Every day is special.
We get to crawl from slumber and try it again. Whatever the it happens to be. I respond to imagery of the clean slate. A fresh start. The past erased. Make today what you want. Color it. Throw some texture to it. Shade it. Frame it. Roll with it. Add some love.
And then inspect it, critique it and look for ways to make it better. Sure, it's all a little easier when the weather cooperates or we enjoy the security of a fat savings account, but easy isn't always the path to success. Nor is it the road to fulfillment. Easy has nothing to do with happy. Name me something of value that came to you easy. Quick.
Your significant other?
None of the above most likely applies to you as it certainly does to me. The terms fight, scratch and kick come immediately to mind. Sometimes I think we start wars just so we have something concrete with which to test ourselves. To make it real. Courage can be hard to find sometimes. Teamwork? Sacrifice? Drama? Meaning? Discipline? It cuts to the chase in a hurry when somebody else's prime motivation is to take you down. Every day becomes real special under these conditions. And how.
I think back to when I was first getting started in endurance sports. The years have dulled the mental images somewhat, but the emotions remain vibrant and pure. I remember the finish line of my first marathon as if it were yesterday. Same with my virgin Ironman. It is a completely different space, the presence of peace, completion, satisfaction and gratitude. Absolute physical and mental exhaustion. I find it hard to complete coherent sentences, almost a goo-goo-gaa-gaa. These are special moments. But the ones standing the clearest in my mind are the moments just prior to the start. A thousand questions fly and flutter in the consciousness cyclone; Am I ready? Have I trained hard enough, long enough, smart enough? Am I rested, topped off and hydrated? Is my gear all in perfect working condition? Is my head clear? Am I confident and in control? And on.
Am I thankful for being here? THIS moment, this race, this day? Am I ready to accept the challenge and face the fear of the coming unknown? Can I maintain my focus for 140.6 miles? Can I keep it in the present moment over the course of the next 10 hours, 45 minutes and 46 seconds, one at a time, in the flow, finding strength in the fluid efficiency of rhythmic repetition? Stroke, breathe, rotate, drink, strike, relax.
Today the testing continues. Yesterday was a hard one, having to pull out at mile 75 of the scheduled 112 with leg cramps. The ice, the massage, the Shiraz, the doubt, the too little recovery time are all testing me. It was a sleepless night, a cramp here, two there. I wish I could take a week off and heel up, but duty calls. There will be more change as we face some tough decisions this week and next. Some form of routine will again emerge and create a structure with which to explore and experiment. Every day is special. Every day has a personal, intimate, golden message silently and patiently waiting. Waiting for me to see. To hear. To accept. To defer to or learn from.
I inspect my slate and find it already half full. This isn't going to be easy, so much left to do. Mine fields everywhere. I remember standing ankle deep in a cold river ten minutes before the start of my first Ironman. Take all these random thoughts and isolate the priorities. See them and execute. You can fight, you can scratch and you can kick. But it might be easier and therefore BETTER to relax, expand and be the flow. It is going to be a long day, enjoy the ride. This one and every one. Cramps or no.
Because every day is special.