I’ve spent the past 6 months getting clear. Quieting the incredible noise in this world. Or rather, stepping away from it. That doesn’t mean not participating in the incredible things happening right now, it means getting clear on what it all means to me, and acting on it.
I find exceptional meaning in real life in person conversations, even in a pandemic, about the issues of our world. Thoughtful discussions away from a keyboard, or on forums where it is easy to become a keyboard warrior. I like to look into people’s eyes when conversing, I like to hear their voice. I like to listen to their point of view. Not stare at a screen.
And this doesn’t make me superior or inferior. It’s just me, just my style. It’s just helped me gain incredible clarity.
Around these parts however, it’s sport that I derive great meaning from, and find everlasting solace. It’s a place for me to relieve the stressors that I carry, bury the demons, resurrect the dreams, and experience absolute vulnerability. It’s been that way my entire life.
I don’t fall into that category of athletes who spend their athletic careers alleviating neuroticism, or proving my abilities to an outside world. I am that category who finds incredible joy in the steps it takes to reach the goal. This year that goal got moved back, and back and back a hundred times. Yet it changed nothing for me. The drive I feel to move is the same drive I have for brushing my teeth everyday. It’s always been my greatest gift but yet, but at times it has been my greatest downfall.
These past 6 months I have embarked on some new journeys, and one of them is always my athletic one. I can’t wait until the day I step on that starting line again. I truly believe that my best performances are still out there in front of me.
I don’t define my best performance by time, place, or qualification. I have won, set records, qualified, I have done all of that. I define my performance to how close I come to riding the Nibble of Buffet. It’s taken me my entire life as an athlete to name that feeling I have always chased when I compete. In fact I didn’t know it had a name, I only knew it as a feeling I could never articulate. It wasn’t measured by pace or wattage or heart rate. It was something that lived deep within me.
The Nibble of Buffet.
US Navy Adversary Fighter Pilot Jim DiMatteo described the Nibble of Buffet as the feeling a fighter pilot gets when they fly on the “edge of the envelope”. He described is as telling someone to imagine driving as fast as they can, and turning ninety degrees. The Nibble of Buffet is that point you nail it. The place between not taking the turn fast enough, and taking it so fast the back wheels come off the ground. That sweet spot.
When I heard that, so much aligned for me. It captured what I have never been able to explain, but I have always been chasing after. I have found it in races, training sessions, mountains, and even at work. Where it is located, always moves. It’s never stationary. It’s the biggest thrill in the entire world and when you touch it, it’s truly as if you are standing in the eye of the hurricane.
Man I love that feeling. That is why I do the things I do. THAT… is what I am after.
For me it happens most often in the space between the starting and finish lines. For you it might be elsewhere. It’s not calculated. As DiMatteo also described, when you are in the fight of your life, you don’t have time to look at the controls, you must be able to pilot this aircraft at traveling at insane speeds on absolute feel, knowing where your enemy is. No instrument can tell you all of that information, but you can.
That feels so rich doesn’t it? No power meter, heart rate zone, none of that can tell you where it is for you. You have to be quiet enough, prepared enough, and develop your perception so well that you can catapult right up to that edge. Your edge of glory.
My time is being spent redeveloping all of that. For me it’s the perfect time. I am so freaking eager to step onto that starting line, and I can be patient. When races come back, they will come back, and I will be ready.