I try as much as I can to keep a happy face about my free time pursuits. Not quite Pollyana, but I always try to find the upside. Afterall, it is my FREE time and the fact that I’m choosing to do something positive and good for me is the biggest plus of all.
But this last weekend, starting with the logistical complications (personal) and then subsequent cancellation of a triathlon that I had been eagerly anticipating, started me into a freefall. Captain Whineypants, my evil, cape wearing, beer bellied alter ego, even raised his ugly head and challenged me to a fight. And for a while I really didn’t even want to answer the bell…
First the Whineypants side of things. I failed to make reservations in time to get a hotel room for this race, so that meant that for me to get to the site in time to do race day packet pick up (5:00 to 5:30 am), I needed to leave Columbia at two frickin’ thirty. …gah… The weather report cited a 30% chance of rain, so I wasn’t worried (…gah…) and I got to the site right on time. I was the first one to rack my bike (which really didn’t matter since we were assigned rack spaces) and got my transition area set up by 5:30am. I then began aimlessly wandering around the race site, looking at the water, visualizing my transitions, etc. An early announcement said that the race was NOT wetsuit legal (I secretly patted myself on the back for doing all of my long swims without one) as the water temperature was 81 degrees (air temp 72 …gah…). At about 6:45, I picked up my goggles and cap and started wandering out of the transition area since you have to swim over to the starting line for this race. Just as I walked under the “SWIM IN” banner, a foreboding announcement came. “We are announcing a 30 minute hold as there is heavy weather moving this way. There is a chance it may slide south of us, but we want to watch it first. We will keep you informed.” …gah… More wandering. At 7:15 came the second, even more foreboding announcement. It only contained one little word that let me know we were probably done… “if”. It went something like, “Alright folks, we are going to institute another 30 minute hold (start time now 8:00am) to see “IF” we can still get this in. The weather does not look good and if you don’t want to get your stuff wet you might want to pack it (the mile or so) back to your car… now.”
As other athletes were milling about and vowing to hold out for a while, I shoved my stuff into a trash bag I carry with me, hopped on my bike and rode back to the car. I put everything in the car, shut the door… and the downpour began. Thunder, lightning, small hail, rain in buckets, wind, the whole bit. Oh… and LOTS of soaking wet triathletes sprinting back to their cars.
Since this race shuts down a huge portion of a public park, they can only hold it until noon, by which time they need to be completely gone. Given that fact, the race for most people will take around 2-3 hours to complete (I was shooting for just under 2 hours). So with awards and pack up time, the race HAD to start by 8:30 at the latest. No way that was going to happen. Race cancelled.
The funk this put me in was nothing short of embarrassing. By the time I got home, I was questioning whether I even wanted to do triathlons anymore. I was hoping that a business trip I was taking on Monday would give me time to plan, think, and refocus. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I had lost sight of my goals. I am in this simply to lose weight, have fun and get fit. The triathlons are just the tool I’m using to get me there. I also realized that all the work I had done on the house over the last week had really worn me out and that fatigue might be a weapon Captain Whinepants was using as well. In an effort to shake it off and get refocused, I decided to do a run/bike/run brick at the hotel. There is a nice 4 mile course on relatively deserted roads and they have a stationary bike.
Then Captain Whineypants hit me with two more big blows. First, I overspent on remodeling supplies, leaving my family dangerously low on money for the rest of the month (and beyond) …GAH! And second, on my first run of the planned brick… I got hives again… brick cancelled.
Alright, so what’s the upside…?
After recovering from hives, I spent a weary day teaching on a combination of Benadryl and fitful sleep and then drove home (again, I’m tired of driving from KC to Columbia). On the way I fought through the frustration and decided that what I really needed was just a good, solid plan, on paper, that I could hold, refer to, fuss over and take some of the pressure off of me by being my guide. I talked with my wonderful wife about it and she agreed that it’s hard to train without a plan. She offered to help me with the nutrition side of things because I would really like to lose 10 pounds by nationals as well. Hopefully the focused training will help with this.
I realized that I had been just waking up every morning and taking what the day gave me. Although this was nice, it is really not the way to “train”. I don’t really have a solution for the money thing, but I’m working on it. I’m like a crack addict, trying to find anything to sell to feed my habit :o) Even if I can’t figure out how to get anymore races in between now and nationals, I’ll just practice like I’m racing and hope for the best. Finally, I just need to remind myself that this is FUN. I love exercise (yes, even swimming) and as I said earlier I’m really just trying to do something positive for me, like losing weight and getting fit. Let’s hope I can keep that focus.