Seek that which is most precious.

“Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu me he maunga teitei –

seek that which is most precious, if you should bow, let it be to a lofty mountain.”

I first learned of this through an article on IronMāori, unsurprisingly it resonates deeply with me. Like many Whakataukī it has a brief meaning but the story behind it broadens the context. My understanding is that the background involves a beach, a shell and the longing for a lost love.

The Beach – Is training, there is always more of it, a place I can go when I need to be with my thoughts.

The Longing – Like many my age, I pine for the youthful power I wasted. I know how good I was and have a sense of how much better I might have been. But here I am, searching in the now, still hoping to find something.

The Shell – Found on my beach in training, it does not reveal itself when I race, but through all the precious moments training has given me.

Running 36km in training on a warm humid evening by the sea, I ran a pace that would easily have ended in a personal best marathon; tip-tap, tip tap. I ran that fast, because on that evening, at that time, it felt so good.
I wasn’t racing anyone.

Riding four or more hours from Takapuna to Mangawhai Heads on New Year’s, tired, tired, pedalling over that last small rise to get blasted by a crystal turquoise sea.

Swimming through a calm, calm, sea, into the Sun as it roars up from behind Rangitoto Island.

If I finish Ironman NZ this year it will be my 14th consecutive finish. If I’m going to train for something it might as well be something big. I’ve never gotten the best from myself in the race. In a sense I’ve been bowed each time. I yearn for a better day, going back again and again to find it. What I gain from that struggle is priceless, never spending a worthless year.
So much searching, so many, many, beaches, so many shells.

“Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu me he maunga teitei –

seek that which is most precious, if you should bow, let it be to a lofty mountain.”

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