I've been thinking a lot lately about the sport of triathlon, and having "what it takes". I've not had it in the past year. I think competing (or even just racing for fun) requires several things:
- Physical Ability
I've never been lacking in determination. When I joined the fire department and someone told me I couldn't be a firefighter, I had to prove them wrong. When I suffered a torn meniscus, I walked 6 miles of my 70.3 in Cedar Point, and 11 miles of 13 at the Half Full Triathlon. (Ok, the line between "determined" and stubborn is fairly blurred, but oh well).
Dedication is something I wish I had more of. My training has not been consistent for quite some time (more on that under "physical ability"). I've tried to listen to my body, and sometimes rest seems best, but not training makes me feel like a slacker (especially when you are friends with amazing, dedicated athletes who seem to make it work every day). The past few weeks...my dedication has been more consistent. I've been training 6 days a week, and slowly building my run mileage, but I have so far to go.
Physical ability has been my biggest issue this year. The list of medical issues is long (and sometimes quite random...ectopic pregnancy, torn meniscus, abnormal heart rhythm, hearing loss, hair loss, allergic reaction, blah, blah, blah). Regardless, my ability to consistently train or race this year has been nonexistent. For a long time I was pushing through, training despite not feeling 100%. Thankfully, just being able to exercise made me feel a bit better. Lately...exercise has been a coping mechanism and I have increased my physical ability. I have a long way to go, but I'm making progress.
Motivation. So this is where I've had a huge boost lately. I kept waiting for things this year to motivate me...trips to races, my desire to race, anything. It just wasn't there. Part of it was related to the health issues, but with more motivation I might have sucked it up a bit more often. In the past few weeks, the motivation has been abounding. It started when I went back to spin class. Sherri has been my favorite spin instructor since I started taking the class, but I took a hiatus when I thought it wasn't conducive to triathlon training. I've since discovered that it is a good way for me to get speed work in, especially because I feel like I can't push myself hard enough alone on the trainer. Our daughters became friends this year at school, and I have been attending her class pretty consistently. She has this ability to constantly remind you of the mind-body connection. It has helped me to find some serious focus while working harder than I have in a long time.
Then there are our new teams members on the Rev3 Triathlon Team. These are some crazy fast, really dedicated triathletes. I'm going to have to bring it in 2012.
Cookie the Wonderdog has been great motivation, too...she pushes me to be out there running even when I'm not feeling it. Today we ran after dark, with flashlights and a reflective vest, and I am so thankful for the motivation.
There are so many things that influence my motivation, but I am thankful for ongoing family support (and my husband who understands my endurance sport addiction even if he wouldn't do a triathlon himself), my friends (like friends who persist despite health issues, and Katy who is pregnant and still staying in fantastic shape!), my teammates, and my kids (who will soon be faster than me). Bring on 2012!!!!
"If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don't nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life - this is also 'playing' the game!" - Emily Post