I have found my place in this world. This place where i can be alone, be at one with nature, away from the hap-hazardous life style we as humans are faced with on a daily basis. While at the same time i can push my body physically and mentally to another level. A level not found in a gym or in a class room. This is different. Its an exhilarating burning sensation that occurs deep within my body, i hear the screams that come at me, an attempt to say STOP but my mind says, NO, the push continues! There is a sensation that drives me everyday. A thirst to feel it more often, a pathway to a dream i am currently following.
Xterra, this is my new home in the field of endurance sport. After in depth research, from nutrition,equipment and correct scientific methods of endurance training, i finally feel that my body is set in the right direction and now its a matter of dialing it in correctly to get the results i want. On the 23rd of May 2010, it marked my first Xterra event, in Waco Texas, this consisted of a 1.6km open water swim,30km mountain bike and 10km trail run. Having been in prep for 7 months, although a short period in an endurance athletes life, i felt ready. Having done the necessary training under difficult circumstance i felt well prepared and would have to wait and see when i crossed the finish line.
The race was everything i had imagined, having thought about every possible incident and the variables that could occur. Mental preparation had been key to my success, i had learned about this in my early days of racing bicycles. The race was like clock work, smooth as it could be for a "first timer", i did my bike to run transition in 9 seconds. This consists of racking my bike, taking gloves off, taking helmet off and switching shoes. Having not practiced this much in the months pre-race i was anxious to see how it would go, needless to say i was satisfied. I did the swim(see below) in 25min holding back to have stores for the later legs of the race, i biked in 1hour20min and the did the run in 50min. A result i can be pleased with, finishing 3rd in my age group, 13th in the pro division and 41st overall.
Chatting to a event organizer after the race, she asked, how old are you? 22 i replied, she gave a smile and said, "you just the puppy of this event". It was enough said to give me immediate relief knowing i have time to prove myself.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Amongst a year of adventure, challenges iv faced and a deeper appreciation for life ,i thought now would be a good time to inform you all of my done and doings over the past year.
In a few brief but detailed paragraphs i will attempt to tell you...
While my initial goals @ heart for traveling abroad would be to find myself, get to know who i really am, where i want to go in life and where i came from, whilst i strive to maintain my dream of becoming a pro athlete, the other goal is purely financial, having completed my 3rd year in Architecture, juggling training and racing in Durban South Africa, living from hand to mouth for 3 years, enough was enough and i needed to get out and make some decent money to boost my dream. Being brought up by some terrific parents, where, working hard for what you want in life was installed at a young age, i was faced with an immediate understanding of this! My mind set changed dramatically, no longer in the school boy mode i hit a realization that if i wanted something so bad i was going to have to sweat nails to achieve it.
So i applied to work at a summer camp in the USA as this was the "step in the door". 3 Months over the summer of 2009 i worked as a mountain bike instructor teaching kids and parents the basic skills and being a positive influence in their lives. A priceless experience i would do again at the drop of a hat, i walked away with new friends, a pocket full and memories for a life time. I then traveled with my new friend, a beast of a man, 6foot 3 giant 240 lbs Welshman, Connor McDonald! We traveled from Maine to Philadelphia, Phillie to Las Vegas, Vegas to Miami then to Orlando Florida and then from East coast to Los Angeles on the West coast all in a month. Memories every man wild at heart desires. I cant even calculate how many thousands of miles we did but i would do it all over again with him. Sleeping on our bags in airports, taking shifts so that we would not get robbed of our stuff. Times like these you can call living!
Connor had left after the month but i stayed on in LA. Trying to find work, using every method possible. Difficulties struck left, right and center as my visa only allowed for specific work. I received an email from a family i met @ camp. They had found me work for a family who needed an Au pair. It was ideal, i could train, make money and be fed for no expense. Back on the road i headed to Virginia DC after spending my birthday in New Jersey with my sister who was also Au pairing. Time flew by and i faced many challenges. Snow being the biggest. Trying to train in below freezing temperatures was not fun but i had the right state of mind to do so.
7 Months was the window i had to get fit for my first race. Xterra South central champs in Waco, Tx.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
It has been a year now since my departure from South Africa to the USA, i thought id start a blog now and share all my experiences ,also the experiences that changed my life over the past year, the people, the places and the people skills that come with travel. Priceless. Where the saying goes... "you will grow as a person", clearly stands out in my mind.
My reasons for starting this blog is simply:
- Share all my experiences, the whole truth!
- Keeping a reference of all my travels, archiving!
- Allow you all to understand me on an emotional/physiological level.
I have lost the nerve to keep writing in a book. I lost the nerve along time ago, however with the digital world it certainly makes life a lot easier to keep record. The convenience of technology has it perks, when it works.