I now stand here just under a week out from the Hawaii Ironman World Championships. I should be on a plane, on my way to the enlightened place that is like the Garden of Eden for triathletes – Kona. The sacred lava fields and the magical place that is the finish line, able to immerse every blessed athlete in a drug-like serenity more addictive than heroin.
Instead, I’m back home, 10 weeks post major foot surgery (and still in a boot), preparing to do a presentation for a medical conference this Saturday. I’ll be speaking in front of 150 doctors, physios and health professionals about one of my specialty areas, which is an opportunity I never thought I would be granted this early in my Physio career. I am truly humbled by it.
So what would I choose, if I had the choice, of Kona or this conference? Kona, in a heartbeat. Not even a question. But as it turns out, not being able to race has given me this opportunity, which will in the long run build my career to a place of more freedom, which will allow me to train and compete as a more focused, well-rounded Ironman athlete in the decades to come. It’s all a big circle, this merry-go-round called life that we are on. And the important thing to remember is this: just don’t stand still.
Growing up as a child of the 80’s with snow-obsessed parents, Warren Miller movies were entitled to cult status in our household. And I never really got that famous Warren Miller musing: “when you come to a fork in the road, take it”. Now, I finally get it. When life throws a spanner at you, don’t stand there blinded to the rest of the world. Don’t kick and scream and fight it. Look around at all the other open doors that this (knockback) opportunity has allowed you. Pick one – any one – just do anything other than stand there fighting something that you now have absolutely no control over. What’s done is done, been and gone. Take a deep breath, look outside your current sandstorm and take a step in a direction that looks sunnier than where you are now.
Feel the immense relief and lightness of being in not having to fight any more. Just let go, and allow yourself to be uplifted by something bigger than yourself.
You just never know what lies ahead on the road up ahead.