18/12/2012 in General
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Stress is all around us, in socializing, at work or school, dealing with family, watching your favorite team, or my favorite…DRIVING.  We become accustom to a range of everyday levels of stress.  Some of it is distress some eustress but bottom line all of it is stress.  Distress is the one that is everyday lingo for most of the world, which is when we feel that we are unable to adapt to stressors around us.  On the flip side is eustress, a word that is hardly used that means a stress causing a feeling of fulfillment and well-being.

Many of us workout and use the endorphin rush to balance the distress of the daily grind with a little eustress.  If you are reading this the endorphin rush became your everyday drug and 15 minutes just does not cut it anymore and you need 30 45 60 120 minutes a day.  If we do not get that endorphin rush it creates more distress in our lives.  It is a unique spiral.
Then there is training.  Endorphins are initially all eustress, then we take it and structure our working out adding workouts to boost endurance, create speed, and break you down physically and mentally to build you up for a goal event.  This structured training is eustress for the first couple weeks and then it slowly starts to build into distress with workouts looming taking away from things in life that need you, be it family, friends, home, and your bed.  By the end of training the eustress is still there but the distress of training grows larger causing mood swings and unstereotypical social interactions.
Finally the event is here, you race, you conquer, you get this plume of eustress like nothing you have experienced before.  You share the moment with other athletes there at the finish line, but then how do you explain it to your friends, your peers at work, or that guy you sit next to every day on the train.  You want to sing your accomplishment but no one understands the high you are coming off of.  Over the next few days you go from walking on water to trudging through it sinking slowly lower and lower thinking…if I could only get back to that point.  So you plan another event, with the goal to do better or do a harder event.  Training then becomes our lifestyle our drug.
This is me, this us as a community.  The problem is when somebody who is sinking goes does not find what that next accomplishment is and they sink and sink until they are drowning.  They feel that nothing the sport has can generate the eustress of where they have been.  Some of the icons of the sport left early because after they tasted victory at the highest level everything else in life just tasted like sand from Hamish Carter (Olympic Gold) to the recent Chrissie Wellington have left the sport at the peak of their careers.  Yet there is the other side of the coin, those who have tasted it and just come back for more and more, names like Al Sultan, Badmann, Bennett, and hundreds more who have been to the top, but come back year after year to try and make it sweeter this time.
We as athletes are a community.  We need to support each other, support the sponsors, and support the press that makes triathlon main stream.  The reason for this is, we are the only ones that know the incredible beauties of EUSTRESS in this world of DISTRESS.  So this Christmas season with all sorts of distresses, make sure that you give some hugs, hang out under that mistletoe, and put some eustress into this world.  We don’t need any more schools to get shot up and haters on Slowtwitch!
Sending love this Christmas from our house to yours,
  • Benhanson 14:10h, 20 December Reply

    This is one of your best posts! Keep ’em coming!!

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