Trust me, I'm one of the worst offenders so it takes one to know one in this case.
Let me tell you a little story. When I decided that I wanted to do triathlons I did a few sprints and then at some point, I knew I wanted to go longer distances. By the time I had done one Olympic distance race somewhere I got into my mind that I could do a full Ironman the following year. We were approaching July and Beth and I were to sign up and make it happen - Ironman Lake Placid 2007. Yikes.
After we thought better of it, I still decided a few halfs were in my future and the first of those would be Eagleman 70.3 in Cambridge, Maryland. It was a hot as blazes, swealtering day (as it always is) and without much of a clue I managed to pull out a 5 hr 6 min half on my first try. How I did it to the this day I still don't know. It's a flat course so I'm sure that helped. I didn't think much of it, nothing to base it on and nothing much else to really understand about it! I was happy I finished, period.
Then it becomes all about time. Swim time, bike time, run time + transition time. Getting that time down becomes all of our focus. I thought it would be pretty much a piece of cake to go under 5 hours for a half ironman.. I mean, I was 6 mins away.. come on.. I barely knew what I was doing. I'd just need a decent day, not even a good day right?!
2007 came and went
2008 came and went
2009 I would have gotten it, but I decided to break my collarbone instead at the Half Ironman World Championships. It was FLAT and FAST and at 52 miles into the bike I was well on track, until those railroad tracks.. well, and a big freakin cone :)
Nope, no breaking 5 hours, just surgery.
Finally, in 2010 at Rev 3 Half Ironman in September I put one together and did it. That was almost three and a half years later.
It was a much longer road than I had anticipated. That half distance was a real kicker for me and the more I learned about my physiology, the more it made sense that I'm so aerobic I can almost do 2 half IM's at the same pace as I could do a FULL Ironman. I wasn't build for speed, I was built for distance.. plus I just liked to make a lot of mistakes and be really inconsistent!
Anyway, I'm trying to get at the fact that the things in life that are worth anything, are always worth working for. It might take me another two years to go under 4:30 at a half, or under 10:00 at an Ironman. I hope it doesn't, but the statistics of those who turn pro are usually that honestly, we get slower before we get faster. The pressure of it all, the different style of racing, the uncertainty and the differences in the type of training required and the fact that EVERYONE is just that darn good can lead to taking two steps back before you can take one forward.
It's kind of a pisser. I knew that going in though. I wasn't looking for all roses and in the end, if I give this thing a shot, a real shot for a period of time and it doesn't happen, then fine. I'm not about to let that "What if?" question rule my subconscious so I'll just have to put the time in and keep it all in perspective to the best of my ability.
Would I like to be top five quality right now.. in some ways yes, but honestly, in some ways no too. I don't know if would appreciate it as much if it happened that way. I'd like to have to work for it, train for it, grind away at it a bit. I'd like to Charisa Wernick it. Yep, I'm making that a verb. For those of you who don't know her, she's talented of course, but she's put in the time. She's had an exceptional attitude about this process and one I would like to emulate regardless of the outcome. In 2010 we both did Ironman Cozumel and she didn't have a race up to her capabilities to end her first rookie season. She never wavered. She didn't give up and say she just wasn't cut out to be a pro, she put her head down and she worked for the last year and a half. Now, at Ironman Texas this past weekend, she placed a hard fought 5th place with a 59 swim, 5:07 bike and 3:16 marathon. KILLED IT (and still wasn't completely satisfied by the way- but we are all like that!). It was simply amazing to see that happen over the last years.
So, even though I don't want to be patient (AT ALL), I guess I will.. I'll do my best to look at big picture and enjoy the journey along the way. That's all we can do folks. Race results aren't nearly enough to sustain us, it has to be for something more. Without something more, we will never have the patience and fortitude to keep moving forward when ever single thing is pointing at the fact that we should hang it up and move on to something else.
If I get grumpy, remind me of this post ok.. and I'll keep reading the quotes below, and we'll all be just fine in the end.
Patience is cultivated in the storms of your own heart and mind.
CHRISTINA FELDMAN, Compassion
Patience is woven into the web of the universe because this universe reflects--in dim and fractured ways--the divine patience of its creator.
SAMUEL WELLS, "Good Earth," Christian Ethics
Patience is the ballast of the soul, that will keep it from rolling and tumbling in the greatest storms: and he, that will venture out without this to make him sail even and steady will certainly make shipwreck, and drown himself; first, in the cares and sorrows of this world; and, then, in perdition.
The strongest of all warriors are these two -- Time and Patience.