Daring Greatly

Training Diary 2 Comments

Was I was discussing – OK – rambling about my reading habits recently and confessing that I’ve started reading about 20 books this year? Of which I’d only managed to finish about half….I think I told you that. Yes? Anyhoo…

Actually 10 books in 15 weeks is pretty good going for me. I read v-e-r-r-r-y  s-s-s-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-o-o-w-w-w-w–l-l-y.

However, my reading is making even slower progress, particularly in the last 4 weeks.

PT (which is the new measure for time: pre triathlon), I was reading each night to try and get my brain to slow down and go to sleep. My days at home were not too arduous, and my brain seemed to be struggling as much as me to divide one day from another. In fact, my brain was having an even harder time. It couldn’t separate day from night. And seemed to want to think thoughts 24/7. So, I was trying to read it into submission.

And it’s not like I was making all the “too much light/ blue light” mistakes.  I’m always very careful to keep electronics out of the bedroom. I can’t even stand an electronic clock, as the light emitted disturbs my slumber. And I know I’ll be tempted to Facebook until the wee small hours if my phone is close to hand, so that has to go on charge downstairs.

I  can fall foul of the drinking caffeine too late in the day, as I do like a cuppa before bed. But I was even trying to swap black tea for rooibos (when I remembered and didn’t just go into auto-pilot).

But all these things only had limited success.

SST (since starting triathlon), I now struggle to keep my eyes open past 8.30pm and sleep solidly until the alarm goes off – quite rudely – at 4.15am.

Despite triathlon, I have kept trying to keep up with the reading. And, I think I’ve finished maybe 12 books now. So that means, for you mathematicians, that I’m still reading in the order of 8 books simultaneously. Only I’m not really. Not actively. I have stopped reading the majority, but I have had 3 different books on the go. And the three I have been reading most recently are:

  • Daring GreatlyBrené Brown
  • Big MagicElizabeth Gilbert
  • Furiously HappyJenny Lawson

And as I’ve been ploughing through them, each references the others. So I’m randomly reading 3 books and it turns out these 3 authors are all friends and each mention one of the other books in their own work. Which is a bit of coincidence, don’t you think?

(OK, so Brené and Jenny are both Texas girls. And whilst Elizabeth is originally from the south, she lives in New York, I believe. But whatever – the USA is a pretty large place and has a huge population, so I still think it’s strange that all 3 books have a connection and I randomly happen to be reading them at the same time. Or is it just me?)

I’m pretty sure Elizabeth Gilbert would tell me that it’s big magic at play.

Jenny Lawson (who’s probably my favourite, but that might be because she worked in HR, owns a ginger cat that looks A LOT like Lord Oscarmort and blogs hilariously because crazy things happen in her head which then blurt out of her mouth – OK, so the resemblance ended at “blogs”) would probably put it down to mercury being in retrograde and use it as evidence that a) there were foxen in her garden or b) she needed to set fire to her shrink’s office. Or something equally random.

Brené would have a scientifically proven formula that demonstrates it is, in fact, not coincidence, but an indication of my vulnerability because I can’t concentrate on an individual tome and I’m too ashamed to admit how slowly I really read – honestly, toddlers are faster, and that I have people pleasing tendencies because the books were recommended by friends, who have similar reading tastes to one another and…. and … and….. Because that’s how she rolls.

Her book, Daring Greatly did strike a chord. Well, probably many. And it is about vulnerability.

The chord struck on my tiny violin, is a note of vulnerability that comes from being a Back of the Pack Superstar.

Whilst I have tried valiantly – OK, fairly valiantly – to be good at sport, I don’t have the talent.

Even though I really wanted to have some talent.

I wanted to be good at something sporty.

I’ve always wanted to believe that I could be better than I am. I could be, you know!

But there is that fear that actually I won’t be, can’t be, as good as I want to be.

So rather than putting 100% into any sporting endeavour, it’s easier to keep something back. Because that way, you know it’s not really your best effort. There was always a bit more in the tank. But because the tank has never been fully exhausted, there’s no way of proving how much bigger it actually is.

So, that’s been my approach. Whatever the result, I can safely say/know that there was always a bit more. It wasn’t the best I could do. I could have trained harder. Or more consistently. I could always be a bit, maybe a lot, better. But, you know, I didn’t try that hard. So yeah, whatever… today’s result doesn’t mean anything, does it…

But it does.

It means that I was too ashamed to find out.

I was too scared to really give it my best effort.

But not anymore.

I might well totally suck at triathlon. (And if you look at Strava, it isn’t showing any signs that I’ve left the back of the pack yet).


My swimming still resembles drowning, my cycling is a labour of love and my running is still a long way off my PB (which was always less than I hoped it would be).

Besides, the back of the pack is a great place to be. It’s the party place. It’s where my tribe hang out. So I don’t think there is a great need to up and leave.

But I finally seem to be reconciled to competing with myself. No-one else. Just me, and what I can do.

And it’s exciting.

It’s scary.

But somewhere, somehow triathlon has conjured big magic. And for the first time, I feel like I’m stepping into a sporting arena daring to be the best version of me. Regardless of where my name appears on the scorecard.

And that really is daring greatly!

Not to mention, liberating.


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