Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mild Case of Pissiness.

My father once told me I had the attitude of a bent shit can.  My mother has told me that she will always love me, but I'm not always likeable.  My wife even wants to know why I'm such a prick at times too.  Admittedly, there are times that I really don't like myself either.  I have gotten to the point where I don't care what people think of me, but such is the story goes about the man whose fourth wife tells him she's leaving and flips him off as she walks out to the waiting taxi, he invariably asks, "What is wrong with those women?"  When I'm not feeling right, or there is an injury starting to bubble up to the surface, and my plans are starting to go not as I imagined, then I start to show a little aggression.

This is not unusual with triathletes and endurance athletes in general.  I'm not talking about the average weekend warrior that hits a couple of sprint races, or a couple of olympics, or even the occasional half.  I'm talking about the person who is looking at the ultramarathon, the signature Ironman length race, a couple of halfs for the season, or 8 - 10 races scheduled for the year.  Employment issues are unavoidable, we suck it up when we have to spend a couple of hours over, or have to travel, mainly because it provides us the money to continue our addiction to our chosen sport.  But, let a family committment pop up, or some other inconvenient activity prevent us from getting in that 30 mile ride, or that training run, and Mr Hyde starts to perculate to the surface.

Prior to last year, it didn't bother me to take a few days off when I wasn't feeling right, but then I wasn't filling out my training logs very faithfully.  When I committed to do an Ironman, developed the training schedule, followed said schedule, and filled out my logs on a daily basis, my mindset changed back to the era when I raced in the Navy.  Back to a time when I ran 6-7 days a week and put in some ungodly mileage, most of it quality mileage too.  Interruptions to the plan in those days were not acceptable and my attitude was, well that of a bent shit can.

Slowly, I have been weening myself back into a new form.  One that can take a day or two to let my sinuses go back to normal, or the ankle that got tweaked after it fell through the ice over the pothole to recover.  Looking at my logs, which I still fill out daily, I see those gaps and I can feel a mild case of pissiness starting to come to a slow boil.  February has been a bad month.  The stomach flu took the whole tribe, but me out, but I had to tend to the youngest kids and now I have their cold.  All just a couple of weeks after getting over a sinus infection.  But, I try to take it in stride and realize, that I'm don't have an Ironman race this year, and that the brief let-up in training is only that, a brief let up.

Sadly, the same problems I see in my own life, I have seen in others that I have trained with and around.  It takes a lot of time and effort to race the endurance events, and most of us just aren't happy with merely finishing.  Even though we say that finishing an Ironman is accomplishment enough, we all go in with a time that we are shooting for.  To say otherwise is lying.  Of course, when you expend the money we do to race, the time and effort that we put in to prepare, obstacles are not what it is that we are looking for.

Even though it has taken me almost a decade, or more, to realize it, missing a workout, or even a race, is nothing to alienate those that I love.  Over the past year, I did a pretty good job of being with the family for the most part, and still managed to complete Louisville.  Even though I'd like to do another one, I can honestly say that my life won't be incomplete if it never happened again.


Big Daddy Diesel said...

I read this twice, I know how it feels to a lesser degree. Unfortunately, we picked a sport that our training far exceeds the race. Its not even funny what we do for one flipping race, border line insane, yet, we cant just walk away from it. Only we understand it.

Eric said...

Thanks for the comments. I can understand why you had to read it twice, and might be why I should wait a day before proofreading and posting. I wanted to add something along the lines of how it is we swear races off during an event only to sign up for it again the next day, ala the Ironman events.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

It wasnt about proof reading, I was soaking it in. I think we all go through it, get get so in wrapped in our training, one bad mile makes us sour for the rest of the day, one missed workout makes us feel like its the end of the season and we wont be prepared, its just crazy how obsessed this sport has made us in the grand scheme of things.