“You can’t always get what you want – you get what you need” as the Rolling Stones would say. And on this last day of March as I am emerging out of winter hibernation I am looking for new-found motivation to train, blog, and race. My state of “hibernation” this winter seemed like it didn’t have much of “what I wanted” and I am still hoping that I will soon learn it was “what I needed”.
I fell in love with triathlons while living in Hawaii. So it makes sense that when I think of a love for running or biking (or I guess swimming even though I never use “swimming” and “love” in the same sentence) I associate those feelings with warmth, sun, and the ocean. Not much can top a long run along the ocean in a sports bra and shorts and then jumping into the coolness of the green-blue water. Or a bike ride around the island with never-ending panoramic views of water on one side and the massive Koo’lau Mountains on the other. Then in the height of the excitement around my new-found passion, I was ripped away to a new location. Colorado is beautiful and has a lot of great places to explore and be outdoors, but I wasn’t prepared to be in-doors, training in the dark all winter. And don’t kid yourself, I did my fair share of runs in below zero temperatures wearing two pairs of leggings, 3 long-sleeves, a down vest, beanie, mittens, down jacket…sweating but freezing at the same time. But you can’t ride your bike outside on the snow and ice so I became a slave to the trainer. And sadly I have ridden inside so much that Tucker now knows the difference between when I slow pedal for rest between intervals and when I slow pedal to cool down and finish workout. I no longer swim outside in the sunshine but rather in the stuffy chlorine-vapor humidity of the indoor pool. For three years I was used to having these major tan lines that made my white parts look ghostly white… now those lines are gone. As you can probably tell, none of this was particularly “what I wanted”.
In this hibernation period, Peter and I both struggled with our motivation behind training at such a ridiculous level. I didn’t feel like enjoyment and love like it did in Hawaii. It felt like hard, miserable, please-make-it-stop work. If you haven’t met us yet, I will save you the confusion: we are high-strung over achievers that have a hard time not being the best in whatever we do. It’s not that we have to beat out everyone around us, it just means that we have a hard time half-assing things. If I am going to just be mediocre at something or do something and not really try, then I would rather not do it at all…it feels like a waste of my time. This means that we will either put up huge 20-hour training weeks where we train twice a day so that we can realize our full potential, or just quit all together. So when you are both exhausted, waking up at 4:45am so you can do a bike ride before rushing to work and then go straight from work to the pool and then straight home to make dinner and hopefully eat by 8:30pm (and you don’t even have kids!!) you wonder what the heck you are doing this for. There have to be reasons beyond self-fulfillment and self-satisfaction because soon those things can turn into self-glorification.
I decided to take a long hiatus from blogging and posting things about my training or the small races I did over the winter to prayerfully reflect on my motivations for training so hard and sacrificing so much. And even though I felt so enclosed all winter, confined to this feeling of hibernation, I am hoping that all of that focused training and reflection was “what I needed”. Here I am, one week out from my first 70.3 race of the season in Galveston, Texas. I am excited to race and see how all of my hard work over the winter pays off and I am especially excited to race for my awesome new teammates on the TriBella team. Maybe God had a reason behind all of my sacrifice. But I am determined to not make this season of my life all about self-glorification. After a lot of prayer, Peter and I have come up with some fantastic ideas that I am excited to share. Stay tuned, more to follow. But first, it’s time to race!