Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Looking for love in all the wrong places

It's a recovery week.  Thankyousweetbabyjebus!  Today is even a rest day.  I went back to bed 3 times this morning.  You'd think I could just STAY in bed but this house has dogs and those dogs have needs and those needs have definitive timelines like "TAKE ME TO THE FIELD TO RUN RIGHT NOW IT'S ALREADY 5AM!"  So there you go.  At least I made those little f*ckers wait for their breakfast until I'd had a post-walk nap.

Given that it's a low-volume training kind of week, I'm doing my best to put triathlon out of my mind.  I'm more focused on finding all our gear for my first foray into the wilderness in ~4 years.  It offers me a nice break from obsessing over how many bottles to pack for this workout and what route to take for that one and WHERE IS THE FOOD? WHEN IS THE NEXT EATING? OHMYGOD ARE WE OUT OF FOOD? WHAT IF WE RUN OUT OF FOOD? AM I EATING ENOUGH?

Yes, I am eating enough. I think yesterday's adventures in culinary multiplication (2 breakfasts, 2 dinners) singlehandedly vaulted me 5 pounds above my weight at the end of Sunday's long run.  Or maybe that's just all the water I've been drinking trying to recover from those two days of training in the heat.

Before I totally forget about triathlon for the week (other than my scheduled workouts of course), I had something I was thinking about today.  A friend raised a really good point this week about how much complaining sometimes goes on in triathlon.  We choose to do this sport, for fun (and fitness and to feed our competitive spirits and all that), no one is making us do it.  For the vast majority of us, it is not our job.

And so it makes it difficult, when you truly love this sport, to see people complaining all the livelong day about the training, about how it's ruining their life, about how they aren't having fun.  We all have days where it's not fun and we all get tired.  It's supposed to be hard.  But if you aren't finding joy in it, if you don't love the sport...why are you doing it?

On that note...if you aren't darn sure you love triathlon, then don't sign up for Ironman.  Because it will chew you up and spit you out and make you its bitch - you have to REALLY like this sport to get through all that with your motivation intact.  If you are in it for external motivation only - how it will make you look like a badass to others, the cheers of the crowd - you're going to be in trouble because nothing makes you examine your own motivation more than IM training.  Cheers from the crowd don't get you out of bed at 5am to swim, or on your bike again when you are still sore and exhausted from the last ride, or through the last miles of a run when you've got nothing left.

The journey of Ironman is in the all the weeks and months of training and life leading up to race day...not just in those 17 hours or less on the course.  Race day is a culmination of everything we've accomplished to get ourselves to that point - it's a tough day and it's hard racing but if you didn't take the time to find ways to love the training along the way, what will you love about the racing? If you didn't find love out there in the spaces between suffering...well, that's pretty sad to me, you missed the whole point.

Until next time... I promise the next post will be DOG related with not a word of triathlon!


18 comments:

GoBigGreen said...

You know what KILLS ME?? Is when i am on the sidelines injured ( Well time out, you know) and there are people that are "Oh i wish i didnt HAVE TO RACE." Seriously people, you GET TO RACE, if you dont have the fire in your belly, then dont sign up and dont tell me about it when i would give my teeth to race right now.
Ok, phew, that felt good.
:) enjoy rest week, i am there too!

kT said...

Amen to that! I never get it when people ask some version of, "How do you make yourself train (almost) every day?" If I had to "make" myself, it wouldn't happen. Enjoy your week!

Betsy said...

When people are considering doing Ironman and want to pick my brain about it one of the first thing I say is that you have to enjoy trainig, that you have to want to be there or you are going to HATE it. Cause even if you want to do it you are going to hate it at soem point!

Kim said...

I definitely have been biting my tongue around the boyfriend (a nontriathlete) when it comes to complaining...he says "do it because you enjoy it". True, so very true. No joy=dont train/race.

Steve said...

One of the best posts I think I have ever read. Nothing more than that, I really enjoyed reading this. :)

Hope you have a good recovery week Molly. :)

Christie said...

You seem like you have such a great attitude about it all...I've heard crazy things about Tri folk! Enjoy your recovery week, sounds well deserved.

Christie said...

You seem like you have such a great attitude about it all...I've heard crazy things about Tri folk! Enjoy your recovery week, sounds well deserved.

Susietri said...

Yeah. What you said. Hmmm. Sprints. So tasty. So short. XO

Susietri said...

Yeah. What you said. Hmmm. Sprints. So tasty. So short. XO

Susietri said...

Yeah. What you said. Hmmm. Sprints. So tasty. So short. XO

Stefanie Frank said...

Oh I don't always like the training. For sure! Which is why I occasionally take time OFF and choose races that have deep meaning for me.

Triathlon has taught me so much about who I am including seeing to exactly what lengths I will go for something I really REALLY want.

The "outer" stuff: the claps, the cheers, others seeing me as an "athlete," are all gravy. Frosting on the cake if you will.

Although I will admit that my non athlete friends who see me as a successful athlete (when I became blind to it for awhile) really REALLY helped me get back on track with this year's training.

Your points here are also why I have NO desire to do a full ironman. When I think about that all I can think is I would hate to train that much . . . hence 70.3 and shorter distances for me.

Great post!

Melissa said...

Great post and so true!

Melissa said...

Great post and so very true!

Wes said...

one of these days, I'm going to stop training and have a full blown mid life crisis. nahhhh :-D

Leana said...

This is so true! My friend and I were talking about this in the car on the way back from training camp just the other day. Sure, we all have days where it is tough and it would be great to sleep in instead of getting up early for a workout. You do it though because you enjoy the journey and the reward at the end is worth it.

Katie said...

sweet baby jesus is a HUGE fan of recovery week.

and I've gotten a good solid dose this week, on the difference between complaining and talking about it when it's hard. I'm all about talking about things are hard - because in this sport, sometimes things ARE really hard - but I also believe that there's a way to do it that is honest without being whiny.

ok soap box off.

thepumpkinsdiary said...

I was totally thinking about this earlier today - how much one can mentally ebb and flow in regards to sport. I think it's important to listen to your head as much as your body - if you're not having any fun, then it's time to step back and do what you love - just because you identify as a triathlete doesn't mean you're not allowed to walk away for a while.

Jessica said...

GREAT post! There has to be some intrinsic desire. A dear friend recently told me she wanted to do an Ironman next year so she "can get on with her life." 1) I don't know how/why she would think her life would be any different after an IM and 2) I don't know how that attitude is ever going to get her across the finish line.