I am standing on the edge of a cliff and feeling afraid.
I have been here before, standing nervously and looking at the long drop.
This cliff is a metaphorical one, called the Celtman Extreme Triathlon.
Part of the allXtri world series of extreme, long distance triathlons, the Celtman is one of the longest established and hardest of this collection of super-hard events. Just being at the starting line is an honour, standing amongst superhumans.
And this year, I will be an imposter amongst them.
I have raced here before. But to use the verb “race” is always a misnomer. You simply try to complete the course. In 2014, I got the ignominious “white t-shirt” – relegation to the low route. In 2015, I returned to get the blue t-shirt – the high route, the celtman purist course.
But 2015 was a lifetime ago to me now. Three seasons older, stiffer and softer.
I love this part. Standing on the edge, feeling the fear of the long journey ahead, and not knowing where it will take me. It’s the same feeling as those embarking on their first triathlon at events like The Duke feel.
The scale doesn’t matter, from novice to expert, the perception of what is hard is so subjective. And we change. What is hard today but achieved tomorrow simply slides the benchmark of what we see as difficult a little further along the spectrum.
We see it every day at Fitness Soul, as people get their first push up, their first 5km, their first ultramarathon. Sometimes, we are lucky enough to watch one person achieve all three of the stages in that list.
So right now, I am scared, because I am preparing my mind and my body to do something which I already know is hard. And I don’t know if I can do it. I must take my own advice now, and trust, and enjoy the journey.