Do what you love – and nothing will stop you. If you do what you love you’re swimming upstream. Do what you think you should do, or try to force yourself to do something and push too hard, and you’ll always swim against the current. Do what you love and the current goes with you, plans fall into place, things happen.
I heard a brilliant woman talking on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour this morning. Her name is Nagwa Ghorab, she’s a 74-year-old Masters Swimmer. She was the Egyptian champion in her youth and after a career as a teacher she decided to pick it up again. She told interviewer, Jenny Murray, that ‘the champion was inside her’ since she was 16 years of age – and that she’d been waiting for this.
We all have a thing we love to do. For me it’s endurance events. Over the last 16 years I’ve taken part in 18 marathons, an ultra marathon of 39 miles and a multi-stage relay in Himalayas of 100 miles. Nagwa said, ‘she couldn’t stop it’ and I couldn’t or can’t either.
Many of us worry about the time it will take to train for big events, with work, family and the cost of travel, equipment, clubs and build up races, but if you’re doing what you love, there’s always a way. When Jenny asked Nagwa how she could afford to travel to events, she almost didn’t hear the question, and simply said. ‘I pay with my money. I’m not rich, but I’m happy,’ adding, ‘If somebody wants to do something, they will do it. I do what I want.’ *Listen to the show on iplayer (she’s on at 27 minutes).
I do have a lot of doubts about what I’m doing – and why I’m doing it. But I’ve learnt to trust that when I’m doing what I love, things fall into myself. Random thoughts become concrete plans, the goal and about what’s ahead shapes what I do day to day.
So this week I’m settling into the Ironman mindset. The decision to do an Ironman was taken a long time ago. I wasn’t sure when, where or how I was going to do it, but I knew I would have a go. I finally decided on Barcelona in the summer of 2016, whilst drinking coffee with elite Ironman Triathlete and coach Charlotte Saunders.
As a child I loved to swim (check out my instagram post today). Over the last 17 years my passion has been all about running and for my own peace of mind I’ve focussed on running more recently. But deep down I love endurance, and so I know I’ll find a way to make room for swimming and cycling.
The thought process and mindset is solidifying and this week random thoughts that will become part of the plan include:
- Doing one month off alcohol every three months. I’m half way through ‘stoptober’ (I did have mini break on Saturday and Sunday, but will add on a couple of November days to make up for this). So October, January, May, and September before the race.
- Getting some supplements and paying attention to the hormonal changes I may encounter as I hit my landmark birthday in December.
- Swapping strava and my gadgets to KM – it seems to be the way they do it in cycling, and might help me out of my must-do marathon mileage mindset.