High & Dry But Firmly In The Deep End

Oh dear….what the HELL did I just let myself in for?

Did I really think about the consequences of saying ‘yes’ without giving full thought as to the repercussions of what just rolled off my tongue less than a month out from an event like this?

I think I may have firmly thrown myself in the deep in on this one, the exception being that for most of it I’ll be high and dry and I really should have dedicated a minimum of six months to a proper preparation.

It was never officially in the plan to do Red Bull Defiance, the gruelling two day, two person teams multi sport race around Lake Wanaka, but when you drop a couple of loose words into conversation that you’d ‘be up for it’ you have to be careful what you wish for.

Sure enough the phone started ringing to see if I’d fill in for an injured half of a team.

‘Yes’ seemed to roll off the tongue before a deluge of a few ‘oh shit’ moments started running through my mind as the reality of what I was committing to began to sink in.

 

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Don’t get me wrong, I spend a fair bit of time running and riding around the hills of Lake Wanaka, the Southern Lakes and Central Otago when I’m at home, often with some of the best in the adventure racing and multisport business, but it’s a very different proposition going from some fun in the hills with your mates to lining up on a start line of a multi discipline, multi day event.

Call it respect for the craft of others and respect for how others ply their trade –  but multisport is no joke and these are some of the baddest hard-asses you’ll ever come across.

Racing back to back over two days and with one of the harshest run courses you’ll come across, there’s a reason they called this one ‘Defiance’. It’s more than likely that one half of your team will be suffering at some point and teams racing is vastly different to making it from the start to the finish under your own steam.

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But when the opportunity arises to step out of your comfort zone and get down and dirty in the hurt locker, it’s hard to say no. I’m stepping into the unknown and it will be as much about doing and experiencing as it will be finishing.

Managing the highs and lows of a team dynamic, avoiding costly and frustrating mechanicals and operating in a state of physical deterioration is just the challenge that has been needed to spice up the month of January.

To think two years ago that I’d be even contemplating doing something like this on a knee that has had 9x surgeries and countless injuries is testimony to the benefits of regenerative medicine and rehab.

Stay tuned for some of the logistics and preparation that go into preparing for an event like this, i’ll be putting the best of my planning experience to work on this one to ensure we hit the start line in the best possible shape to make it from the start to the finish on January 21 & 22.

 

Ever had that sense that you may have had too much of a good thing?

Feeling a little ‘fatigued’ but not really sure why?

The clocks have turned and it’s dark at early-o’clock.

Welcome to the dearth of the “Off Season” and taking scalps the world over.

While the lands down under are emerging from winter hibernation, the harsh realities of the winter are about to unleash on our northern comrades

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While the temperatures may be plummeting this can be the time to embrace and welcome a whole new world of fun and games you never knew existed.

They say a change is as good as a holiday and the change of the seasons is exactly that.

But while many will extol the value of working on your weaknesses or what you need to be doing in your “off” season (no matter what your sport, job, passion, hobbies or pursuits), I like to take a different approach – and it all starts with mind set.

Regardless of the season, I start to make lists along the lines of ‘if anything was possible, and time or money were no barrier’ what would I want to do? And I’m not talking about sport – I’m talking about life in general.

It’s a pretty powerful statement and it can be pretty intriguing looking at what you write down.

Once you’ve conjured up your list (this comes recommended to do this over a fine brewed drip of caffeine or decent glass of fermented grape juice) the fun really starts and the jigsaw of how to incorporate these things into daily life begins.

A sucker for trying to pack too many things in, I invariably end up with a list that I know is completely unachievable – but by jotting it down I know that at the very least I have acknowledged the things that has been lurking in the depths of my subconscious.

I revolve on a yearly schedule that is fairly unusual, and being someone who thrives on routine and structure, I have to exist in a world which allows little of either.

But what I can do is section out the year – and yes, I hollow out an ‘off season’ and guard it with my life.

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In years gone by, I’ve succumbed to the lure of either pleasing other people or foregoing my own sanity to do what I felt others wanted and needed me to do.

The result? A pretty decent dose of mental fatigue, elements of burn out and starting to hate the things I liked to do. (I’ll temper that statement with the reality that at certain points in your career – no matter what it is, you’ll have to go above and beyond if you really, truly want to make your mark).

So for the 3rd successive year, I have officially declared ‘the off season’.

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A period of recovery, rejuvenation and reconnection with the things that really matter. It’s unstructured (yes, that still challenges on many levels), there are no rules but there is a massive emphasis on doing many of the things I miss doing during the year.

Simply put, there’s a mental, physical and emotional triangle that needs to be put back into equilibrium.

It’s an evolutionary process and one which I find myself changing and adapting each year depending on what feels out of balance.

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Having grown up around many different environments of high performance sport and people who have reached momentous feats in many different walks of life, I’m fascinated with what makes them tick and what allows them to consistently perform to levels of greatness.

One of the things I recognise in those that have to spend large amounts of time away (as you do when you have to travel prolifically for work or sport) is that these people are fiercely protective of their ‘off’ time – be it an ‘off season’, time with family, a vacation or something far removed from what they have to engage in for majority of the year.

So where am I going with this and what is my point?

Embrace your ‘off’ and don’t be afraid of it.

The more you do something, the more important it becomes.

On a personal level, this means coming home. Back to the mountains and to relish the opportunity to do things I don’t get to do much of throughout the year. Depending on how unbalanced my triangle of equilibrium is (mental, physical, emotional) – I use this to guide what this time entails.

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It’s a time to debrief and to plan with absolute objectivity. It’s a time to rebuild and repair from the bottom up. It’s a time to go and be humbled in the most humbling of ways (this happens frequently when you hail from a village of super human athletic specimens).  It’s a time to challenge the status quo and re-evaluate.

I’m not going to lie – it can be a challenging time.

Be it the end of your season, a staleness in your career, a dissatisfaction at work or the imminent challenge of SAD (seasonal affects disorder) as the grim realities of winter set in – embrace the opportunity to do things differently.

Here’s cheers to the off season – may it be as epic as the rejuvenation, challenge, change, growth and excitement it may bring.

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To find out how I’m embracing my “OFF” follow  my Instagram and Facebook pages.