This is the end of a tough day, in the middle of a tough week, during a tough month etc etc ... you get the picture.
No day is easy but today was pretty rough, a very early morning, hard 2 hours in the pool...ride in the afternoon then a hard run set tonight. Doesn't sound too insane but along with the rest of the week, the racing of last weekend and the new strength & conditioning programme my legs are wrecked, eyes are tired and I still have quite a few more days to go before a day off and a sleep in.
May sound like a grumble but its the exact opposite, you have to do your best to feed of all the tough stuff just as much as you can easily feed off the good days. So after a tough morning I manned up and got on with it. By the time my run set finished tonight (in the pouring rain) I was buzzing :)
Days of highs and lows are not uncommon and if you can get through them there's no big celebration...its just the alarm going off at 5am again for another day. Quite a playboy life!
Annnnyway, I've had quite a few very good and important questions asked of me over this past week and during the last few days I've had a good chance to think them over.
This past weekend a very well respected swimming coach and old friend of mine sat me down and asked me some good questions relating to the past 10 years I've been racing. He's known me since I was 12 so has seen me grow up, it meant a lot to sit back down with him as an adult and chat about growing up as an athlete.
Q: Mike if there was one thing you were allowed to go back to your 14 year old self and share, in the knowledge you have now as a senior athlete, what would it be?
A: Ahh, I mean there would be a thousand things I'd want to say. I'd want to warn myself of the ups and downs, remind myself of the goals and the commitment...but really all of those things are there to be discovered, dealt with along the way and in turn make you a stronger person and athlete at the end of the tunnel. So much of what I know now could have helped in training and racing as a teenager, maybe I would have been more positive, more confident in myself but again what you are now is a direct result of what has happened in the past. You wouldn't want to go messing with things that could have a negative effect in later years.
(Once I had thought about it for a while I came up with a good answer though)
I guess if I had to tell myself one thing it would be this: Give 100% everyday, every training session is just as important as the last, be it a steady or max effort set. In races give 100%, you WILL not die, it may feel like you are about to but trust me (my younger self) you wont.
I know full well I could have been told that every day as a 14 year old and I still would never have done it. Life is too busy, things are happening very quickly and the little big things in sport get pushed to the side. I was given so much awesome advice and constant daily reminders about what I should be doing and most of the time I didn't listen.
Without all those reminders though, without the nagging and being yelled at. Without NOT listening and learning the hard way I would never have made it this far...and I would never be as determined as I currently am now, sitting in my bed, writing past my bedtime...and feeling guilty for it.
The question I was asked allowed me to rethink some of the things I've gone through in the past and what has shaped the path I'm currently on.
The moral of the story?
Think about the past, rethink, analyse. But don't wish it had turned out differently, it's what made you what you are today and trust me, that's not a bad thing at all.