Last Tuesday I set off on a jet plane to the Balearics, to watch a group of friends take on the beast that is Ironman Mallorca. As a supporter I was going to write a ‘race report’ so to speak, but to be perfectly honest, a wonderful friend of mine, who is far more eloquent than me has already written an amazing account of what it meant to support the race. I’m sharing it here so you can go and read it, and then you’ll understand just what it means to undertake an iron distance triathlon, and what it means to be part of the Pirate Ship of Fools, the unofficial tri club I’ve talked about before. Take the time to read it. Then, if you can be arsed, come back and finish this, ha!
Ultimately the essence of what Nicky captures in her report, to me, is all about friendship. I’ve written a few times about how important friends are in life, and again this last week has sought to emphasise how important the people in my life are. It brought to mind a passage that I was given by a friend when I lived in Australia for a year in 2003. I’ve reproduced it here, and since it’s anonymous, I can’t credit anyone, but thanks to Debbie for bringing it to my attention all these years ago!
We all know someone who fits into each category, some that maybe span more than one, as life unfolds. When I was travelling years ago, and even when I was living in Australia, there were many people who came in to my life for a season. We shared an adventure together, some firsts, some lasts and lots in between. Some of these friendships changed my life and I’m lucky to still count them as a significant part of my life, but for those that drifted off, there’s no sadness there, just a lot of fond memories and a bunch of photos, some more dodgy than others. All I can say is thank fuck there was no social media back then!!
Of course as life ebbs and flows, so too do the relationships we have with one another. Over the years I’ve often thought of the passage above, especially when people come in to your life but for one reason or another don’t stay as long as you’d hope. I know myself, I find those the hardest to deal with. It’s easy to want to hang on to the past and keep everything the same, especially when something makes you happy. But…..life changes. Some relationships or friendships just aren’t meant to last. It’s cheesy as hell but they do teach us a lesson, even if we’re doing our best to try not to learn it. Until thinking about writing this post, I’d not actually read the passage for some time, despite thinking of it often.
“What we must realise is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done”.
While it feels like it has a slightly religious edge to it, which personally isn’t for me, I can’t disagree. I think that when someone’s part in your life is over, being able to recognise what they brought to your life, good and bad, is the only way to help you move on. Happily the people who fit into this category are in the minority. I think we all have a tendency to hold on too long to things we’re scared to let go of, but no-one can move forward in life when they’re tethered to the past.
So all that remains are those that come in for a lifetime, or at least to teach you lessons that you can use for the rest of your days. It’s often said that racing an IM can make you feel as though you’re experiencing a lifetime of emotions in a day, and having started one myself which I failed to finish, I can understand that. What’s really great about the pirates is that in amongst all the piss taking, incessant slagging & inevitable boozing, everyone pulls together to support each other, no matter what. This year I’ve been lucky to go on two pirate holidays, supporting my friends undertaking their IM challenges (quite honestly I’ve realised that actually doing them is too much like hard work and at least in supporting I get to drink cocktails while shouting
abuse encouragement at them. Perfect). From a random group of quite disparate people, friendships have grown over the years, and as individuals we’ve all experienced a wealth of life experiences, from marriages & divorces, births & deaths, and everywhere in between, all the highs and lows of a typical life. One thing that I think I can say connects us all is a desire to achieve more, to strive to do our best, and to support each other in reaching these goals. There is nothing more inspirational than watching people battling it out on the course, and I defy anyone watching not to feel the hairs on the back of their neck go up, or their eyes to well up when they see the suffering and determination on the faces running past. I think I cried at least about 4 times last Saturday, haha!! Even if you have no interest in triathlon, it makes you want to do better, to aim higher and gives you a belief that maybe, just maybe the impossible is actually possible. Surely there’s no greater feeling? That excitement that actually, with enough determination and hard work, we can realise our dreams. The best part of any relationship is when you can work together, to support each other to achieve something. The pirates do this in spades, and I’m so happy to be even just a little part of that.
So tomorrow it is October; only a quarter of the year remains. Plenty of time to get to work on achieving these dreams, especially if we help each other along the way. Sounds like a good plan to me 🙂