I have a bad habit of looking down at the ground when I run. I'm not sure what I'll find there. Some speed maybe? It makes more sense to look ahead, of course. It makes more sense to target what's coming next, not look at the pebbles dotting the street right by your feet.
Nevertheless I must remind myself to look up--to look forward.
I don't actually have a problem looking to the future. In fact, I could argue I live too much in the past and the future, and not enough in the present. But when it comes to my fitness, my training and my racing, I seem to be rather myopic. I'm only as good as my last swim, bike or run. I'm only as good as my last race.
I know that those who race best don't think like I do. They put the bad race or workout directly behind them and move on--chin up--into the future. This, I've decided needs to be my next and newest goal. I need to look up when I run. Because it's hard to keep loving the work if the work doesn't give you love back, and the work only gives you love back if you don't expect it to be good all the time. It only loves you back if you don't let it define you on a day to day basis.
So that's the new me. Not defined by today's slacker workout. Instead, defined by....
Now that is a question to contemplate. Defined by....
Don't you find it hard not to define by? Like in general? Like in life?
I've noticed this trend among my mom athletes.
Awhile ago they decided to do a triathlon, and they liked it. They liked that they did something scary and hard; they liked that they took on a challenge and conquered it; they liked that they worked to become fit enough to actually complete an event. They liked it so much, they wanted more. They don't ever want to go back to being that other person-- the person before the person that completed the triathlon.
And it begins. They gradually morph in body and in self-definition.
This can be a big ass problem to the others in the athlete's life. The others--like the spouse, the friends, the family--LIKED (usually) the triathlete before she/he was a triathlete. They also depended on her--to meet demands and not to make them. And she tries to still be that person. But she really wants to be the person who trains and races. Because that person is strong and able. That person has her own life--in addition to the life that previously existed pretty much only in service to others.
The woman prides herself on being a mom. But she also wants to be fully entrenched and viewed by the world around her as a triathlete, as a contender, as a person who has the energy and self discipline and life force to both have a life for herself--and the life of a mom. The training and the racing are emblematic of her ability and desire to do both--to be both. Sometimes the spouse and friends stick around for this transformation. Sometimes they are so angered and bitter about the transformation that they leave.
It's inaccurate to paint a picture that showcases these tri moms as entirely selfless beings who are now, finally, taking a bit back for themselves. Nevertheless, that is how I am painting it, because frankly that is how I view it! haha! I will say, though, that any time a person changes it is hard on those around them. And I will also say that the power of finally feeling good about your fitness, your ability to compete, and your body can be highly seductive. I have certainly been victim to that seduction.
Over the years I have become more and more entrenched in my life as a triathlete. Next to being a mom and a coach, it is the way I define myself. Which is why it's hard when I fail to live up to the expectations I have on myself in terms of performance--especially with my myopia problem.
So the question remains... how to define myself on a day to day basis if I make it my goal to not define myself according to my training and racing? I suppose not at all? And will I lose my edge if I do fail to define myself this way? Do I have any edge left to lose?
Today I raced -- a little sprint in my hometown called the Tri for Preservation. It's run by my friend Ted and the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, and it's a great little race. It was a beautiful day and a gorgeous place to race.
I'd like to say I had fun when racing. I really didn't. I felt crappy the whole way--not physically so much as mentally. I don't think I had one positive thing to say to myself, just a lot of self-defeating mean and angry at myself thoughts, which is no way at all to go through a race! I DID have fun after the race, chatting with friends and getting awards. (I was second overall right after my super pretty and fast friend Stacy, who kicked my ass on the damn run!) (Stacy is in the PBM kit and I am next to her.)
It was Alina's bday today, and she celebrated by doing a relay at this race. (Happy Bday, Bean!) She was the swimmer and Andy (my husband) was the cyclist and runner. And they won for fastest relay! I was very proud.
My good friend Anne raced too, and likely would have completely kicked my butt had she not suffered a broken derailleur only a few miles into the bike. We started the race together in the same wave, and I though I tried like hell to stay with her I was not even close to doing so! I was in the process of TRYING to catch her on the bike when I saw her stranded on the side of the road, her chain split in half and dangling from the bike. Such a drag. I'm sorry, Anne!
After the race Andy, Alina and I got some breakfast, and then went home to the kiddos. Later that night we celebrated the bday with blueberry pie and ice cream. Yum.
Tomorrow is a new day, and I begin to pursue my new goal.