What I’m Learning: Tales Of A Wanderer
These last couple of weeks I’ve been sharing some of my favorite photography from my travels on Instagram and along side the photos I’ve been sharing some of my wisdom. Most of this list has come to me somewhere during my long, at times seemingly torturous, stretches of training for the Half Ironman.
Aug. 20, 2014, Sierra-Nevada Mountains, California – Seen from Sequoia National Park
1) Triathlon Ironman Training teaches you to trust the most important person you will EVER trust. Yourself. You will have some shitty days. You will question yourself. You will hate yourself. You will look for excuses. You will be down in the dumps. But there will come moments in your training that will lead you to places you never imagined you’d go. Places where your faith and trust and commitment IN YOURSELF will be renewed.
There are moments in life that lead you to places you never imagined going to… The first time I visited Sequoia National Park in California and looked out at the Sierra Nevada Mountains I knew that there had been a shift in the Universe. I didn’t know what was ahead for me, but what I knew was that I was right where I needed to be.
“Remember your name. Do not lose hope–what you seek will be found. Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn. Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.” ~ Neil Gaiman
Sept. 9, 2013, Cap Lardier, La Croix Valmer, France
2) I didn’t really have anything profound to say on this day, not something I could tie into Triathlon Ironman Training. This picture, this place. It’s enough. Isn’t it? Just the photo, nothing else is needed.
Cap Lardier, one of three nature conservation protected capes of the Presque’Ile de (peninsula of) Saint Tropez.
Dec. 1, 2012, Stonehenge England
3) Endurance. Triathlon Ironman Training is ultimately about Endurance. I don’t care how fast you go. I just care that you go…
Stonehenge. These prehistoric Standing Stones are believed to have been built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC, that is over 5000 years ago! These stones have been standing, for at least that long (maybe even longer new discoveries show) so I would say that is the ultimate show of endurance.
Dec. 5, 2012, from in the wee village of Tyndrum, Scotland
This first time I went to Scotland was 18 years ago. My absolute fondest memories come out of there; with some of the most captivating people to ever come into my life.
4) You have got to have a sense of humor while Triathlon Ironman Training. You have got to have people in your life who “get it.” These are some of the conversations I have had recently: “Just sit in the hot tub and pretend you swam 2500 yards” , “don’t you wish you would break an ankle then you could quit and it wouldn’t be your fault” , “don’t give me ideas” , “we’re getting disqualified in the swim anyways, we’ll never make the time, so lets stop training” “who is bringing the whiskey to the race?” “let’s get super-duper fast for the swim and the bike, then we can just walk the run potion.” I have THE BEST (and the smartest) people in my life.
June 30, 2013, Wadi Rum, Jordan, The Valley Of The Moon
5) In the course of Triathlon Ironman Training it is inevitable that you are going to hit a wall. I have learned that the only way to move past that damn wall is. to. just. keep. moving.
Around the time during this trip to Jordan I had hit that proverbial wall in life, in general. Everything just seemed to suck, nothing was going right, and nothing was going easy. I had given my word I would make this trip so I FORCED myself to go. And I learned that some days the only sensible thing to do is to just keep moving. For this place taught me what authentic kindness is and how the kindness of strangers has the power to heal all sorts of wounds.
I had a 2 hr run planned for the morning I posted this picture on Instagram. I hate running, it’s my weakest discipline. But I headed out. And I ran for 2 hrs. For some times…the only sensible thing to do is to just keep moving.
Sept. 27, 2012, on the road between Praiano & Positano, Amalfi Coast, Costiera Amalfitana, Italy
While this was one of my absolute favorite trips ever – almost everything about this trip went nothing according to the original plan. This is the trip that taught me that one beautiful lesson called adaptability.
6) Triathlon Ironman Training is all about adaptability. There is that famous saying all triathletes know about “fail to plan – plan to fail” and yes plans and goals are so part of the entire journey but flexibility and adaptability is simply a must alongside it all. You are not always going to be able to make it to a workout, your body will not always respond that way you wish it would, shit is gonna happen and throw your entire schedule into a tail-spin. So learning to go with the flow is also part of the entire Ironman journey. Some wise words from a very good friend (a marathoner) that have stuck with me for always “some days you just have to go with what the day gives you…”
July 27, 2012, Phuket, Thailand
This was my first real Solo Trip. I was really nervous and truth be told I was kind of scared of being a Solo Traveller.
7) Triathlon Ironman Training is about being accountable to only one person. You. Just as travelling solo is about being 100% responsible for yourself. There comes a point in a solo trip where you realize you have the ability to do remarkable things. All on your own. In triathlon the swim is all on you, the bike portion is you and the bike, and the run, just you and one foot in front of the other. Eventually, inevitably, you discover with every stroke, with every pedal, with every stride, just how capable you are. You discover just how fuckin’ remarkable you are.
Jan. 23, 2013, on top of Sri Pada, Adams Peak, Sri Lanka
8) In the course of Ironman Training…Same days are. just. going. to. break. you. down.
Triathlon will bring you down lower than you ever thought you could go. So low that it’s hard to see any way of coming back up. But I want you to remember this – You will come back up. ‘You just have to go with what the day gives you’ and some days are just going to suck. You don’t have to be training for an Ironman, whatever hardship you are going through right now, know this; You will come back up. As any good Buddhist will tell you, the only way to find permanent joy is by embracing the fact that nothing is permanent. The good days are not permanent but then neither are the bad days.
“When there is a great disappointment, we don’t know if that’s the end of the story. It may be just the beginning of a great adventure.”
~ Pema Chodron
Sept. 7, 2012, The Red Sands of The Arabian Desert. Saudi Arabia
9) Breathe. Remember to breathe. The swim portion of Triathlon Ironman has taught me one of the biggest lessons; that being about breathing – In the water and out of the water
Saudi Arabia is a harsh place. The only time I felt I could truly breath while in that country was here, out in the vast Arabian desert. Breathing is done without even giving thought to it, right? It just happens. Well. Ask a swimmer if it “just happens” No. Uhm. It kind of doesn’t. One has to “learn” how to breathe. One has to remember to breathe. Just like in life, some days, I still find myself remembering to breathe. The lesson here being, no matter where you are, no matter how harsh, you always have the capability to return to your breath.
Jan. 23, 2015, Lake Tahoe, California, USA
10) Triathlon Ironman Training takes up A LOT of time
But if you want it, really want it, you will make the time. If you feel you are worthy of crossing the finish line, if you feel your self-worth at the bottom of your being, you will find the time.