Life, Triathlon

Slow and Steady Does Not Win the Race

Or does it?  I never really thought that story made sense.  Yes, in the end, the tortoise wins the race against the hare, but honestly that was the hare’s fault.  The hare took a freaking nap!  Let’s be honest here, if the hare hadn’t been a cocky jerk who was so dismissive of his competition that he literally slept through most of the event, he would have won.  Can anyone argue otherwise?  Not really.  I mean, if I go to a 5k and run slowly and steadily, will I win or even get on the podium? No.  So how in the heck can slow and steady win a race?  It can’t.  Or so I thought.

We’ve been doing renovations around the house, and I decided I wanted to display my medals in a different way.  When I began to take them down, I noticed how many there were in 2017 as compared to 2018.  In 2017 I did a ton of events.  I finally did a 5k in 30 minutes and tried all kinds of new things.  I posted like crazy on Instagram and was having a blast.  I felt like that streak would never end, and yet I look at my medals and there’s a fraction of them in 2018.  I had my challenges last year, it felt like every time I turned a corner, something else came up.  I’m pretty happy with my acceptance of those things and trying to be a positive as I could be, but at the same time I did let it get to me to a certain extent.  Part of me was looking forward to starting over in things like running, but that part of me was a little assuming.  I thought that it would all come back to me in this glorious wave and I would be running 5k’s in under 30 minutes in no time.  I’d jump on the bike and well, it would be just like riding a bike… that’s another saying that doesn’t really work well for me since I feel like a wobbly fool when I haven’t ridden in a while, but I digress. 

I was given a big dose of reality when those things didn’t come to me quickly.  It was a bit disheartening and left me wondering if I even wanted to start over.  When I started, I hated running, then learned to love It, and then hated it again.  Did I really want to go through all that again?  Cycling, I was ok with in a way.  I was enjoying the mountain bike trails.  It was something totally new and a way train that wasn’t tri specific really.  Did I want to bother with all those swims that make me want to cry?  All those hours early in the morning on the trainer while everyone slept?  That’s what I was going through once I got clearance to train again.  It was an uphill battle that I wasn’t really 100% sure I wanted to fight.

I decided that since I was undecided, I would do what was scheduled on my training plan and see what happened.  I was phoning in my workouts.  Yes, I got up, and I got them done, but I was not “present” during them.  I didn’t care what my time was, how many miles I did or even wear my heart rate monitor.  I just didn’t really care other than at least doing something.  Every time, I repeated to myself that I am grateful for at the very least, the ability to do this.  I didn’t post on social medial, because quite frankly it felt like nothing worth posting.  Looking back, I wish I had posted.  I wish I posted those mornings where I ran and didn’t feel any better than I had when I rolled out of bed.  I wish I had posted that I had a bike ride that sucked.  That was my reality and I don’t think we see enough of that on social media.  All I see is people doing epic stuff, beating yesterday, and all the other popular hashtags out there. 

Then something happened.

Throughout all of my time off for surgery, broken foot and just not “feeling it,” my coach has been understanding.  He told me to ease back into it and he was sure it would come again.  He scheduled my training accordingly.  In November, just after our vacation, I checked Training Peaks to see what next week’s schedule was.  I kind of chuckled.  Darin asked what happened and I said “oh, coach loaded someone else’s plan into my calendar by mistake.”  I texted my coach and the “conversation” went something like this… Me: Hey Coach, I think you loaded the wrong plan in my calendar next week. Coach: What makes you say that? Me: Well, it’s a lot more than I have been doing, no days off and really big swims. Coach: Yeah…. and those swims are not that big. Me: <after a long pause wondering if he was serious> Ok, I will give it a try…

I was kind of in shock.  Doesn’t he realize that I have been struggling?  Doesn’t he see that I am barely making it now?  I make comments in every workout about how I felt, “zombie” and “phoned in” were used quite often.  I soon realized exactly what he was up to.  I could not phone it in on some of these.  He was pushing me, and I needed it.  He had something on the calendar for me every single day.  Some could be as small as a 15 minute run.  A 15 minute run seemed like a waste looking at it on the computer, but the more I got outside and ran, the more the habit took.  I had gone consistently for 20+ days straight before I got sick on Christmas even and took two days off of training.  Those two days sucked.  Not just because I was sick, but I actually missed training!  I wasn’t completely well after those two days, but I wanted to run, so I did.  Could it be?  Am I falling in love with this again?  The answer was yes, and so far it’s even better the second time around! 

What changed?  This time, I had no expectations, and therefore couldn’t be disappointed.  I couldn’t beat myself up over the data because I didn’t even bother looking at it.  All I wanted to see was green on my calendar.  All I wanted, was to complete the workout, regardless of the outcome.  Little by little, I started progressing.  Don’t mistake not having expectations for not having goals.  I want to get back to doing my 5k in under 30.  I want to successfully do a swim in a triathlon.  I want to go fast on the bike without feeling terrified.  I want to keep eating healthier.  I want to be stronger.  I want to be fit and fast like the hare, but not have the expectation that I will win just because of that and take it for granted ever again.  The difference is, I’m focusing on doing the steps to get to the goal, rather than the goal itself.  I don’t care, in the best way!  I hope I can hold onto that.  If I do, if I make these small incremental changes and I am successful, then slow and steady will have won this race in the end.