I was sat on my indoor bike earlier, getting in my first workout after the race, trying to think how I would manage to make the huge step up I need to do to ensure I can complete my next challenge, which is a full Ironman distance triathlon. I had struggled so hard in the half Ironman last weekend, coming in a rather sad 125 from 145 starters, that just making it to the finish line of the full distance in September was in question.
I was texting various people trying to sort out training buddies and get some encouragement, when it struck me. I am very good at impressing people who don’t race, to whom a marathon or triathlon seems an impossibility, but genuine competitors can see through me. In reality, all I do is enough training to complete each race, staying within my base capabilities. I never really push myself out of my comfort zone, I am happy to be a participant, patting myself on the back for the simple effort of training and completing the the distances, instead of trying to improve. I am in a sense living on past achievements and training effort, happy to get my medal and others admiration.
As I thought more I became angry at myself. I had wasted the last few years, I never seem to have enough time to do the workouts I have planned, but of course I actually do, I just prefer to faff around before I squeeze in an abridged and easier session, and then console myself with the thought that at least I did something.
I was no different from the people I so despise who do nothing and then complain about everything. Yes I did something, but it was minimum to keep the fitness boat afloat, and the last race really proved that. I had gone backwards dramatically and I could no longer rely on my underlying endurance to pull me through.
After my race finished and I had taken a few hours to recover, I went to the finish line to watch the last of the full distance competitors come through. It was inspiring, they had done double what I had done, I had changed, eaten and dozed before coming out, but to see the energy and determination in these athletes put me to shame, I wanted some of that energy back and today I worked out how to get it .. stop coasting and start trying, don’t be happy being better than those who do nothing but aim for those you admire, work out what makes them successful and apply it to yourself ! There is always someone who has done that much more or tried that much harder or been that much smarter than you, so instead of excuses and half arsed efforts look for ways to keep pushing to improve, enjoy the pain of training hard as that pain is what will make you a better athlete. By pushing myself out of my comfort zone I will know that come race day I really can say I did my best, I can be proud of myself for what I achieved and accept the plaudits of friends and family safe in the knowledge that I really do deserve them , even if age and injury keep slowing me down!