China - A fist punch in the face

I went to China with expectations sky high, mostly from myself. But I also came with a mission, I was hired to perform. Well! This China adventure didn't really turn out the way I wanted. 

I could present to you a million excuses, or at least 10 or so. And they should all be true and most likely also played it's part in the outcome of this race. But I won't. Because I feel like if I do, I also tell myself that it was okay, and it's not on me. Instead I'm gonna take the slightly harder way out of this. To actually focus on what I could have done and didn't and learn something from that.

Photo Jonatan Fernström

Photo Jonatan Fernström

The race was hard. Fast, hot and demanding, with a lot of climbing both in biking sections and in the very long running sections. Kayak sections where few, only two in four days, unfortunately.

Photo Jonatan Fernström

Photo Jonatan Fernström

First day was a break point already from start. The biking went okay but when we came to a part where we had to carry our bikes, I felt like my body shut down totally. I felt like a dishrag. I could barely move my legs. Recovered a bit on the bike at a fun downhill section. But that drained feeling came storming back at the running section. For every cave we passed I got more and more broken. The caves were a lot more up and down and up, up, up than I imagined. Normally I grow stronger into a race. I feel like when I push my self, I always find a source of power. It might be awfully hard, and involving a decent portion of pain. But there's always power. This time not so much. And this took me to the next problem. Not recognizing myself challenge my mental strength at a new level.

Second day. It could only be better, I could only be stronger. Kayak start, and with confident and determination of pulling of a great day we did a solid performance and got to TA as 4th with a great mindset to head out biking. But more carry bike where ahead, and it hit me even harder. With no excuses, my bike is one of the lightest in the market and I'm not one of the lightest girls in the game, so I should be abel to carry my super light weight carbon bike.

Third day, dust yourself off, pick yourself up, back in the game. This day was a killer. Warmer, more humid and offering a long and hilly running section. The pace in the team was over all a little less intense today and I manage to hold myself at the right side of the line. But strong and powerful...not so much. 

Fourth day. Please just let this be over now, but also somewhere deep down I had the urge of doing a good days work. But no, no magical power arrived during night. Another tough day, just longing for it to be over. I actually had some brief moments in the running section where I felt pretty okay. But it passed.

Photo Jonatan Fernström

Photo Jonatan Fernström

After long and messy travels home, I first just let disappointment fill me for awhile. For me this was helpful. Not to rusch the part where I had to figure out some good stuff and get back up, because then I also didn't stretch the negative thoughts, it lasted for a couple of days and then I moved on. I now know how I'm gonna handle this situation better next time. How to make more to avoid it and also how to fight it better.

I have a habit of looking into details  in a race, don't actually know why but it was something I picked up from a presentation about working with goals. To find the things you actually did good. In this race I found out that we where second best team at the swimming section and the fastest team at the finishing orienteering. So out of 24h we were kick-ass in 40 minutes. That calls for a big celebration.

And somehow (and this is a bit dorky and cliche, so go ahead and mock me in the comments) a failure and a punch in the face slowed things down a bit. Things have been picking up speed, like an objekt falling free. When it goes well, expectations tend to accelerate to astronomical speed. And in that pace it's hard to see the fist aiming at you face.  

I'm not gonna say that after all I'm just human (hey, we need some kind of boundaries when it comes to cliches). Well I am, well we all are. But in this case I was hired to be a machine. And I know that I can be. So I will be again. But I'm also learned to cut myself some slack. And to stay me, a bit humle and a bit nervous and happy and loving the race, the challenge and getting tired. 

Jag är inte klar på långa vägar för jag sitter på en dröm
med tusen skäl för varför jag ska resa mig igen
har tusen skäl till varför jag ska sträva framåt
och tusen skäl till att visa att jag kan nåt
— Petter, Jag sitter på en dröm
Photo Jonatan Fernström

Photo Jonatan Fernström

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