Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Compliments Of

I find it amazing how some of the most offhand comments can be wonderful compliments.

Tonight I swam with EBSC as I continue to enjoy a bit of a break from hard training. I was very tired when I got home from work today leaving me less then enthused to lug my giant Speedo backpack to the pool to swim a few kilometres. To report that the swim revived me would be a bit short of a lie. I walked out of the pool tonight wired for sound. It felt like the pool water was somehow infused with the essence of Redbull. I am not primarily a swimmer and I do not have years of training to help me keep my stroke but I am keeping up and not swimming too bad. I was even asked tonight if I swam with UBC.

This question was not meant to be a compliment. The person who asked this question may never had seen me swim, yet him asking me this question made me feel very good about myself. To be mistaken for a swimmer when I am out of shape and swimming slower then I am used to gave me confidence in swimming again. It is good to know that when it comes time to train and compete Ironman I will be able to get my swimming back quite rapidly.

It is often what people do not mean by their comments and questions that shows us so much. Whether we take something as a compliment or a complaint is very nuanced. Some statements can be quite obvious such as "Skinny jeans make people look ugly!" when they are spoken to a person wearing skinny jeans. The person wearing skinny jeans will feel ugly even though that may not have been what the speaker had intended. Instead, if the speaker said "Skinny jeans make people look ugly! Except you, because you are so beautiful that you could wear anything including a Trisuit and make it look hot". The person wearing skinny jeans would then be happy though that may not have been what the speaker intended.

It is these indirect statements that can have the biggest impact. Often the overt compliment has a strong effect although can be viewed with suspicion. "What does that person want?" may be a first question of one who is complimented. As compared, an offhand comment provides the opportunity to understand how friends, acquaintances, and strangers feel about us. These comments may either boost our ego or crush it like a Royal Daulton figurine under a steamroller. Comments that are delivered from a neutral party with no intent or hidden agenda are the most honest. This is when we can build a picture of ourselves in the view of others. Of course this tendency may also serve to misinterpret what may actually have been meaningless.

I still have a few more weeks of break which is starting to seem like a really long time. I am starting to feel out of shape and ready to work hard again. I am almost starting to feel myself gaining weight which, although wanted, sends a shiver of fear through my body. It is at this time when I want to go out and run hard for 15 miles. It will take a few months until I am ready to get fired up for a good 23 or24 mile long run after running 80 miles already that week. Wow, I am really going to suffer through this, ha ha!

Happy Training!

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