Sometimes I get tired of formulating specific points about specific topics. The internet is loaded with awful advice and that is probably the reason I have about 200 posts sitting in draft mode. There’s nothing worse than a know-it-all, and I certainly don’t know shit.
The thing with me (and I’m sure it is with most aspiring triathletes) is that I love to think about this sport. It’s so complex because of the mixed disciplines and nutrition and finding time/energy, etc. that it becomes a twisted metaphor for life that nobody can quite figure out. So, if you’re like me, you are on a continual search for simplicity.
How can all of this be simpler? I’m not sure, but it is definitely a clutter-filled existence and one of the reasons I started painting the interior walls of my home white. I’ve also given valiant effort at throwing out clothes I don’t wear, but the other day I found a huge box of old clothes in the garage and it became my new wardrobe. The clutter that won’t go away!
For some reason racing triathlon is important to us . . . especially our first Ironman. It’s something we think about daily, and sometimes hourly leading up to our race. A pressure cooker that never leaves us alone.
And now, after two Ironman and three halves, I have that feeling again. I am buzzing about Muncie. Probably too much, but at least it’s something.
I feel like triathlon really does mimic life. The possibilities are exciting, but when you realize how damn hard it can be, there are two choices:
1. Tackle it head on and honestly do your best through preparation
2. downplay the whole thing and treat it like it really doesn’t matter.
I think both serve a purpose.
The key element here is, “you realize how damn hard it can be.” I mean, if I knew now what I did before I started all this stuff, I’m not sure I would would do it again. I’m not sure the payoff has been worth it, but it’s tough to appreciate incremental growth.
One thing I’ve learned for sure is: the harder you work at difficult things, the easier they become. It doesn’t happen that day or the next, but eventually you just start doing it with a new sense of ease.
Running or cycling hills is a good example. If you suck on hills, do them more. Suck your ass off for days on end with genuine focus on using better form, relaxing, and believing you will be good on hills.
If you’re a bad swimmer (and want to be better) get into the water a lot. Struggle, get winded, think about and use proper form even when it feels wrong. Sooner or later, you will become a better swimmer.
But the truth is . . . this shit is not only hard, it’s addictive and lures you into deeper water. One IRONMAN isn’t enough. Your time is never fast enough. The work doesn’t go away.
Muncie is all I can think about right now and I’ve been calculating my splits in endless formations. If I do “this” in the swim I should be able to bike “this” but then my run might suffer. On and on.
In the simplest terms, I think all of the obsession and determination is a good thing. It makes life more interesting. The problem comes after the race. If we’re not racing for ourselves, it can be a big letdown. We may think we failed, or worse, accomplished our goal, and lose sight of all the good things that have come from training.
It’s the training, not the race. But in America, it always seems to come back to the prize. How much shiny stuff or attention can we get. I’m here to tell you, that is a fucked up way to live.