The joy of being tired

swimmerguy's picture

Something's wrong.
I dunno what. Or at least it was.
We had the 100 free as the last event of this long 2 day meet this weekend, and it sucked.
I mean, I'm used to being tired a lot, I basically make a career of it every day with swimming.
And at the end of long meets, I know that I'm usually unusually tired, and don't do too well on my last swim, but this was different.
For some reason, during this 100 free, not complicated, just down, back, down, back, as fast as you can, I was really, really tired.
Like more tired than I've evar been in my life tired.

Well, when I got lost at Revelstoke with my brother and had to spend the night out in the sticks, when I back to the Lodge the next morning, I was more long-term-tired than I've evar been, considering I've just been basically crawling up a hill through like 2 feet of powder, throwing my skis ahead of me, crawling 10 steps just to get 1 step up through the soupy, soupy stuff, and that on no food in 24 hours and then spending a sleepless night in cold shit.
I was pretty tired then.

But this is a different kind of tired. (Know that I put sleep-tired, mental energy etc. all into the same category of "general energy" most of the time)
I generally class tired into 3 kinds.
One is just like if you're running a mile, you're gonna get tired, and it'll be harder to run as fast by a certain point.
The second is if you take a big hike or something when you get home at the end of the day, you'll be a more subtle but deeper and longer lasting tired that might go away in a day or two.
The third is the kind of tired a suicidal person might feel, stretching over months a lack of strength and will to do things.

Anyway, this was that first kind.
For some reason, I was like more tired in that way than I've ever been in my life. I could barely drag myself out of the pool at the end, and then I had to sit for a few minutes before I felt confident to stand.
I dunno why.
Although I am proud I kept going and only gained like half a second on my best time.

Another thing I think about is how in hindsight tired seems so easy to overcome. Now, sitting in my chair, not in my best strength but pretty damn good, I look back and think "I could've gone harder."
Because in a book like Night where the author is remembering being evacuated from a concentration camp, the Gestapo ordering them to run miles and miles to the next camp, some people were so tired they just stopped running, fell down and died.
And sitting here now, it seems unthinkable to me that someone couldn't hold on anymore against just simply being tired, until their urge to stop overcame their will to live.
And me, who was certainly far less tired than those people in concentration camps, wasn't able to, no matter how much I wanted it, continue going.
It seems easy now.
But when I'm in the throes of utter exhaustion, I understand then that being tired is more powerful than anything, the primal instinct will not be ignored, not by anyone, and that if it is strong enough the urge to stop will overcome any other command of our own, even the will to live.

Because there is no one in the world who can swim a 50 free, sprinting, and then duplicate it.
If we didn't feel tired we might physically have the strength to, but we get tired, and in the end no one has the will to continue pushing at the same speed.
And I think that's weird. No one can resist exhaustion once it gets strong enough. No matter what they're fighting for.


radiosilence95's picture


Take some naps. Or go to bed earlier. A little extra sleep never hurt anyone.