“It’s almost enough to make you wish the world was different,” I said as the view of Box Hill filled my gaze on an impromptu birthday camping trip. I’m not quite sure what I meant by that comment, only that sometimes life feels a bit like a carrot and stick affair.

What actually is the carrot? Achievement? Self fulfilment? Proving something to the rest of the world? I’m not entirely sure but I certainly haven’t got close enough to it yet to get a better idea.

Exasperation is the negative side of the coin. Frustration is it’s best friend.

The more positive flip side appeared this afternoon. In fact, every negative thought in the world fled my head as soon as I emerged from the pool today, having cut 40seconds (ok – 38 – but those 2 more seconds are getting chopped off if it’s the last bloody thing I do) off my 400m swim time.

40seconds in 4 weeks. That carrot might still be blurring my vision but in that moment, when I stopped the clock – it all seemed worth it. More than worth it. That new PB buzz is a stronger drug than anything I’ve found yet (not much – I’m an angel 😉 )

Mum asked me today: “What’s the goal? Is there a specific time you want to reach?” The answer is no – of course not – because then what would I do once I got there? The goal is simply to keep cutting the seconds. Probably until I find something else to obsess over.

The carrot and stick way of living makes a person very focused, overly determined, and maybe a little selfish from time to time. But I can’t imagine what my life would be without a goal to chase. Be it work, be it sport, be it some artistic game – there’s always something new I want to do. I can guarantee I’ll never achieve whatever the holy grail might be – but I’ll have a million breakthroughs on the way – and maybe that’s good enough.

Swim TT today – bike TT tomorrow. Yes – my dears – it’s test week. A little taste of the carrot(cake) 😉

(ps – apologies this post is identical to the last in meanining.. I could have posted about the beastly hill reps of this morning – plenty of afore mentioned frustration (exhaustion!) there – but they’re not nearly as pretty to talk about..)

Published by michellearthurs

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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