Friday, March 14, 2014

There's only one place to start.

When I run, I get all loaded up with positive thoughts and energy. I wish I could just bottle up that shit and drink it down when I'm not so peppy.

I was talking to Mr. Tea, and I mentioned rather casually that I was struggling to get going on my 2nd workout of the day. He looked up in surprise and said, "YOU?!"

I think this really needs to be said. This triathlon life is NOT easy. I don't just wake up every morning with pixie dust flying out of my ass, all excited to go train.

That doesn't mean I don't like it. I LOVE IT. But, I am pretty sure that I'm not alone when I say that there are days that are hard to get going. I always DO, get moving, (unless I'm sick or have some issue that is screaming at me to take a rest day), but we (triathletes) just make it look easy

On my run, I was thinking about that. Do people need to see me struggle? For the most part, this way of life has become a habit. No. It's more than that. It's like breathing. If I don't have two workouts in one day, I feel like my day is WIDE OPEN. Let's not even get started on what I accomplish on rest days.

I thought, maybe it's just in how we define ourselves. 

Each and every one of us IS an athlete. We don't have one hiding inside waiting to be invited out. We ARE athletes. We just need to take ownership of that person. 

You all have been reading my blog for YEARS. I didn't go from A to Z overnight. I've been doing triathlon since 2005. When I talk to my friends, who are now quite zippy on the race course, they have the same story I do:
  • In my first race, I wasn't just last in my wave. I was last in 3 waves behind me.
  • I finished 2nd to last.
  • I didn't think anyone could ride a bike as slow as I did.
We've all been beginners. In the beginning, I had a hard time seeing myself as an athlete. Even though, I'd been running for years and riding and swimming. I just wasn't competitive. I'd swim laps or do a bike tour or even run a race. 

In the past year, I've noticed that people (friends---now ex-friends) have been distancing themselves from me. I'm the "athlete", and they just do it for fun.


I don't get paid for this. I do this for FUN. Yes. I take it seriously, but we're all passionate about something. Triathlon is my something. 

I've said it before. There is NOTHING wrong with exercising for fitness. It's VERY different than training. Training requires a dedication to nutrition, recovery, going hard on hard days and going easy on easy days. It means sometimes having to go to bed early in order to get up to train early in the morning. 

But because one person "trains" and the other "exercises", it doesn't make one person an athlete, and it certainly doesn't mean the other person (the exerciser) shouldn't try to push themselves into becoming stronger or faster. 

When I see someone running, it doesn't matter what they look like. It doesn't matter if they stop to walk. It doesn't matter if they are running slower than I can walk. You know what I call that person? A RUNNER.

When I see someone in the pool. I can tell if they are new to swimming. Or I can tell they've been swimming a long time.....I don't label one as an "athlete" and one as "not". I call them both SWIMMERS.

I know how hard it is to get out there, day after day, to do what needs to be done. If you take that step, you're an athlete. I don't care how fast you go. I don't care how far you go. The only thing I care about is that you don't give up. 

We've all been in last place. 

That's the only place to start. The good news is that you can only go up from there. 


Christi said...

Yeppers! You are so right on all points. People ask me all the time "why?" and "how?" The real question is "why not" and "how can you not?" This is just a part of me and I don't know how to explain it. So thanks for laying the words out there!

Stefanie Frank said...

It could be that folks are a bit jealous and insecure because your dedication and consistency and results over the years has made them feel somehow smaller.

Not trying to blow smoke up your ass but people get weird in the face of success (however they measure that for themselves) and if they look at yours as a way to highlight their own shortcomings it's no wonder they might distance themselves. Or that you would feel the need to distance yourself.

I am a recreational exerciser this year because it's how it has to be. My heart is NOT in serious training. At times I feel weird about that and catch myself thinking that I "used to be an athlete." Which is such BS. I'm still an athlete -- but I'm in a different place from where I was 1, 2, 3 years ago.

I will certainly never be starting from "ground zero" again the way I did in 2006.

A friend and I were saying the other day (she's a triathlete turned temporary regular exerciser like me) that it's hard to listen to people say "oh I couldn't do a half marathon" (to Christi's point above). We just roll our eyes and think -- then you really don't want to do you? Or you are too afraid to try . . . .

Bill said...

I can add nothing that Stefanie didn't already say.