1. a situation or condition favourable for the attainment of a goal.
    2. a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.

I have been thinking about this [opportunity] a lot lately. I don’t often think about much when I go running, I’ll sort through the days tasks ahead. Daydream about races past and present. Come up with the odd marketing idea. But more often than not it’s blank, meditative like state. Taking in my surroundings, feeling my feet hit the ground and monitoring how laboured my breathing is.

 But the last 3 months have been different. It could have been the stress of another lockdown or the cancelled races. Possibly even feeling like I am in the last 30% of my body allowing me to do the thing I love over and over again. However, I have been thinking a lot about what opportunity means to me. Could look back on and think, did I take that opportunity? Did I even realise it was an opportunity? How did I tread it? Did I look at it the right way? Yes, that is right I am talking about self-reflection (how very new age man of me).

 My motivation and dedication don’t often wain. But they have done a little over the last year. Racing is my reward, a reward for planning and executing a plan, managing a plan and learning about my body and how it responds. Racing is the reward for letting running control almost everything about every day, every week and every month. 

 I’ve done a lot of writing, trying to reconfigure how I feel about “sport”. Writing, thinking, re-wiring. We talk a lot in sport about our “why”. Whether you like the term or not, it has defined the last 8 years of sport. I worked a lot on my Why. It has evolved over time as I’ve understood myself more. If you haven’t done some work on this I’d suggest you do. But what I hadn’t done is any work on what I feel about opportunity. Have I created a structure and lifestyle to nurture possible opportunities? That really got me thinking. Because for the biggest why in the world, the strongest determination, motivation and dedication. If you can’t see and feel your way into the opportunities you are missing the point.

 So here I was, jogging around Hagley Park. Daydreaming about nothing in particular. Feeling like it was all a bit of a waste of time. Then getting a little annoyed at myself for thinking that way. (Yes I argue with the inner me, more than you would think). I thought, “Oska, you are here doing this to give yourself the opportunity for tomorrow”. But, what was tomorrow? Much of the same. But that isn’t the point. The point is this. Every day we are presented with opportunities, some of those are specific to the day, some of those set in motion others for the future, some accumulate over time and come together as one big opportunity.

 When I stand on a start line I ask myself one very simple question. Have I given myself an opportunity to perform the best I can, today? That doesn’t mean preparation has to be perfect (been there and done that). It means, did I take my opportunities in training and in resting. Did I fill all my cups of health and well-being? Did I take those opportunities along the way that lead me here?  

We often look from now till then. Planning is done from today to tomorrow. But what if tomorrow is relying on what yesterday did. Am I giving future me an opportunity?

This goes for all the micro cycles of training, the way we eat and sleep. How hard we work and the people we surround ourselves with. Each one of those influences the opportunities we have and how we take them.

My advice, for those disappointed or frustrated people. What opportunities did this last training cycle present to me? Was it a better and healthier me? New friends? New clarity? There is no question events are a reward for the opportunities we have given and taken along the way. Just don’t let the last one bring the others down. You’ve put yourself in a better position, made personal advancements and created new prospects. That sounds like a reward to me.



October 16, 2021 — Oska Baynes

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