6pm. Motionless on couch. Legs up, eyes half-closed, head nodding to random electronic chill. Totally out of sync; only like, a beat and a half late… My last dregs of IQ must have disappeared somewhere along the eighteen kilometres of my lunchtime run, like pebbles dropping from Hansel’s traitorous pockets. Or perhaps it was before that, as my arms revolved mechanically, endlessly up and down the all-too-familiar pool, as the black line on the bottom blurred and my brain zoned in on the single MOST important element of pre-10am : banana pancakes. Maybe cake. Definitely coffee.

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I have done sweet F-A since early afternoon; unless you count baking banana bread, ordering peanut butter and raiding the fridge – see a theme emerging here?

Berating myself for said lack of productivity has had little to no effect; I am still staring into space and typing roughly nought point three words per minute.

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How on Earth could I have forgotten that this is what it’s all about?

Mornings going off “red on top” and spewing bile as granny backstrokes alongside in a floral swim cap and Carlos gets the over-60s’ aquagym class pumping. Middays, afternoons, late afternoons dodging cat eyes and lost tourists in rental cars, alternately staring at the white line, my front wheel and the fourth field on the Garmin display which reads “watts”.

Whatever is left of the day… floating around in training-induced stupor because cooking pasta or emptying the dishwasher seem like an effort too many.

How on Earth could I have forgotten? Two years navigating the turbulent sea of injury and pretending to build a normal life, and the mind-numbing physical exhaustion is reduced to a distant memory.

Yet the beauty is that it doesn’t matter

For beyond my useless brain, my body still remembers exactly what to do. It doesn’t need told how to ignore the fatigue as I pull down my goggles, click through the gears, lace my trainers for the umpteenth time. Doesn’t need reminded how to push through the initial fog until I burst out the other side and somehow, someway, hit the numbers or the time or simply the top of the hill yet again and realise with the giddiest feeling of satisfaction and power that

F*ck, yeah, this is why I do it

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This is enough, I don’t need any more.

I don’t need wins, I don’t need money.

I don’t crave approval and I don’t want recognition.

This is enough, for me.


So what is it that drives YOU?






PS. Remind me where that banana bread is again…?

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Photo credits © Guilhem Lacaze, Jo Spindler


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