Praise be to Anonymous, herald of fundraising gains, and Paul Bown, Goodgym Camden trainer/ultra runner/all around star chap. Currently the fundraising is sitting at about thirty quid below double what I ever planned to raise. Inbloodycredible.
Today’s tourist embarrassment: walked into the physiotherapist place in Copenhagen that I’d booked a sports massage at (what can I say, after last week there’s still enough self loathing in me to go back for more). Finally have the courage to attempt these foreign language skills I’ve been working on. Tried to speak Danish to the masseuse. She didn’t understand a word that I said – because, as it turns out, she was from the faraway and exotic lands of Gloucestershire. Now I don’t know if my Danish is actually just terrible or if hers is, although I have to guess the former as she at least lives here. Anyway, it was a very nice massage, none of that painful stuff this time that leaves you drained for days afterwards. Perfect for race week.
I’m currently feeling much calmer than I thought I would at this point. Maybe that’ll change when I finally reach Kalmar, but for now things are pretty chill. I’m feeling, dare I say it, focused.
A lot of this will seem to fly in the face of yesterday’s rant on impatience, but they kind of apply to different areas of the psyche in my own slightly skewiffy view on things, but today I’m going to focus on presenteeism. Thinking in the present. Being focused on the now.
The typical idea of depression that springs to mind is the one of someone who, for whatever reason and whatever situation, is stuck in the past, unable to quite escape or come to terms with something. I was no different. Plucky amateur triathlete I might be, but I’m a damn pro when it comes to crucifying the self for past missteps. Everyone is. I doubt there was a soul who walked into my therapist’s chambers that couldn’t do that.
There was no real concern about looking to the future in that I didn’t see one, or didn’t want to see the one I saw. It would only ever be a potential (or inevitable, as I’d often think) an unmitigated disaster. That would be where the suicide came in. The present was a series of not sleeping enough, being told I was unfit for work, not eating enough, and biweekly visits to therapy where I’d try and find things about this really morbidly uneventful life to talk about for an hour. You can probably see where the obsession with the past came in, because at least it was something.
Stop panicking – I said today would be more upbeat. These things, over the course of a lengthy stint of attentive goal seeking, don’t seem to be as much of an issue for me anymore. Part of this is purely down to workload, to keeping busy and not affording me the time for the naval gazing I’d loved to indulge in (see: this entire week of posts). Between training for an Ironman, and then race season rolling around, and obsessing about winning a triathlon league, and having a shiny new job, and a shiny new house, and all through this writing what is now well over your average novel’s word count of blog posts; time has been at a bit of a premium. That seems to work for me, keeping busy enough that I don’t have the time to think too much. It’s a similar thing to not being able to sleep well without headphones and some ambient noise – so long as the brain can be stopped from doing its thing, it’s all gravy.
That’s only half of it, though. I look to the past now, and I see someone who had a goal that seemed stupid, near impossible, contravening all reasonable advise from people who know this sport better than I; and I took that goal, and I worked on it, and maybe I didn’t see the difference from day to day but over the months there’s been a hell of an improvement. I’m not just looking at finishing a first Ironman, I’m looking at smashing it, top quarter of the field, maybe higher.
This too – when I look to the future, things are a lot more positive (unless you’re my bank manager, but no one likes that guy so don’t be him). I’m much more cool with myself, and who I am. I have found a hobby that I love and that I’ve stuck at. I took a goal, I worked at it, and regardless of Saturday’s time I know I have that mentality to draw on again. Things are no longer permanently overcast. There is now proof of improvement.
Too stop myself before this turns into too much of a non-humble bragging platform, obviously I am not perfect at this. There’s a balance of healthy self-reflection, and I still have my wobbly moments. But I’d say I’m doing to lot better at the optimism. That can only be a good thing.
Also, part of the reason I’m doing this is to raise funds and awareness for The Maytree Respite Centre, a small charity in North London that provides support for people going through a suicidal crisis – so if you’d like to support my fundraising efforts, please click here. Thanks so much!