Note: I have other things I need to write about (when do I not?) (like Leadville), but this takes priority. I need to brain dump before I forget this ...
On Facebook the other day, I felt compelled to write a post. I'll post it here:
It got a lot of likes and a bit of discussion (mainly Ann trying to talk me into IMMT next year which yes, I want to do it but can we wait until 2018 please?) ... but what it REALLY spawned was a discussion in my brain. And with Brandon.
Athletes use a lot of different things as fuel. Inspiration. Vanity. Beating personal demons. Proving others wrong. I got to wondering, what do I use? I posted that these people inspire and humble me. And don't get me wrong, they do.
They just also make me feel less than. Which is HORRIBLE. I know that their fast is my slow but I also know that my slow is someone else's fast but I happen to know way more fast people than slow people it feels like or people that are way unbelievably cooler than I will ever hope to be.
Don't get me wrong; not everyone I tagged in that post is fast. I tagged a MaccaXer, Tim, who, when healthy is fast, but is currently fighting his way back from being prone in a hospital bed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. I tagged a different MaccaXer named Tim, who's a chef on the East Coast who has lost a lot of weight and does Ironman and makes food I can only dream of making. I tagged MaccaXer Andy, who is essentially a middle-of-the-pack triathlete, but he does it with such a positive attitude.
And then ... there's me. (Or I feel like there's me). I don't feel like I'm anything special. And yes, I know my whole goal this year was to try to combat that and embrace my inner awesome but I've already gone into it here a bit on how I feel like I'm failing miserably at that.
I don't know what I use as motivation. Proving others wrong does me no good. Say I suck? Sure, great, I'll agree with you. Vanity? Works only so long ... and it's so, so transitory as it's hard to keep focused when you don't see the changes in yourself for so long (and I'll concede that I may have a tiny bit of body dysmorphia when it comes to this). I don't feel like I have deep personal demons ... or at least can't put a finger on them well enough to use them as fuel. And inspirational friends/people ... well, that can get me out the door sometimes, but it won't sustain me otherwise.
I wrote that Facebook post on Sunday. Tuesday, we went up to Boulder for a 40 mile ride - we decided to essentially do one (slightly modified) loop of the IM Boulder course (if we want to race it, we should be prepared).
We got about 10-15 miles in (I don't remember now) and I felt awful. My legs weren't coming around, we hadn't even gotten to the really bad part of the Nelson climb (dear sweet jeebus does Nelson suck going the IM way), and we paused on the side of the road for a moment. I commented that I really had nothing. Brandon said that we could turn it and still get in a good 20ish miles and just shift our long ride.
I thought about it. I really considered it.
But then ...
I thought about all the other times I've mailed it in during workouts, deciding to shift things because I wasn't feeling it that day. And I thought about all the times the shift ended up not working out for whatever reason. And how it seemed like I was writing the same old story.
So I told myself no. I may have said to Brandon we'll keep going, but that part's a little fuzzy. I do know that I got back on my bike and started pedaling and didn't stop again until after we hit 36 again (no drop ride; I drop him somewhat on climbs).
We kept going that day, and got in 42 miles.
(We also stopped at Mary's Market (under new ownership and I think a technical new name now) in Hygiene for the first time, making us feel like true Boulder cyclists/triathletes.
Later that afternoon, after Brandon had already left for his commute to work, I was supposed to run. It was hot, I didn't want to, maybe I could move it and instead of run Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday run Wednesday-Friday-Sunday but then my long run if I didn't want it hot and miserable in the afternoon would have to be Wednesday and oh god that sounds horrible so moving things clearly isn't going to work.
So instead, I ran. It was hot and it wasn't long, but I ran, and edited my route so it was a bit longer than usual.
What I came to realize, sitting on my bike on the side of Nelson Road up in Boulder, is that I so often take the easy way out. I use the old, "if you're not feeling it, try it for a while and if it's still awful, quit" advice as an excuse way too often.
I know, that if I want to be better, I need to make the hard decision. I need to fight, and I need to fight now. If I want to pull off the Ironman double next year, I can't be taking shortcuts. I need to work, and to trust the work. I need to fight my own mediocrity, and maybe, just maybe, I can be something better.
Note 1: We did a 20 mile version of the same ride the week previous. On the 40 mile version, I actually averaged .4 mph faster.
Note 2: As a curiosity, I checked some of my summer training mileage to my summer training mileage in 2013 (a.k.a. the Ironman year). It's actually ... quite comparable. And I felt like my training was shit ...