Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fear of Flying...

I've finished my book.

My novel.


I'll say it again.  I've finished my novel.  Sounds good, doesn't it.  In reality, though, it's terrifying.  Why is that?  I guess it's due fear of rejection.  A fear that it might not be 'good enough'.  Well, balls to that.  I don't care for fear.  Fear is the father of failure yet to succeed at anything, we need to make failure our friend.

We need to sleep with him, eat with him, work with him and carry him around on our backs as we swim, bike and run.  Only by getting to know him can we understand that he can be beaten.  And that he's nothing to be afraid of.

I think that fear of flying isn't fear of flying at all - it's fear of crashing.  Just as vertigo isn't fear of heights - it's the fear that you will somehow throw yourself from them.  So everything has an equal and opposite force or consequence.  And most of us are somehow 'hard-wired' to default to the fear of the opposite force of whatever we're trying to achieve.

Is someone who is fearful of doing an Ironman fearful of the pain it will require or, deep down, are they fearful that they might not finish.  I suspect the latter.

So far, these are merely observations.  What's the answer?  I guess the answer is to look for successes on the journey to whatever your end goal is.  My success is that I've finally written a novel (and a considerably different one to that which I thought I'd one day write).  As for its success in the 'outside world' - I'm relaxed about that.  I've lost sleep too many times before trying to second guess what may or may not be 'hot'.

Oh... hey... I tell you what might be hot though.  My mate Tom has started a podcast.  It's called 'Marathontalk' and it's available from itunes (free of course) or at
Give it a try.  I think you'll like it.

Any other news?   Training is good even though my body is railing against the sudden switch to Ironman (silly) season.  I'm back swimming this week after a five week lay off so my shoulders feel a bit like they've been through the mincer.   I generally post what training I've been doing on my Twitter account (@ironmanj) so you can keep up with it there by following me on Twitter.  I'll get round to posting the training on the blog as I get further into the season but for now it's not really important as it's all about base building.

No photo.

Today it's all about words...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Evolution not Revolution...

Today's photo is me, at home, in my office, snow bound. Office is top left, above the garage. And I'm looking at you right now.

Because I've been thinking about this whole Blogging thing. And frankly, it's become a bit of a chore. No more do I look forward to getting up on a monday morning and sharing my thoughts with the world. Sure, I feel the need occasionally to pontificate on things, but that's what pubs are for isn't it? But, in the main, for the past few weeks, blogging hasn't been something I've been looking forward to.

Which accounts for why I haven't done it.

I need to find out if I'm going to pursue it further or like some glorious writing mayfly it has simply come to the end of its time. And I'm not going to find out by ignoring it and hoping it will go away. So I've decided to apply the same principles to it that I'm going to be applying to my training regime this year.

I'll do things a little differently.

Notice that word 'little'. I'm a great beliver in re-inventing yourself as time goes by. It's impossible to sit in one phase of your life forever. We have to move on and, quite often, that forward movement is not by enormous leaps but by small incremental steps that, when one looks back, give the appearance of a monumental jump.

It's the key to a varied, fulfilled and exciting life.

Trust me.

So I figure I'll just play around with the blog a bit and see how it goes.

Some changes I'll definitely be making:

1. The look - because it's easy to select a new template and I can.
2. Frequency. Will be when I've something to say. Not just 'every Monday'. Why? Because I'm not a machine. Not this year.
3. Other stuff. I'm going to try and introduce a bit of other stuff, not sure what.
4. Free gifts to all those who subscribe by RSS Feed.

Okay, I lied about number 4.

And, if you're piqued by my reference to this year's training, then here's how it ties in with my thoughts.

This year I've decided to go 'on my own'. That's right, decided to walk the wire without a safety net. What the hell is he talking about, do I hear you say? Specifically, I'm talking about the fact that I've called my coach, Mark K, to let him know that I'm taking a swing at Ironman on my own this year. Why? Well, it's kind of complicated but simple too. I'll try to explain in as few a words as possible.

Anyone who knows me knows I lack nothing on the self-belief, self-motivation front. Frankly, getting out of bed and putting in the hard yards has never been a problem for me since I took a maths exam at 12 years old without doing any revision. I failed so badly and was so distraught that day, that I swore I would never ever take on anything again without being fully prepared. And I haven't. So, consequently it's become the way I live my life.

'99% preparation, 1% perspiration.'

'Fail to prepare: Prepare to fail.'

You know the sayings.

So, my coach's presence in my triathlon life has never been designed to motivate or make me work harder. At the end of 2005 I weighed 105 kgs and decided I was going to do an Ironman. I'd managed a marathon under 4 hours but had never cycled before and couldn't swim more than a couple of lengths of my local pool (and certainly couldn't dream of putting my face in the water as I did so).

I called Coach K and he took me on. I bought a bike and a set of earplugs for swimming. In 2006 I completed Ironman Austria in 12 hrs 10 mins. Two years later I'm down to 10:38, racing at 87 kgs, and I think I can go faster. All of this is due to Coach K. Great plans, great bloke.

But I'm me. I need to have a smack at this myself. I also think that I need to step back from the formulaic approach to training that coaching delivers and find out what it's like to de-mystify the process and coach myself. It's a challenge, for sure, but I guess it's only the same thing that made me start my own business at age 27. I'm also now used to being surrounded by great athletes at my tri club, Team MK.

And also, let's face it, most of you reading this won't have a coach.

Anyway, for better or worse, I'm going to see how it pans out. And I'll never be too proud to go back to Coach K if it doesn't work out. But I have a feeling I'll be okay.

But this isn't a major jump to me... it's a baby step. Same thing. Out swimming, onto the bike, running ... yadda yadda yadda. It's a minor switch. It's evolution not revolution.

So what do I have planned this year? Well, for certain I have Ironman Switzerland on July 25th. On July 3rd I have the European Sprint Championships in Ireland where I'm representing GB in my age group. I've signed up for the Duston Sprint Triathlon in April which is a qualifier for the World Championships and I've also committed to the MK half marathon on March 7th where I'm hoping to PB.

There'll be other stuff for sure, including a couple of half IM's before IMCH. But, for the moment, no targets, no goals, no times set in stone.

No pressure.

Hope you're all well.