"The strongest oak tree of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It's the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun."
- Napoleon Hill -
So the other day I put in a call to my longtime Atlanta friend, Tony Myers. I'm in Atlanta to do some marketing for the Rev3tri Knoxville race and Tony (and his ROCKIN', best-in-Atlanta cycle classes are a must-hit when I am in town) is someone I always make an effort to see.
I asked Tony if he would mind testing my Vo2. I'm not really sure why I asked this, really. Did I want to be faced with the reality? It's not like I don't KNOW the reality. Still, getting some up to date information on one's physiology can be helpful. I am not an advocate of doing workouts that are too hard before one's body has reached that level of fitness .... you can't lull around indefinitely ... but, at least for me, I always benefit from aerobic fitness. Knowing some real numbers for any training I can do will be helpful.
Tony, supportive friend that he is, said, "Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuure, girl - we'll test ya!"
Man, that mask is hard to breathe into! The test is painful but it's only a few minutes of pain. Your AT (anaerobic threshold) can be determined pretty quickly once your effort is high enough.
Carole: It's bad huh?
Tony: You're pretty out of shape, girl.
Carole: I know... but I can fix it...
Tony: Well, yes, but more than that - you should see this.
Tony: You should see how good this test is... and you're not fit.
Carole (Eyebrows raise...)
Tony: This is the profile of an extremely elite athlete. Your fitness is shit but even at your current level this data is exceptional. You need to get back in shape ... but you've got the goods if you want to do this thing (triathlon) again....
Tony: Yup. You were meant to be an athlete, Carole.
I continued to lightly spin as I let Tony's words echo in my head, and let them marinate a bit...
Then something unexpected.... something a little exciting... I felt some of the Carole moxie reignite a bit. I'm not a completely washed up, tired, old, useless triathlete. I am out of shape... but I can fix that... if I want it....
I smiled to myself as I realized - I do.
I haven't wanted to get back to this sport for a long time. I wanted it because I thought I should want it; but my spirit had been broken for a very long time. When you're not happy, when you're not doing something you love, when you're totally isolated ... the spirit can die.
Something is different. I feel something different. The desire is there again. My heart is in a different place.
Coming back to the sport, after 2+ years of heartbreak and physical roadblocks, will be the challenge of a lifetime.
Luckily I do well with challenges.... odds stacked against me? They always have been. This is where I thrive. I've never been handed anything in my life. Ever. I have sweat and bled for every small inch I've been given - and I'm grateful for it. It's what my work ethic and character is based on. I've taught myself how to be tough. Conquering that which would break other people? Bring it. Very few could come back from what I have been through - mind, body, spirit - and its duration .... very few could. But I could.
I will never be one of the best in our sport... I have never been nor will I ever be at that level - but what I will be able to do in a relatively short time will, I think, surprise some people.
The flame isn't dead. It's time to go................