Some people think starting over isn't a good thing. That going back to the beginning is something they never want to do again...whether its the starting a new relationship, going back to school, or just learning something new. We tend to dread the process of not knowing the answers and having to look to outside resources to overcome challenges. That's why we have friends, coaches and other people in our lives with more experience to help us along the way.
During my three weeks or so off from regularly scheduled training I always find myself reexamining why I do this sport. Why I spend tons of time, energy, money, vacation and portions of my mental sanity churning out the daily grind of swimming, biking and running and then racing all over the country (and even out of the country!).
I've spoken about this many times, but I guess its a combination of things. The number one reason is always that I love the process of seeing all of the training coming together to race. Without racing, there would be no training. It's so much more than than though...I'm sure most of you triathletes out there can attest to that!
The time off allows for examination, and time to refresh our body and mind to embark on another journey when the time is right. Starting over in the middle of the season after some time off can be daunting. So far, it's not much of a surprise - baby I'm out of shape!! My swim times are crappy, my run times are even crappier, and my bike times well, those don't change a whole lot -but my heart rate is like really, really high and I have to back it down on all the hills!!
It's hard to start over, but it also provides an opportunity to look at things a different way. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I'm determined that I don't want to have even remote insanity for the remainder of the season. I have a list of things that I want to think about every day while I'm training to help me be a better athlete and get the most from each session.
1. Thankfulness to be alive, healthy & able to train
2. The chance to practice my focus, be in the moment and learn about my limits
3. The camaraderie that it brings with some very special people in my life
4. Getting fitter, becoming a better athlete
5. Using my gifts to help boys like Ryan and being part of a team doing really cool things like Ballou Skies
6. Eventually the chance to race, but to not have that be the main focus of the every day, or basically, it just eats you alive!
My best training and racing has been just because, because I loved it, because I wanted to see what happened, because there wasn't any pressure (real or perceived). That's when I can pour my heart out on the course and not look back. I think back to Kona of 2008, and it was such an amazing day because I expected NOTHING.. I had NO earthly idea of a result that I wanted. I just wanted to race and follow the plan (and hopefully finish)..that was it! Things are a little different now, I've done a few more races, and had a few more experiences, and all of them have helped me become the athlete I am today. I'll never regret that for as long as I live.
It's the sessions that build into days, the days into weeks, the weeks into months of solid and consistent workouts that allow athletes to reach their full potential. I'm convinced that a consistent athlete will beat a talented sporadic athlete MOST of the time. That's why I'm in triathlon! I like things that reward discipline. I try to explain that to people sometimes, and they just look at me all sideways like I'm crazy!!
So, here I sit, starting over. I've wanted to do an Ironman all year. I'll admit, I was hoping that might be in Hawaii, but you can't say one thing and then do another (ie say you believe in a plan and then sulk that you didn't get what YOU want), so regardless of where it is, I know in my heart that it is time to attempt this distance again. It taught me so much about myself, and I loved that.
That's why I'll be drinking tequila, salsa dancing and wearing my sombrero for 140.6 miles on November 28th at Ironman Cozumel. Ok.. well, I guess I"ll be swimming, biking and running, but whatever, close!
I have a the support of my friends, family and training partners to help me get there. Without them, I would be even more scared than I am now to take on this distance again. I do believe that when I can't walk, my faith will carry me.
One day, I hope I'll be back in Hawaii to do an Ironman again. Until that day, I'm excited to start all over again... 17 weeks and 5 days....
Here we go...
PS> To the Lake Placid competitors - amazing job out there! I was so proud of all of you.. but best of all, my very close friend Jocelyn and my fellow coach Chad put together one of those days where preparation meets opportunity and I couldn't be more excited for either of them. Off to Kona they go.. My heart is full...and it couldn't have happened to two better people..