When was the time when you realized you where a triathlete? I mean, I know conventional wisdom says that once you cross the finish line of your first race, you are officially in the club. And I've heard some modifications of the same theme passed around as well, but a finish is the essential qualifier.
But I'm talking about when it hits you in that "every day as you get out of bed" sense. Not only do you have to juggle training with the rest of your life, you are HAPPY to do so. I'm talking about when the hours you put into training are just as routine as making a pot of coffee and checking your email or heading to a work site. Or playing with the kids. Or cooking dinner. Or whatever else we do.
It seems like this is happening to me now.
I took up triathlon to get in shape and to get my life back in order. It's funny how it takes what most people would consider a very abnormal amount of time, training, and exercise to help me live what I consider a normal life. Sure I still have my bad days, but things are smoothing out. And I'm not even talking about smoothing out from any specific issues I've had in the past. I'm just talking about living life with much more overall levity.
It's just past midnight here in California. The house is quiet, though I can hear the dogs breathing around the corner in the next room. They are funny. They've been asleep for hours, but they never go to their beds until the last of us turns in for the night.
I'd love to give them the opportunity to finally and officially crash out, but I am buzzing. I had a great training week, at least for me. About 10 days ago, I finally got my butt out of the pool and into the open water for training swims. The difference it has made is remarkable. Am I a better swimmer now? No. Am I any faster? No. But I am 110% more comfortable than I was before. We'll see what happens at the next race, but I am hopeful that I have finally established a base to work from.
I also got a proper bike fitting. Again, the difference is remarkable. I had it done to my tri bike, and even though I've got a ways to go in terms of getting used to staying in aero position for long periods of time, the new fit is like night and day. And it was especially noticeable when I took my road bike out. I need to add getting that fitted to the list, I guess.
When I started this journey, things where different. It was haphazard training with no thought to using science or technique to get better. I'd guess this is pretty typical of anyone starting anything. I knew I had to make an immediate and radical change, but I was doing something before I fully understood what it was. But now, I am 360 degrees of consumed. And it feels good. Because I have not been consumed by anything this positive in awhile. And the wonderful irony in all this is that being consumed by triathlon is opening up possibilities outside of triathlon. Ask anyone who knows me, and I hope they'd say I'm a little more present these days.
I have to be careful though, because I've seen this movie before, and it can have different endings. This time I have to make sure I get the ending as consumption as balance, not consumption as peril. I've been too much of a tactical thinker in the past. This needs to be strategic. Roll credits, happy music. And watch for the "A" word. Because for me, addiction is very much the dark side of consumption. Addiction is the peril.
When I was getting the bike fit done, the technician asked my what my long term plans where. I didn't have an answer for him but I've been thinking about this lately. I've done 4 sprint races so far and a handful of 5 and 10K's. I have a Olympic distance race scheduled for June, and I'd like to do a few more of this distance this year. But past that?
I think it may be a 1/2 Iron Man. It's a good compromise, I think. You get the bragging rights for completing an elite event, but the time and preparation can probably done in a "strategically consumable" way.
My next race is next weekend. It's the Kring & Chung Newport Beach Triathlon. I guess it's the triathlon equivalent of a "home game" in that Newport Beach is just one city south of me. Actually, it's just two left and two right turns from my driveway to the parking lot. So the short travel time will be nice. And I already have a place scoped out for the post-race breakfast.
I'm really looking forward to the race. And though it's probably time to let the dogs go to bed by doing the same myself, I feel like I should do an elevation profile of the bike course or something. It's nervous energy, but positive energy.
I'm a little worried that this comes across as a "me, me, me" post. Because maybe it is. So I just need to stay strategic and remember that even though triathlon has made my life better, there is more to life than triathlon. And though I am not going to feel guilty about it, this time I have to make it as awesome as possible for everybody.
Because what's the point otherwise?