Feel the fear and do it anyway – the title of a rather famous motivational mindset book which I read 10 years ago and cast aside. Then I had kids, got chubby, felt crap about my body image and became very disinclined to push myself beyond my limits.
Roll on 8 years and I finally changed my diet, lost the chubbiness, gained some energy and started taking note that the world had somehow left me behind. I was stuck in my narrow life – being a great Mum, adequate wife and keeping the house marginally tidy and clean. Its taken me over 18 months since then, of self inspection, some external courses and chatting to the occasional expert to realise – this is just my choice – my choice to stay in my comfort zone and not challenge myself both mentally and physically.
So – I have put a big hairy audacious goal in for 2016 – my fiftieth year. I am going to complete an Ironman – a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike and a marathon – all on the same day! For two years now I have been increasing the amount of cycling I do and I have completed the 180km distance a few times in one day – so cycling I am not so worried about.
Currently I am barely running due to injuries and muscle instability around my knees. But I will sort this – I have never been more motivated to spend the necessary time at the gym and physio to get this right.
But its swimming that bugs me the most. Why – I am perfectly capable of swimming 3km in a pool currently – an additional 0.8km will not hurt will it? But the problem is that every ironman in the world does the swim in open water – and I have picked Cairns Ironman – the swim takes place in a bay – sheltered hopefully, but still with the possibility of waves and swell.
And this – this is a BIG problem. I HATE waves, swell and open water. I did not grow up as a swimmer, I did not live near a beach, I am english to make matters worse and I have panicked in a fair few watery situations. I have dropped out of a triathlon before in the swim and I have not entered the water in other situations – too scared to face it.
BUT Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. I cannot leave the Ironman to chance. I must face my fears every week and conquer them to show myself that this is possible, that I can do it,. that I will not train in vain only to panic at the start of the swim next June and not start – wasting 9 months of effort.
And they say – celebrate small successes along the way – so today I am doing just that. I completed a milestone today. I started the Bold and Beautiful Swim leaving Manly Surf Club daily at 6.30am – I swam out with the pack to the point and then headed for Shelley Beach. I was nearly last there and barely had time to stop when the pack began the return leg. I returned some way behind but tracking my girl friend stroke for stroke. I barely looked up – it panics me to know how far I still have to go. I completed the 1.5km round trip. To be honest the waves were not huge, there was barely a swell – and the weather was nice – but its a milestone for me and I’m proud of it.
If I can do this swim weekly, if I can go out even if conditions worsen, if I can do it without the comfort of a friend on my shoulder – IF…. well, these are still the remaining hurdles but one step at a time – I may just be a happy openwater swimmer one day and then – I will be an IRONMAN.
You don’t have to complete an Ironman to change your comfort zone and show yourself you are awesome – its whatever your goal is for you. But embrace the fear, challenge yourself, break it down into small steps – and DO IT. Life is for living.
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