Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The struggle of arriving

It began around 3 p.m.: "Man...it's going to suck to do this track workout alone." I pondered which track to use - the JC is closer, but the high school track is much better, especially since the two inside lanes are open for use.

There's an all-comers track meet tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have plans tomorrow evening so I can't do the meet. BECAUSE of the meet, track practice tonight for the group is canceled.

That leaves me with resuming my usual Tuesday Track workout - but alone.

Oh sure, I'm willing to bet a couple people from the usual group showed up today at 5:30 p.m. to run the track since they aren't planning to go to the track meet tomorrow. But it's now 5:45 p.m. - a result of this struggle I've been fighting all afternoon - and I'm left to my own motivation to get me to the track.

See, I didn't manage to get yoga in last week because of oversleeping; oversleeping caused a 'more important' bike workout to bump yoga off the schedule for Wed evening. Saturday yoga got bumped for the Lake Berryessa swim.

My body is craving yoga like a kid craves the ice cream truck in the heat of summer. Just need it...so...bad.

My mind wandered...maybe I could do yoga tonight instead? I looked at my schedule for the week. Every morning and evening are booked solid - mostly workouts, but a couple of fun things in there (Giants game on Friday!!). The bargaining had begun: I briefly attempted to strategize a way to make this work.

"Well...if I moved this workout to there...then did that bike here...no, no NO." End bargaining.

It just wouldn't work. I MUST do this track workout tonight. No exceptions.

Then I walked out to my car. Holy CANNOLI it's hot and windy out here! Oh, how am I going to run in this?

Then the doubt set in. No, I couldn't run in this weather. Too hot. So windy!

As I drove home, doubt turned into denial. I thought if I hurried I could still make 5:30 p.m. yoga. It would be great! "What's a track workout, anyway," I thought. "I'm going to get plenty of running in this week, and I had a great track workout the last few weeks and...and..."

...No. NO. EXCUSES. I had to GO, DAMMIT!

I opened up the house. Nice and cool inside. I opened up the fridge to grab a quick snack. As I reached for the carrots, I saw it.

Oh, Sierra Nevada Summerfest, why must you stare at me that way? I immediately saw myself lounging in the backyard, plucking that silver cap off, putting the cold bottle to my lips and enjoying the first taste of this smooth, light ale that is so aptly named.

Oh! How civilized it could be! I could be like my neighbors, whose barbecue had already been fired up, and start a nice light summer dinner, sip my beer and enjoy the warmth of the long evening.

I shook my head, grabbed the carrots, and left the beer and my daydreams alone in the darkness of the closed fridge.

No, I was going to be good. I had my day of rest yesterday. It's time to move forward. Upward.

This is what will separate me on race day, I am convinced. Even if it doesn't - even if my day doesn't go my way - at LEAST I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I DIDN'T succumb to my temptations or my desire (in this case, yoga and/or beer). That I stuck to the plan. That I did EVERYTHING I COULD to be ready on race day. To perform.

I think most triathletes are used to hearing that they're crazy for doing this sport. And people think that we naturally have these personalities that make us so driven ALL the time and that we're just machines who are able to get out there and train endlessly. They also seem to think that training is the hardest part.

And while I acknowledge that there are certainly training days where I'd wished I'd stayed in bed instead, or later felt so sore and exhausted I didn't think I'd ever recover...there is another hard part. It's not always easy to get to your workouts (esp if they're solo). It's not always easy to make the choice to train instead of see friends. To make the sacrifices you have to make - another beer, that extra slice of pizza or staying up late to watch a movie. Sometimes just showing up is a struggle. Not because I don't want to; but I'll be the first to admit that sometimes options present themselves that are much more enticing than training (like sleeping in or yoga!!).

But more often than not, I stay the course. I stick with it. Why? I love it! No other sport or activity has given me so much - humiliation, satisfaction, disappointment, exhilaration, motivation, hysteria, growth and achievement, to name a few.

Even the simple mental challenge I experienced today was an exercise in growth and strength. I enjoyed my mind trying to convince me to do something else. I loved entertaining some enticing alternatives. And I smiled when I struck a deal with myself:

Throw my running clothes on, write about this experience (while the sun goes down a little more and things cool off), and go run.

So off I go.


Rainmaker said...

Yes...doing track workouts alone can be painful. So very painful. Good to see you HTUF'd though and headed out to knock it out!

paul in kirkland, wa said...

Whatever you do, don't give up! I'm trying to get into tri myself and I'm following your blog for motivation. How's that for added pressure :)

I'm totally with you on the struggles, and it's even worse when you're just getting started.

Next time you struggle remember how far you've come!

Anonymous said...

I might be going to the giants game friday too!!!

Or it can be hard when your workouts consist of getting worked over by kids younger than you, you think WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?!!?! but you still show up again.

rocketpants said...

Way to get out there and do it!! That struggle is the hardest. I hate it in the morning.

Paul said...

beer is so much better after track :)

Kelly said...

i really think the not wanting to do it part of training (the kinda shitty part) isn't acknowledged enough. and when everyone thinks 'oh you do triathlon you must be so hard-core' and then when all you hear from other people training is all super peppy-ness, you start to think you must be the only person who really really really doesn't want to go for that ride/run/swim. so it's always good to hear some honest struggle and triumph out there.

PS. I do my bargaining in bed in the morning, as in maybe I can sleep 30 more minutes and fit it in tonight...

Chris Westall said...

Hot and Windy... that sounds like Yoga weather. Don't kid yourself... stretching / yoga is soooooo important and good for you. I often find myself skipping it an then regretting it.

And I too crave the SummerFest! Dam them for being so good.

Keep up the good behavior... the off-season will be here before you know it and THEN you can indulge a little. Ok maybe a lot ;-) Ok... and then feel guilty... but I often say if your going to have a coke, why have a diet coke have the real deal!

Eileen Swanson said...

Way to go Sarah! Tough for sure. Totally makes you so strong though......

By the way, have you heard of the Terrible Two? Reid is doing it and I am thinking about doing some of it. Would you be up for it?


Anonymous said...

i've heard that structural maintenance is the most important thing when it comes to triathlon training. If you only have time to do a workout or a yoga/pilates/stretch or other structural maintenance, do the structural maintenance instead of the workout. So next time try doing the yoga. It's better to be fully healthy, functional, and 105% fresh and 95% fit, than to be 100% fit but 95% fresh and not functioning as well.

Anonymous said...

Track + solo = NIGHTMARE! I can feel your pain!

What to HTFU girl! Sometimes just sucking it up (even if it's not the BEST workout) mentally it will do wonders!


Courtenay said...

i'm debating between a nap and a swim right now. the swim will happen, the nap won't, i can already tell, but it IS nice to sit here on the couch with the kitty and conduct an internal debate!

also: listen to greg. he is the expert on these things. because he spends 95% of his non-training hours on the internet bouncing between espn.com and various technique/advice/training forums. (and i still spend 95% of mine on my silly website!)