Epic journeys like the Wizard of OZ, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or The Never Ending Story all tend to follow a basic pattern commonly referred to as the Hero’s journey. It describes the typical adventure of a Hero, who goes out and achieves great deeds.
I believe the stages of a Triathlete’s Journey follow this same script:
- Our ORDINARY WORLD. Most triathlete’s start their journeys with something which makes us uneasy or uncomfortable and it pulls us in different directions causing stress. It could be a wide range of things from weight loss, to improved fitness, personal accomplishment, life mission or peer pressure.
- Heeding the CALL TO ADVENTURE. Something shakes up our situation, either from external pressures or from something rising up from deep within us, so we must face the beginnings / road to change.
- REFUSING OF THE CALL. Once we seriously consider the scope of the challenge we begin to feel the fear of the unknown, i.e. can we do it… and we begin to turn away from the adventure. Sometimes well meaning friends, co-workers and families fuel uncertainty and potential danger ahead.
- MEETING WITH THE MENTOR. Then we come across a training partner, seasoned veteran or coach who shares training, equipment, or advice that will help us on the journey. Or we independently research and reach within to generate courage and wisdom.
- PICKING UP THE GAUNTLET. We sign up for the challenge and put our money down thereby committing ourselves to leaving our ordinary world and entering a new world or condition with unfamiliar targets and timelines.
- TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES. We are tested physically and mentally which then stresses personal, family and work life balance.
- APPROACH. We discover new found allies that promote our preparedness for the Epic Challenge.
- THE ORDEAL. Near the middle of journey, we enter a space where we face our greatest fears such as illness, injury etc…. Out of these dark moments comes a new resolve. You are in the shape of your life… you begin to see the possibilities are real.
- THE REWARD. We take possession of the treasure won by facing our fears and challenges. There is a celebration when you finish (You Are an Ironman), but as with most Epic events… after the race the fear losing the treasure again pushes us forward to our next Epic Journey. And so the journey begins again…