Back in October when I last wrote I was struggling to get back into training. Motivation was a struggle. I feel as if I've almost had to grieve for the loss of the goal. The "five stages" (Kubler-Ross) typically quoted are below. I've represented them in the order I feel I experienced them (this time):
- Denial - "I don't believe it!"
- Anger - "robbed of my opportunity by the stupid English weather"
- Bargaining - "I'll sacrifice life for another 9 months, I have to do this now"
- Depression - "I don't want family and work to suffer for this damn challenge"
- Acceptance - "I am ready to train, and can balance the demands of my life for the next 16 months".
Last October when I wrote, I was angry and in "bargaining". I had convinced myself that I should bash on for another 9 months, and that the sacrifices would be ok. Not long after I had written this, I was sitting in a hotel room in Brisbane, having begun travelling regularly for work as the business expands, feeling guilty about not having made it to the pool. Being honest, I was thoroughly depressed, and in a moment of clarity realised that if I didn't remove some strain from my life I would crack. There are really only three things in my life: Family, work, and swimming. The swimming had to be deprioritised as work's a massive committment (necessarily) and my wonderful family was due to expand to three children in Feb.
So, over a plate of sashimi and miso soup I decided to push the channel back another year, and focus my time on my family, work (Tempurer). and general health and wellbeing. I was nursing various injuries, was 10kg overweight (channel fat), and had become pre-diabetic through all the weight gain and high GI food.
I am sorry I did not write sooner, I have often thought about doing this, but I knew at some point the time would be right as I'd have clarity on what would follow. So, let's address these priorities one by one, and then talk about the plan:
- Family - last week Sascha and I had our third baby, and third girl! Wonderful addition, and the five of us have had a great week together hanging out and being a family.
- Work - business going really well and expanding internationally this year. We have a great team and awesome product, the market seems ready, and the world is our oyster.
- Health - have made great progress: hand injuries fixed, lost 8kg of the extra 10, through detox and diet change have stopped taking the pre-diabetic medicine.
- Grief / mental health: I have reached acceptance, and rediscovered my love of swimming, particularly in the ocean. With the support of great coaches (thanks Vlad & Charm), and great mates (Frosty Nuts) with whom no swimming adventure is dull, I am back in both the ocean and the pool, and swimming better than ever.
The plan is now clear. I have booked the first slot of the 2014 channel season (1 - 10 July). That gives me 16 months to train. I am optimistic, have a great training buddy (Cae) who's also committed for the same window, and am starting from a much better place both physically and mentally than I did last time.
I thank you all for your ongoing interest and support. I will aim to provide an update, hopefully in the form of an entertaining story about an adventure in training. If you have aspects of the process that particularly interest you, please post a comment or write to me. It's always wonderful to get feedback!