Friday, April 3, 2015

Me & Jesse Thomas have a lot in common

Neither one of us is an IRONMAN.

We like to run together. And in our cool sunglasses.

OK, I am lying about the running together and totally Photoshopped that...poorly...but I couldn't resist. Haha.

But back to that thing about neither of us having done an IRONMAN (which is all I really know that we really have in common) --

He wrote an article recently called, "I’m not an Ironman (and that’s okay)" and went on to talk about how often he is asked if he has done THE IRONMAN. His response echoed much of what I say and think.

When the IRONMAN question is posed to me (have you done one?!), I say as briefly as possible no, I concentrate on the shorter faster races. I used to say I was waiting till the kids were out of the house, or waiting until I am slow, but honestly, I may never do one. Or maybe I will. Who knows? I take it all one day, one week, one race, one year at a time.

I LIKE the balance I have with the distances I train for - sprint, Olympic, and the occasional half-iron.

My reasons are very similar to his, well aside from the prize money! Here I quote him:
"You could argue the same thing for age-groupers. If your goal is to stay healthy and fit, training and racing shorter distances is probably more likely to keep you consistently healthy and fit than an Ironman will. If you’re doing it for fun and happiness, it’s easy to argue that preparing for an Ironman can venture past the fun/happy side to borderline cray-cray. Whenever I imagine training for an Ironman, I think of that YouTube video with the robotic-voice dude who says, “This is fun for me,” in response to why he has to go to bed at 6 o’clock. Many of my age-grouper friends say that training for an Ironman is hard—not just hard physically, but hard on their families, on their jobs and friends. It seems easy for that natural happy balance of life to sway a little too far into training mode."
These are the reasons I have no current interest in iron-distance races:
  • I prefer going faster to going longer (it's a boredom/attention span kind of thing). 
  • Going long tends to result in injury for me. (see missed Boston Marathon #1 and missed Boston Marathon #2)
  • Cycling for up to 2-/12 or so hours is FUN! Cycling for much longer - notsomuchfun.
  • The amount of time required to train to be successful at sprint and Olympic distance is sustainable and permits some semblance of balance. It allows me to be a mom, attend to and enjoy my work, and get sufficient (albeit barely) sleep. 
  • I love the type of training my coach has me do for short course racing - there's a lot of structure, changing gears, holding wattages, going after particular paces and holding them. I like the mental aspects of it, it feels like play, like a game. And I can get an awesome workout in an hour or hour and a half. 
  • There is no major buildup then letdown/breakdown after my races. I take a day off, then it's right back to it! Emotionally, that keeps everything on a much more even keel. 
  • If I have a bad race, it's not such a big deal since I can race the shorter distances more often. 
  • Short course racing has been good to me! It's led to amazing experiences at USAT Nationals and on Team USA racing in Auckland, London, and this year Chicago!

I am on a Facebook group for triathletes that is populated mainly by women and moms. I see regular posts from folks beating themselves up for struggling to train for longer races with family situations that really don't seem to lend themselves to a good balance with training for long races. Why do they set themselves up for that? Do what is manageable, do it well, and enjoy it! It makes me sad as I wonder if they have a need to do something "epic" to feel good. 

What makes me feel good is that I've sustained this lifestyle now for nearly 7 years; it's truly become a way of life. I attribute some of that to my choice of race distance.

I'm in no way criticizing those who do seek and achieve iron-distance goals (and beyond!) I think it's fantastic, I truly do!! I'm just saying the goal is not right for everyone! 

Every race distance is difficult in its own way and every race distance offers unique challenges. Find the distances and events that enrich life without dominating it. Train at a level that does not sacrifice healthy relationships with those you love.

I am thankful my family supports my training and racing. I hope part of that is because I've tried to respect the amount that works for us.

And totally unrelated to this post, this came today! Pretty cool, but we are already well into 2015 and it's a whole new ballgame.