Keeping a True Perspective to Triathlon

author : Daniel Clout
comments : 0

I have been deeply inspired to keep writing. Many emails have been flooding in (to my great surprise) after sharing my testimony in my last article. The encouragement has been stupendous, but what has had a profound impact on me is hearing others people’s testimonies. Many mentioned my boldness. However, I don’t see it as a bold act revealing publicly my love for our Creator because it’s purely a natural thing for me now. Once I was embarrassed to speak out, but that was when I felt like a fraud because I hadn’t given him my full heart. Back in those days there were particular races I would go into really apprehensive, since I knew I couldn’t rely on my own might and prowess when something pre-race threw me off my game. So I would pray intensely for strength and a miracle to enable me to finish the race. Consequently, I felt the almighty strength given to me by God’s grace and competed remarkably better than I thought I was capable of doing. Yet sadly the next day I wouldn’t acknowledge Him...not until the next time I needed help.


I am happy to share further insight on my perspective of what triathlon has taught me about life and how triathlon is bringing the best out of me.

 

There have been many races (most of my world championships) that I have stuffed up by having a narrow focus. It’s unlikely you would make the same mistakes, but I will share to give you an insight of the competitiveness and extreme nature of an elite athlete (or maybe it’s just me). Basically a lot of my unnecessary troubles and tribulations were because of my defiance, acting on my own naïveté and strong will. I was not acting on the advice given to me.


At the start of last year I was winning local races by substantial amounts. My coach had instructed me to do them no harder than 80% and to use them just as training races - to peak for the races that actually counted, including the world championships. Yet did I listen? Nope! I exerted 100%, not just in insignificant races but in some trainings too. So it’s no wonder I ended up causing an injury to myself. I further made myself worse by self-medicating, which I will elaborate upon later. I was told by a close friend who was managing my career not to take the drugs but I did anyway... my body crashed on me big time.

 

I arrived at the Triathlon World Championships in Madeira Island, Portugal last May hardly able to walk five minutes because my whole body felt completely smashed from head to toe with incredibly fatigued muscles, intense migraine headaches, and achy tiredness in the head. I didn’t want to race. I really doubted I could complete the swim section, let alone cycle on the extremely arduous hills and do a run after that. However, I felt compelled to race since it was already paid for. Plus, when I emailed my coach, freaking about the circumstances, he told me to do it regardless, saying “You have the character to still do well,” even though my strength had evaporated. Sure enough, I got a respectable place, but that didn’t help my body—nor did the fact that I raced in the Duathlon Worlds three weeks later in the harder under-23 elite division. Talk about punishment for my poor body! So no wonder a year later I am still feeling the effects. My zest for life was depleted slightly. However, now it has not only been restored through becoming a Christian, but it is substantially higher than ever before. My passion and attitude to life is at an all time high. Triathlon is not the only thing I live for now.


I have great news that I recently saw a specialist doctor who has substantially helped me. An extremely genuine, charismatic and compassionate doctor in Auckland, New Zealand has given me the correct diagnosis and some excellent advice that I really needed to hear. I ended up very reluctant to see him, after seeing many specialist doctors in America proved very fruitless in helping get me back on the right track. The only reason why I saw this doctor is he told me in pre-meeting discussions that that he believes “All true healing comes from God,” and agreed with me that my only option of defeating my condition was to press into my faith rather than to take a drug that would condemn me (with the condition I thought I had) for life and undermine my ability to make a comeback as an athlete. He has diagnosed me with “Chronic Fatigue State,” which is the best possible news! I desperately wanted a professional answer that I knew was true and which related directly to the things I knew with all certainly made me unwell in the first place. It hasn’t been all in my head, nor am I simply burned out.

 

My condition started when I self-medicated with that strong anti-inflammatory drug. I had continued taking it for a whole week in great stupidity, even though I experienced strong side effects within hours of first taking it. I kept taking it due to my impatience to take further rest in order to shake off a niggling injury before departing for the world championship events. The drug crashed my body in an emphatic fashion, and it probably added to a compilation of things I was doing wrong. I think it could have been the final straw, with my body saying, “I have had enough of this abuse!!!” This year I seriously started thinking I had fibromyalgia. So I have leaned never to make your own diagnosis!

 

Just recently I have turned down a selection spot to race at the Duathlon World Championships in Australia in September because I am finally acting on the advice given to me.


Every day I am pressing into my faith stronger and stronger. It’s exciting! Every day I get a buzz from seeing things in a new light. Every day I resist temptations to act on my old sinful desires. It takes a conscious effort, but it’s worth it. Instant gratification is simply that—it’s short-lived, it fills a void momentarily, but it leaves a bigger emptiness. Unfortunately, this is pretty much how the whole world operates. Most people want instant results, and put their own needs before others. Good things take time—I have found out the hard way!!! I have found greater satisfaction in denying these impulses and looking long-term. My new way is focusing on helping others and showing the world love. It is rewarding living and acting in the Holy Spirit. In triathlon, my old attitude of training and racing had a tunnel vision, narrow-mindedness in great extreme - just like my attitude to Christianity not long ago. Acting on my own intellect and perceived ideas was my big downfall, and it caused my triathlon career to come to an abrupt halt. Now I am starting to comprehend the infinite reasoning for things beyond the grasp of intelligence of mankind. This is called faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. I think we all have the ability for great blessings and a better quality life by humbling ourselves. I am no longer stubborn to learn from others, but the biggie is that I am taking my hands off the steering wheel and letting the Lord guide me completely. Who knows where I will end up and what I will do or achieve, but I wouldn’t have it any other way now. Life is more exhilarating this way!

 
You can contact me at: danielclout1@hotmail.com. As always I would love to hear your input. If you are a Christian, I would especially be keen to hear your testimony.

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date: July 4, 2005

Author


Daniel Clout

Years in Triathlon: First triathlon at age 12
Heart Rate Resting: 32
Max: 202
Coach: Michael Jacques
Weight:152

Go PROFESSIONAL within a few years.
OLYMPICS 2008 is a VERY realistic goal - so I will keep extremely focused on achieving this.

Author

avatarDaniel Clout

Years in Triathlon: First triathlon at age 12
Heart Rate Resting: 32
Max: 202
Coach: Michael Jacques
Weight:152

Go PROFESSIONAL within a few years.
OLYMPICS 2008 is a VERY realistic goal - so I will keep extremely focused on achieving this.

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