Motivational time series of an athlete.

There was a time my mojo was pretty constant and mainly depended on daylight. Now that I’m a full time athlete there are motivational bursts that can launch my spirit out of the earth’s atmosphere within the blink of an eye, and there are moments you better stay out of my sight.

Since I spent some time analyzing time series data at the Exchange, I thought let’s draw a graph.PhasesI think the curve makes a perfect design for a rollercoaster. Perhaps I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie, but I assume other sporty people experience the same. This weekend I flew to Spain to race and I instantly went from phase IV to V.

Photo made by Ingo Kutsche, Challenge Salou

Phase 1: Autumn and good memories.

Life is good. Outdoor swimming. Looking back on race achievements. Time for a beer, of which you enjoy èvery single droplet. Plenty of day light, zero pressure.

Phase 2: Early winter.

Very unnoticeable but slowly there is a little caterpillar taking small bites from your motivation. As daylight reaches zero, indoor trainer and treadmill hours reach maximum.

Phase 3: Late winter.

At the beginning, things are still fine. Your  baseline mojo is pretty normal but the memories of races are gone. The return of daylight helps but each time a sign of spring shows up it is flushed away by rain and snow, and this hits us harder than others as we athletes spend half of our life outdoors.

Phase 4: Silence before the storm.

Getting closer to race day.

Will the hard work pay off? You haven’t had the chance to confirm your progression in a race setting.

You’re excited, but there is a lot at stake. You’ve decided to take the plunge. All you need to do now is to turn the thought “I’ve given all I have so now I MUST succeed” into “I’ve given all I have so now I WILL succeed”.

Then taper week kicks in. The deepest dip. You’re forced to lay flat and be bored. Then, very contra-intuitively, you feel extremely tired. At this stage I start to over-think like an unemployed philospher.

So imagine me sitting in a Plato cave in Bussum wondering why I’m doing this. Last week I had an interview with a magazine and I couldn’t formulate an answer to this question. It shocked me.

Phase 5: High peaks!

This weekend the return of the mojo finally happened. I had my first race. Some force of nature pushes you straight into phase V 🚀.

The feeling after (admittedly not necessarily during) the race is so fantastic! Your hard work is so extremely rewarded. You feel awesome. Fit. Healthy. Cool. Love it. Just like my fave race motivational speaker Appolos Hester.

The spirit stays pretty high all season, with some dips during taper weeks. I think what I go through now is a destructive and unhealthy, but wonderful and intense live life to the max experience.

Race report to be followed.

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