February is here!
Getting ready for an ultra distance mountain bike marathon which is 70 days away, my fourth year in a row and I’m grateful and blessed to have the ability to train, raise my fitness and watch my progress.
Early morning rise and shine for a quick quality ride and weekend long hauls for quantity have been pretty much the thing the past 2 months. I am not a pro or super athlete but I am my own hero to self as I established last year again doing the same event for the third time.
My very first ever attempt at racing and circumnavigating a small section of the ‘Klein Karoo in the Western Cape province of South Africa, covering a single stage race of 361km and chasing a clock with a 36hr deadline, I failed dismally. My body may have been ready somewhat but my mind had been inadequately prepared. That was 2015.
Going after bigger challenging adventurous mountain bike events created a massive personal learning curve for me in 2014 as well as 2015. Two of my biggest distinctive race failures also became my biggest teachers. I failed on my first attempted 2400km Freedom Challenge race across South Africa in 2014, even though it was a crushing crash in the race that ultimately put paid to it after completing around 600km of the total distance. In 2015, I watched someone close to me fight and then ultimately lose her battle with cancer. During this time my mind became occupied. At some stages my mind was empty and I lost desire. I lost passion. I went into my first ever 361km single stage race in 2015 running on empty and bailed at 80km.
It was the learning to deal with the devastating feeling of failure and grappling with a loss of someone close respectively that made me realize that there are always teachings in the failures we endure and the impactful lives we lose along the way. There were also simple teachings about human nature and the critics that chose to draw their own conclusions and voice their own negative opinions without knowing the facts or a damn thing about you.
In 2016 I went on to complete my second attempted 361km single stage race and then went on to finish my second attempted 2400km Freedom Challenge race across South Africa! I still have dreams to do a third Freedom Challenge when and if the finance is available. I completed my third attempted 361km single stage race in 2017.
We come into this world effectively alone. We will leave this world one day effectively on our own too. We effectively answer to no one but ourselves. When we learn things or experience things, we do not do so for others but rather we learn and experience things for ourselves. The ‘teachers are all around us and we choose to learn from them or not. The experiences are all around us to take hold of whether we want to or not. You do not require permission to learn or validation to smooth out your insecurities.
With the learning and the experiences you gain, you too then can become a ‘teacher to others should you choose. Whether others choose to learn from you and experience the outcome of lessons learnt, that would be their decisions alone and so the cycle of effectiveness or ineffectiveness continues.
We have a tenancy to be too hard on ourselves. Don’t! Sometimes we develop feelings of inadequacies, or insecurities and we can find ourselves comparing ourselves to others. Don’t! When we do this we lose sight and overlook our very own achievements. Don’t be embarrassed about your failures. Embrace and learn from them. Also, no matter how big or small your achievements are, focus on them and be proud.
My failures have taught me perseverance. They have taught me how resilient I am. Through my childhood with a hearing handicap, my learned ability to overcome adversities in most forms and the ability to turn it into strengths and find a way to keep moving forward is always motivation for me.
Sometimes we have to fail to gain something. Sometimes we have to seek so we can find. Sometimes we have to lose so that we can inadvertently win.
I have survived childhood. I have survived adolescent. I have survived heartbreaks. I have survived depressions. I have survived my handicap. I have survived bullies. I have survived disappointments. I have survived many things up to this point that may have or would have broken many others.
We never give ourselves enough credit when it’s due and I certainly didn’t in my past but I survived because I chose to! … ‘no matter how big or small your achievements are, focus on them and be proud.’
The opinions of others are not important but rather your own opinion of self is what matters most!
I have come to understand and be reminded daily that everything in life is choice.
Your very own choice….
“There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.”
― Paulo Coelho