I write this not to complain. Or to seek sympathy, to be dramatic, or anything like that. I don't bring energy to injury or struggle. I bring energy to what I want more of.
Yet here I am writing this. I write this because I am struggling. I am in the process of overcoming an injury, and it has prevented me, for too long, from training the way I would like. I struggle with triathlon more than probably anything else. It's so dang difficult, particularly right now. If you have difficulties and you struggle in your endeavors, too, that is okay. Success is not 100% of the time. Life is not just what we show each other on the internet. Everyone has difficulties. I write this simply to say that if you struggle, it’s okay, and you are not alone in struggling – I do, too.
Keep me in mind when you are striving. I’m out there putting in the miles and the minutes every day. Eating the nourishing food, getting the sleep, doing the stretches and building the strength. I’m bringing the big dreams to reality. Strive to live big, strive to love and laugh, strive to make your dreams your reality.
Also keep me in mind when you stumble. Know that struggle is normal. Vanquisher of unearned-swag, Kona-crushing, hill-stomping, miles-swimming, pedal-pushing, pavement-pounding Luke Kurey, triathlete, struggles. It is mostly good, but there is also difficulty. He is injured, sore, blistered, exhausted, inadequately prepared. He makes mental errors. The problems are many and the struggle often. Luke Kurey, the 2018 Ironman Wisconsin-to-be-Champion - he was struggling all of December, most of January, to run 5 dang minutes.
You will struggle throughout your days and along the way to your dreams. Know that you are not alone in these struggles. Know that everyone struggles. I do not often admit it, especially not for a general audience, but today I do acknowledge it – I struggle just like you, even in my strong and gifted arena of endurance sport. I have teammates, true world champions, that struggle all of the time with injury, exhaustion, willpower. We struggle in our strongest pursuit. If you have difficulties in relationships, in pursuing health, racing your first triathlon, looking for a job, getting along with coworkers, raising a healthy family – whatever it is, I have compassion for you, and you are not alone in your struggle.
Maybe all you need to know is that I struggle too. Maybe you just need that comfort. But I hope that is not the end of it. Accept the struggle, but do not wallow in it. Struggle to overcome. Focus on what you can do. Figure out what you can do to overcome and to keep going. Then do it, and do it well. Do not overly despair. There is light, greater light, at the other end. We crave, we ask for instantaneous grace, healing now, problems solved. Instead, we are given sustaining grace. We are given the gift of sustaining grace, to feel and to know the struggle and, eventually, to come out of it. My fitness, my toughness, my pursuit of goals – I hope you can use my example as a lighthouse and a benchmark, but know that I struggle, too.
Mine are not significant struggles. I am not slogging through mud and filth looking for bits of gold. I am not a lost child in a city of millions of strangers. I do not work two full-time jobs to make ends meet. I live in my favorite place in the world. I have plenty to eat. My family is healthy and loving. I can stand, and I can walk to the mailbox or up the mountain. Let’s keep that in mind. Let us appreciate and be grateful.
Regardless, the struggles are real. Life is good, people are good, but there is difficulty. When you try riding your bike for the first time in 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years; when you try running a few steps; when you enter your first triathlon and the training is not going instagram-perfect - despair not. To strive and to stumble is part of the process, maybe the struggle is the process. Whatever your trouble, your difficulty, your struggle – know that all people, all living things are with you, I am with you. There will be difficult parts of the journey. They may be brief; they may be prolonged. But the struggle is not forever. If you keep going, keep striving - you will be sustained, you will be delivered from your struggle, something better will take its place.