Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quitting Defined

I've been putting off this post -- hence the long absence from the blogworld -- but I'm back and I'm ready to wrap my brain around my triathlete status as it stands now.

At the moment I'm consumed with packing for a 10-day trip to Seattle. A trip that was supposed to be the celebration of 6 long months of training and another successful half Ironman.

Instead, I'm simply packing for vacation.

To make a long story short, my body gave out before I could reach the goal. Injuries got the best of me, both physically and mentally, and I threw in the towel four weeks from the big race.

I know, I know....four weeks. That's practically taper time. Why give up then? And I assure you I have bounced that question around in my brain enough to give myself quite a concussion over the whole ordeal.

In the end, I know that its the right decision for me long term. I would rather back off training now and have a shot at maintaining some manageable and sustainable training, than try to gut it out only to put myself completely out of commission for the rest of the year. The 'gut it out and pay later' option is what I've been using up 'til now and its not going so well. It usually means a mediocre and painful race followed by a brief (but not brief enough) period of complete and total inactivity. Then after sitting around like a slug long enough for the aches and pains to subside, I sign up for the next big, crazy goal and have to start from scratch. I end up pushing my body too much, too fast, and inevitably I've put myself on the road to another situation like the one I'm presented with right now.

I'm hoping the decision to drop out of this race will help me put an end to this painful cycle. But mentally....its hard not to feel like a big quitter.

Its been quite an emotional roller coaster these past few weeks. There was the initial relief of the decision, then a feeling of failure, then guilt, then acceptance, then back to failure.....at one point a few days ago I almost decided to go ahead and do the race, after three weeks of thinking I was backing out (and the workouts based on that....which means, none). Crazy.

And after a few weeks without a stupid-big goal on the horizon I freaked out and signed up for a 150 mile two-day bike ride and started pulling together a training plan for a fall half marathon. Double crazy.

But I needed to feel like I wasn't giving up on triathlon....giving up on workout goals....and just giving up, period.

I'm sure I'll be dragging my soggy backside out of another horrible open water swim again very soon. But in the meantime, I'm looking forward to a great trip to the northwest full of hiking, kayaking, lounging, and just enjoying the company of my various travel companions. Hopefully, I'll come back rejuvenated with a new "manageable and sustainable" training plan. (but I'll be happy with just some good pictures!)

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