I sleep like a railway underlay
•    And most importantly it gives reason to the labour and sacrifice I will make to again reach that feeling of immortality and the immense satisfaction when near perfection is obtained. To appreciate 'immortality' you must first know what it feels like to be 'mortal'

This is a brief insight into my square one. I have no doubt that by my next entry I'll have charged forward through many squares with an uncountable number more ahead.

Until then,
Kung Fu