It is a cruel fact of nature: losing fitness happens so quickly, but gaining it is slow and painstaking. Kicking off training for the 2011 season this January has been full of stiff muscles, sore joints, little niggles and general oxygen deprivation.
It would be easy to dwell on the negative: How did I let myself get this out of shape? Why did I eat all those Christmas cookies? Drink all those New Year’s Eve cocktails? When did running 3 miles become SOOOO difficult?!?! It SUCKS getting older!
But then, we have to stop and think. We are soooo lucky to get to do this stuff. We have the physical ability to swim, bike and run. To get out into nature and MOVE. And this gift HAS to be honored when you see people like Sarah Reinertsen, Scout Bassett and Clayton Treska out there racing. It is our duty to use our physical ability. It doesn’t have to be fast, long or pretty. Just do something. Don’t waste it. You will find out quickly how much you can surprise yourself with your ability.
Besides, how fun is it to get to do this stuff with friends and training partners? How about those folks that push you on the track just when you thought you were about to pull a hammy? What about the girl that cracked a joke that kept you going on the last hour of a long, cold ride? How many glasses of wine have you had with friends discussing your last race or workout?
And, how many inspiring people have you met along your triathlon journey? Probably more than in the normal course of life (see above mentioned people!). I have met a reverend’s wife and mother-of-five from a small southern town who somehow got the Ironman bug. When I first started out, I trained in Atlanta with a bunch of retired Delta pilots who did about 2-3 Ironmans a year. Average age? About 65!!! I had to catch myself every time I wanted to complain about an ache or pain. How about Kim Rouse at our Master’s Program? She is in the 55-59 AG and she is an Ultraman, twice! Its amazing. And they all started somewhere.
Training and racing is also great because it takes you to places you wouldn’t normally go or see. Steph and I had an amazing breakfast at a teeney BBQ shack in remote Boggy Bayou, FL after Clearwater this last November. We witnessed Zombie Night in Louisville after the Ironman (and we athletes thought we were the only walking wounded!). How about riding up a Volcano in a rainstorm? And on my last trail run - while I may have been squatting to "check my shoelaces" behind a certain shrub ;) - I found a GPS geocache-ing scavenger hunt box. Yeah, I didn't know what it was either! Look it up: geocaching.com
Anyway, without getting to melodramatic, I just wanted put it out there that everytime you experience negativity in your training or racing, come back to center and realize how great this sport is. How wonderful the experiences. The tough times just toughen you up and the great times can put you on top of the world. Get out there!
Enjoy your training and be good to yourself! Here’s to a fabulous 2011!