Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Art and Science of Things--A Reflection--Part II

Don't forget to read the post below to get the whole picture. Especially how this applies to my current state of being. (and a full update on my whole sickness-thingie).

I'm beginning to develop a new philosophy. Life is all about balance. If you have the right mix of everything and can hold it all together at that magical apex, you can achieve nirvana. The trick is to stay there. Life really is a seesaw where we swing one way and then back the other. Maybe at some point, we can linger blissfully in the center for a moment before swinging out of control again. It's all about figuring out what makes that pendulum dwindle just a big longer at that center point each time.

To find balance, you have to mix the right amount of ingredients into the bowl. A bit of career, family, social life, and an extracurricular activity or two, and whallah! Just figuring out the right mix is the trick. This has always been very hard for me since I enjoy, no, strike that, am impassioned about many, many things. To simplify things, I like to have 3 main categories to balance--mind, body, and spirit. Ideally, each thing you spend time on embodies all 3, but if not, you make up for it in other ways.

Triathlon definitely is mind, body, and spirit. The body part is obvious. The mind part is the planning, the reading, the strategizing we all do before race day. The spirit part is what allows us to love the sport as much as we all do. When I train, I realize how much my spirit is pulsating throughout. For once in my busy day, I can slow down, and just listen. And appreciate. And be a part. That's the spirit part of it. In just a small sense.

And that's when I realized that triathlon (my analogy for life) is about the right mix of art and scinece. Kind of like the ying and the yen. Everything has a bit of art and science. We all know the science approach to triathlon. Finding the right recipe for an energy drink. The perfect training plan for a half IM race. We've all paced ourselves against the clock on the track or in the pool. We've all strapped on the heart rate monitors, the GPSs, the power meters. We've graphed our training rides and calcualted our average herat rate or max speed or figured out the standard deviation in our average training mileage from week to week or month to month. Okay, maybe I'm the only one figuring out std dev here, but you get the point.

I think the art part of triathlon often gets overlooked. This is the listening and trusting your body part. It's how we apply all that knowledge to how we train. The magic ingredients that made Mark Allen the godfather of triathlon or that makes someone like Michellie Jones a speed demon on the mountain bike is not going to work for you or I. Although there is a ton of information out there to use as a foundation, only through trial and error and experimentation, are we going to figure out what works for us. It's all about listening to your body. And I obviously have a long way to go. And a lot to learn.


Anonymous said...

This philosophy of balance is called Taoism. That is where the idea of "Yin and Yang" comes from. Perhaps we need a new book on the Tao of Triathlon.

Habeela said...

Wow! This is an incredible post. And it's just this kind of thinking that made me throw out my HRM and start all over again because I already knew the science and I just needed to find the art.