Feeling sorry for yourself? Stop.

Did you get hurt, and you can’t run for 8 weeks?  Has work derailed your training and you missed two long rides?  The cutoff has you losing sleep at night…

Remember that this sport is about health and fitness…AND FUN.  Stubbornly pushing through a few months of runs with an injury could not only delay your healing, but possibly make it difficult to even completely heal – forever. Focussing on what you missed in training could challenge your confidence in what you have already accomplished.

Running injury as an example, but this applies to every challenge you might face while training for triathlon:

Get positive and find a different perspective. Look at the injury as a vacation from running.  It is only what it is.  You can’t do anything about it except focus on healing.  Go after the rehab/whatever it takes to make sure it does not happen again.  Be patient.  Write down on a note card how you feel right now b/c you can’t run.  Write down what it feels like to face races without knowing if you will hit the start line 100% healthy.

Put the note card on your mirror in the bathroom. Read your note card every day, and add to it until you are finished healing.  Then read it once a week from then on until you have it memorized.  Start to think critically about how you have been feeling during your normal, injury free training.  Let that motivate you to use your head and make staying healthy and injury free a priority.  What is that ache you feel each time you get to around mile 35 on the ride?  Then reach out to coach to discuss….

You are an adult.  You are educated, rational, and experienced in life. Do not forget to take the “1,000 foot view.” Don’t let yourself get wrapped up around “how important this half iron is”…especially when compared to your family, career, and commitment to church or your community. 

I know you care about the race, and that’s great.  It is important to take it seriously or you could end up taking the race for granted and not preparing the way you should.  Being nervous is expected.

But letting anything that happens to you (while training for this sport) determine your happiness in everyday life is foolish.  To allow setbacks due to training skew your sense of accomplishment adds absolutely zero value, to anything. Yeah that pain in your knee feels like a big deal, but

[The following is about perspective, not trying to make anyone feel guilty].

So you missed the 18 and 20 mile runs preparing for Ironman.  I guess that means you’re screwed.

I mean…I’m not sure what value the other six months of training could do to prepare you for the race or make you feel confident about your likelihood of success.  I mean – at up to 10 workouts per week…Let me see… that would only be 40 per month…or 240 rides, runs, swims, or boot camps.

Well, that’s actually only 238 workouts. Don’t for get the 18 and 20 mile runs that screwed everything up.  But you were so close!

“Dangit all – If only I had done that 18 and 20 mile run I’d do ok. But no chance for success now.  I mean, at a conservative estimate of running 20 miles per week I’ve only done around 475 or 500 miles of running over that 6 month training period.  DAMN THAT 18 MILE RUN SCREWED ME! If only I had done five-hundred and EIGHTEEN miles I’d be set…

Wow.  Right?

On a more personal and sobering note.  I have three people in my life that have been diagnosed with cancer in the past 2 years. One has recovered already, two are well on the way and the outlook is good. That I know of, there are at least four people currently on THIS team who have already survived cancer. There are even more current and past Zrs who deal with MS every day of their lives.  We have three heroes that have sacrificed more than any of us can imagine while serving in the military.  In the last couple years there have been more than a half dozen Teammates who have (or, currently are) coping with divorce or loss of a loved one.  We have 4 blind teammates.  Imagine what it feels like for them Just to feel the wind in the hair…I know that they appreciate just being able to be on a bike.

I’m sure we would all agree that, should we find ourselves in that situation, we would all prefer the plantar fasciitis. 

Guys –

Remember what you were when you started all of this.  Where you were in terms of fitness, focus, and confidence. Then think about where you are now and be damn proud of yourself.

Think about all of the good things you have in your life.  Maybe some have escaped you and you have not focused on recently.  While training for this sport (or others), make whatever setback you experience  just one more challenge to face.  Just add it to the many that you have already dealt with and put behind you, in sport and life in general.

When you join this team your perspective gets skewed b/c everyone one of us is a triathlete and ride and runs for hours every weekend.  You start to think that a 2 hour ride is normal.  You constantly judge yourself and your ability based on what you can do compared to your buddy.  Boo…

Have perspective on what you are capable of.  Look around at your office and ask yourself how many of those people could run even six miles…or ride 25.  You are all studs.  FOP or BOP and anything in between (front of pack, back of pack).

I don’t like it when people say, “I only did the short one”.  Or, “I only did a half triathlon”.  Or when the co-worker says, “you did Ironman this weekend, the one in Hawaii?”  You say “no, the one in Louisville”.  They say, with disappointment, “Oh.  I thought you did the one in Hawaii”.

Punch them in the nose.

Hey, [insert name of most disliked co-worker]

“That one in Louisville is also 140.6 miles, just like Hawaii.  But I’m with you. The roads in Kentucky are way easier than Hawaii.  Ironman on the mainland is a joke. Right?  So – lets ride from Arlington to Annapolis for lunch.  But since we forgot our wallets we’ll ride back to Arlington to get them.  On our way back to Annapolis to make our reservation. We’ve got at least five hours to spare…so for fun we’ll stop on rte 50 when we get to the beltway and ditch our bikes in the woods.  We can then run the rest of the way to Annapolis.  After lunch we can do a 3 mile easy run for a cool down. And since it is not the one in Hawaii – we’ll knock this out without needing a shower afterwards.”

Can’t relate b/c you have not done an Ironman?  Still think you are a wimp? Try this on…

“Hey [Insert most disliked co-worker’s name here].  That ‘short one’ I did last weekend is about the same distance from my house in Arlington to the Hooters in Chantilly.  I hid our car keys and wallets.  But I left us these bikes, helmets, and running shoes.  I’ll see you there.  When I finish lunch I’ll just chill, maybe take a nap in the sun.  When you get there we can have dinner together.  I have a tab there…so don’t worry about the wallet. Then we can ride home for fun. OK?”

Don’t focus on what you can’t do.  Appreciate and revel in what you can do. Set and chase future goals, but don’t forget to frequently take a second to reflect on what races and training events you have already put in the bank. Respect all of the positive things that you have in life.  Life is not half bad.  “But, Ed…

Think about how awesome it would be if only had done that 18 mile run.”  

That sounds pretty silly now, right?

Now – go back to your elliptical rehab run.  Or finish up that proposal that has been killing you.  Then we’ll see you back out on your rig…complaining about how hard the climb is on Big Woods Rd as you head back to Poolesville from Dickerson.

Chin up – and rock on.

z