What then in the presence of greatness?

I was awed, a couple of weeks back, to spend a few moments watching Pedal Pete (aka Peter Arnott) complete yet another Everesting, one imbued with grief after the death of his niece. I watched him glide down his steep Everesting hill (he’d end up ascending and descending 150 times), not a muscle moving, a study in aerodynamic skill. He banked at the bottom, turned round. I watched him effortlessly rise up out of his seat and pump ferocious leg muscles smoothly, powerfully, as he made his way back up the road. I imagined myself doing this once, twice, three times, hey, maybe four, but could contemplate no more.

We’re besieged by images and stories of super sportspeople, to the extent that they rarely excite awe in us. Too many of us invent narratives in our heads that allow us to dismiss performance or skill that we ourselves can’t find the willpower to work towards. It’s as if we imagine that the extraordinary is, after all, ordinary.

I watched Pete and the question that surfaced startled me. In the face of such talent and dedication, what should I ask of myself? Does this sense of awe just wash over me? Or does it compel me to find something to tackle, to strive to master it?

(Photo courtesy of Brendan Edwards – check out his varied and fascinating cycling blog.)

Jogging Big Year: I smile!

It seemed my jogs were of two types: I head off with leaden legs and huff all the way, or I bound away, run as fast as I can until the halfway point, and then struggle to the end. Yesterday, for the first time during this Big Year, felt different. Descending my first hill with ease, I wondered if all that repetition had changed me. Why not just run my 10 kms in comfort, almost out of breath but never out of breath?

What a run! Light on feet, barely noticing breathing, attentive to the world. Towards the end, I approached a stern-faced, elderly Indian woman pushing a pram, and the young boy gazed up at me, and . . . and . . . I beamed a smile at him. Who would have thought that possible?

How to deal with the bad days . . . maybe

So you’ve toughed out a half year, done the hard yards, put in the two hours a day every day, knuckled down . . . yadda yadda cliché . . . but legs are leaden and your other obsession, the more important one, the one that counts, the writing one . . . that one intrudes. Your jogging habit isn’t quite the habit you crowed about, is it? Isn’t it time to forget the nonsense? Remember the advice about taking it easy on yourself?

Personally I’ve no advice to myself other than this: out into grey, lovely Melbourne . . . a Currawong lilts low and high . . . a Coot scampers away.