This is a question I have asked myself many times over the past few months. It presents itself, most annoyingly, during a training session. When you're asking yourself: 'why am I doing this?' it severely inhibits your ability to get anything done. Even when you DO have a great session (e.g., swim a set faster than you ever have--Lauren and I refer to this as approaching world record pace!), I still don't feel that accomplished.
A few people remind me, specifically in this sport, what it's like to GO AFTER IT. Lauren, for one, put in up to TWENTY-FIVE HOUR training wks in the build to IM CDA, IN ADDITION to the time she spent in her kneeling chair at work, going to ART/chiro, getting massaged, watching the bachelorette/annoying Matt, pilating, etc. And for people new to the sport, like the Chicken Tender Runner, his enthusiasm borders on WAYYY over the top, but he's a cool guy who has made nice gains thanks to his obsession to improve. My boyfriend, Carl, who learned to swim yesterday, is now swimming ~13k/wk and staying on top of his training in his build to IM LOU, in support of the Carpenter's Shelter. His consistency between last fall and this spring resulted in a 25% time improvement at the half-ironman distance. As with anything, reaching individual goals involves a simple formula, and right now, I don't have what it takes.
As I stood on the side of the Potomac River last summer with Paulo, watching the women's pro field take to the water in the the World Championship series race, a lone woman was FLUNG off the back of a pack and swimming solo. Paulo told me that to race ITU you HAVE to be ready to race and that she shouldn't have even showed up. It was a waste of time. True that. I struggle to get through a putt putt game without being a competitive jerk, so without that winning attitude, I know better than get on a start line until I'm RACE READY.
After training camp this spring, Paulo stopped coaching me, giving me the freedom to figure out what it is I want out of life. I spent the next two months, overcoming the gazillionth muscle strain incurred in the last 15 months and received some valuable feedback on my running form from Jay Dicharry, an uber physical therapist out of UVA.
I religiously visited Sonja Evers, a physical therapist in Sarah Thorpe's Sports + Spinal Physical Therapy outfit. Sonja's treatment, and more importantly, her advice, has had a positive impact on me overcoming pains in the ass/quad/ITB. My approach to running involves patience and above all, love for the movement. With Sonja's consultation, I started taking_it_easy.xls and tracked my PRE-HAB efforts, the amount of running completed, and how that affected the area in question.
I'm proud to say that this will be my third consecutive week of running a total of 4.5 hrs and I am enjoying the ability to turn over my legs. In a couple weeks I'm joining up with teammates from the Georgetown Running Company to do the Rockville Twilighter, a 5 mile running race. I'm looking forward to running and perhaps hurting a little, the healthy hurt.
Also, I thank my dad for always providing me with constructive and diplomatic advice. A while back he told me:
"While your motivation may be suspect for some workouts while recovering, make sure this doesn't affect other parts of your life. Take advantage by using the time in other areas... ...and fix your time trial bike. I see some symbolism of a broken bike hanging out in your apartment."
At long last, I'm evaluating my next steps and taking care of some necessary maintenance.
Here's a photo with Dad taken last Labor Day. Also appearing, other favorites: eggs, coffee and costco clothes.