Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The luxury of sport

The journey is long. Longer than I thought. And full of potholes! And it feels like I lost my map quite a while ago.

I haven't written in a while. Life has got in the way. It feels like a struggle at the moment and I am sad to say there is little enjoyment in our everyday tasks. I don't know if it is a delayed reaction to our loss, as a family, though every day that goes past it feels like the gap my dad left is getting bigger, not smaller. Or maybe just tiredness, after a very long, very difficult year. Either way I have been feeling deflated and just so so tired.

We have had to move out of our lovely little house and into my family home. It was a decision made mainly for financial reasons and it has been harder than any of us thought. Physically, emotionally and financially it has taken a huge toll and we are at the end of our third week of moving, with a lot of our stuff still in boxes, having to make some decisions. Our IM training has taken a huge hit - we have done no structured training since racing 3 and bit weeks ago. We have to decide whether racing in Copenhagen is prudent, or in fact even possible.

I was reading a very old issue of Inside magazine the other day, an interview with Dean Karnazes (if you don't know who Karnazes is, he is worth a google!) This is what he says:

Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we'd be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we're so comfortable we're miserable. There's no struggle in our lives. No sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes easy. What I've found is that I'm never more alive than when I'm pushing and I'm in pain, and I'm struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle I think there's a magic. (for the full interview http://outside.away.com/outside/features/200701/dean-karnazes-interview-1.html)

It definitely struck a chord with me. It gave me insight into why I do endurance sport... but also into the huge cultural differences there are between Greece and Western culture, namely what I know of Western culture, the UK. OK, it also gave me an excuse, a way out, a reason for my inability to concentrate on training or anything tri related.

Sport, especially endurance sport with its pain and suffering, is a luxury. A luxury for when your every day life is not a struggle. I am not under the illusion that everyone who does endurance sport leads perfect lives, but in the last three weeks it has felt like both D and I have expended massive amounts of energy to get through every day that we had none to throw into our training.

When we moved from London it took us 20 minutes to cancel our bills, on the phone and online. Here in Greece it took me several days of queueing, arguing, submitting useless sheets of paper and a little bit of begging. In London I did the weekly shop in the half hour it took me to log into Sainsbury's online and choose the products I wanted delivered to my house. In Greece it takes me several hours a week, dealing with unsmiling cashiers and having to fight my way to vegetable weighing as no one knows how to queue I know... hardly a tragedy - there are people in the world who don't have the luxury of the super market or indeed have very little food. It sounds so petty when I type it, but nothing is easy here. And it seems that the little things have been accumulating. They have been eating away at our energy, to leave us empty, bitter and deflated. (It was helpfully all topped up when our new neighbour, who got annoyed with us asking him not to throw his rubble in our skip and stuck four nails, one on each of our tyres for fun. Welcome to the neighbourhood!)

We have been trying to refocus. To look at the positives. We are getting back into a routine that will allow us to train, play and have fun. We love triathlon and, most of the time, it relieves the problems of our every day life. So we are plotting our return...

1 comment:

  1. It may help to know that there are some Greeks too who can't deal with the way things work here in this country! The current, more open minded generation, has to deal with the traditional old style turtle pace minded beings. It can feel even worse for those who live here and have spent a significant time of their life abroad (like me, 9 years in UK). However, things have a small tendency to improve and it relieves me to know that there are some people out there who think 'out of the box'.