There was a comedy album by Steve Martin back in the early 80’s called “Comedy is Not Pretty”. While it proved to be Martin’s last comedy album before moving into full-time film and writing, his point in the title track was that there is ugliness in all things, so when someone was shocked by a point he tried to make comedically, his response was
“Hey … comedy is not pretty”.
As is always the case, I pull from my file of useless information (that seems to take up a great deal of my brain) when I am trying to come up with writing ideas about training and triathlon is general. Triathlon, much like comedy, is not pretty. It can be a very ugly endeavor. I am not talking about-face value things like a race photo (because we all know a race photo is never good, and if it is you probably were “not pushing hard enough”), but more the lifestyle in general. If you are putting your whole self into the endeavor, it consumes the great majority of your life, and as with most things, more is not always better.
The ugliness of Triathlon is this … if you want to be good you have to put in the time. And the time you put in will take away from your job, your family, and your social life. Never one to have much of a social life that part wasn’t a problem for me, and the few friends I do have are all triathletes, or runners, themselves so interactions revolve around training for the most part. I use as an example of this how shocking it is to see people I train with all the time outside of that world. During my second year with Team in Training I went to the kick off luncheon/dinner prior to St. Anthony’s, which was held after work, and was shocked to see the women in my group dressed as professionals. I always see them with their hair pulled back, sweaty, tired. It is quite a difference to see them in a dress, make up, and pearls. I think I am weird though, because I actually prefer the sweaty, tired, drained version. No wonder I drifted to Triathlon, eh?
So, anyway, at some point you have to make a decision if the time spent training is worth the amount of things you sacrifice. Let’s be real, here, I am never going to win an age group. I’ll be lucky to ever place in a Clydesdale division. I still am not losing weight, so it’s not garnering the result I initially got into this sport for … I have been stuck in the 260 lb. zone for almost 2 years. So where is the “sweet spot” for me?
I will say this, since readers of this blog have come to expect openness and honesty from me, I am not enjoying my training recently. Well, that’s not true … I do like it … but not like I did in the past where I would jump out of bed at 5:00 AM and shoot out the door looking forward to riding 50 miles. It has turned into a grind for me, and though I still have my moments, they are few and far between. I am not sure what has happened. I think Jennifer moving to Ocala had a bit to do with it since I no longer have the partner in the evening I used to have. Even when I enjoyed training I never enjoyed training alone. I also think the lack of progress is wearing me down. I put in the time, and the miles, yet get out on the road with people who train much less and get left behind. While I know in my head this is not the goal, to beat others, it gets frustrating. I want to be happy for others accomplishments … I really do … but I find myself being more envious than happy … and I don’t like that about myself. The weight thing is part of it too. I eat well … though I am not perfect I eat better than most people I train with and still the weight doesn’t come off me. I am doing something wrong I know but have not been able to figure it out. The last thing is the weariness, pain, and overall soreness of my body. It has gotten better since the infusion treatments, but I still ache in the morning, I still have sore feet from just 4 miles of run/walking, and my back has a knot in it that is refusing to go away. I can go forever in Zone 2, but as soon as I push it to Zone 3 or 4 my heart rate gets so fast that I feel I cannot breathe. The lack of perceived progress is annoying and has taken the joy from my goals.
But I keep plodding on .. moving forward … trying to be the standard bearer for the Back of the Pack.
It will hurt …
but hey …
Triathlon is not Pretty right?