Note: This was written during the winter of the first season I 'retired' from professional racing. It was definitely a time of reflection and questioning...
I was reading U2byU2, and Bono was talking about looking at a picture of himself 20 years ago. Somebody asked him what the Bono of today would ask the Bono of 20 years ago? His response inspired my thoughts.
...Is it possible to go back to looking at the world, wide-eyed and wondering, full of excitement and curiosity? To look with the confidence of naivety and youth? Can you have too much knowledge about something to get that feeling back? - Bono
I remember how exciting things were when they were new. Especially in running/triathlon. I remember when I started doing longer runs. The challenge and thrill of going a bit farther each time and proving to myself that my body could do it was a feeling like no other. I felt like I was continually discovering new boundaries and breaking through them. Every training session was an adventure, something new, something untested. There is excitement in that. An excitement that I have not been able to tap into for the last few years.
I wonder if I will ever be able to find that excitement again. Way back, it occurred in sports, at the beginning of a new season, the beginning of a tournament. It occurred at school, the beginning of a new school year, the beginning of new classes. It occurred in music, new solo to learn, new methods to learn, recital to prepare for. You weren’t really sure what was around the corner, and you weren’t really sure you could handle it, but you were ready. Each day proved to yourself that you could handle it; you were good enough for the challenge.
This is surfacing now because I have lost the thrill, the excitement, in athletics. I’m afraid I have tapped out my motivation. I’m afraid there is no new adventure. In triathlon training, I can’t bike longer distances, I can’t run longer distances; at least it doesn’t make sense to. Where does the new challenge lie?
This state of limbo happened as I transitioned out of my career as a track and field athlete. I stopped competing in track because I saw the limit of my potential, the end of the journey. I resurrected my athletic interest when I found triathlon. For a few years, I was solely motivated on a pinnacle of triathlon, competing as a Professional Ironman. Now I have done 9 of them, and I didn’t really enjoy the last three. What comes next? Where is the next challenge?
How many times can you re-invent yourself?