Monday, October 8, 2012

Why am I doing this?

Here's the deal...I have an Ironman on November 25th in Cozumel Mexico (I know can it get any sweeter?!) so my training is at it's crunch time now - I have 6 weeks. Just as everyone's tri season is at an end mine is at it's peak. The bright side is that most of my friends are training for marathons so I can at least get them to meet up for weekend runs. Even if we're not the same pace agreeing to meet them commits me and gets me out the door and this is great riding weather for cycling so I'm grateful to have cycling buddies still on the road.

For the last few months I have been struggling, really struggling with wanting to train. I took the entire June/July off of swimming (something I love to do), I barely ran (bane of my existence) but I did keep up with cycling (my true love). At a truly low point I questioned if I really wanted to do this IM (Ironman). I was constantly asking myself what was my purpose in training for a second IM? Because let me tell you, there is a difference between training for your first, your second and I'm going to take a gander and say any other IM repeat. 

In my first IM I was trying to prove to myself that I can do this hard as hell feat. And I did, I proved to myself and everyone that I could become an Ironman athlete. However, the second is a different story. I've already proven I can do it, so why do I have to do another? Why do I want to do another? What's my motivation? Where does my drive come from? Hard questions indeed. Jordan Rapp said in one of his blogs "But getting to the starting line is often just as - if not more - difficult than getting to the finish line". No truer words could have been written for me this year.

In mid August I went to IM Mont Tremblant for the weekend to train and support my good friend Seb. Being surrounded by the IM buzz and excitement made me realize I wasn't ready to give up the IM journey. I'm not a quitter and if I were to stop...well...I know others would understand but I would feel like I gave up on myself. 
Two weeks after IM Mont Tremblant I went to Boise Idaho to train and decompress at my coaches house (yes him and his wife are that awesome). I had a solid 8 days of swimming and running that first week in September. It was the perfect jump start I needed in order to get back into the training groove. I had not been consistent so to get my endorphins every day, to sweat and stretch, to sleep. It was heaven. I truly enjoyed myself and was ready to get back home to train.

Now that I'm back in the thick of it all, it feels good to have a routine and structure. WHY do I ever stop?!?

Have I discovered what motivates me? Where my drive comes from? Why I feel the need to sign up for IM distance? I think I'm starting to get a clue. I know I have consistency issues and I can (and DO) fall off the training wagon...that is a constant thing I'm trying to work on, maybe I always will. Training for an event of this magnitude requires a lot of planning and making deals with myself (I must have been a lawyer in my past life), figuring out who I can get to go with me for workouts or swim classes. Because let's face it, it's a hell of a lot more fun to be in pain with friends then flying solo. I like going long, that's why I'm interested in half iron or iron distance triathlons. In my quest to figure out the why - I am realizing it's not just triathlon I'm interested in going long with. I want to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim, I want to swim a 3-6 mi open water swim (OWS). I want to do a marathon trail race. Going long. Pushing myself mentally beyond what I think possible. Yes, I'm an endurance junkie.
Chris Macca on ITU vs IM distance Triathlete magazine

Despite completing an Ironman last year I am still very new to the triathlon world and the consistent training that it involves. The biggest thing I'm learning on this IM journey is that I need to make sure I'm doing it (Ironman) for the right reasons. That I never feel like it's "work", because I'm not getting paid to do this. I'm paying to do it! It's okay to take breaks from training but not too long. It's okay to still be trying to figure out what kind of athlete I am and where my strengths are within each discipline. It doesn't happen overnight (as much as I want it to), and the process is painfully long...but so is the race. What I am 100% sure of is crossing the finish line makes all this hemming and hawing seem trivial and inconsequential. Crossing the finish line makes you appreciate the magic in the world. The race is physical of course but it's mostly mental.

I guess I am learning a few things on this journey.


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