Tapering and New Focus

Ahh, the last long run is done.  Now it’s taper time!  This is good because I’m super un-motivated today & at 10:30am I haven’t headed out the door yet, so this is not a good sign.  Thank goodness it’s only a 10 miler!  But wait, it’s still 10 miles.  I chose a great route–I use mapmyrun.com  which is awesome (you can also mapmyride for bikes).  It is better at tracking mileage than any device I’m wearing.  Also:  I can design the course in advance & not have to think about where I’m going when I’m running.  Another cool thing about it is that runners can post their routes, so if you’re in a different city or just looking for new routes–you can search for them anywhere.  Running nerds unite!

Anyway, I went to bed too late last night.  This is a problem because without fail, I will still wake up at 6:25am.  Sometimes I can get back to sleep for a little bit–but never enough to make me feel rested.  So that’s why I’m cranky pants this morning.  The coffee is helping, though.

So let the tapering begin!  The marathon is in two weeks (!!!), and I’m so excited about my parents coming out & about the new course.  It’s funny–it’s supposed to be this huge challenge for the runner, but I look at it as a big show put on for me.  I mean, the roads are closed–I get to run through the streets, see performances at every mile, have people cheering for me throughout the course, hydration at every mile, people running beside me in case  I feel like making a new friend, crazy good playlist on the ipod, etc–and then when I finish people are congratulating ME & I get to go have a great meal (with dessert!)  Ridiculous!

While the marathon training has been interesting for me, I’m already looking ahead to what my real focus is this year *triathlons*!  I’ve been thinking about focus lately–where it’s going–and I’ve been struggling with this for a couple of years now.  It feels like I’m trying to do about 100 different things–so of course–I’m doing them all about 20%.  I’ve always been a multi-tasker, a balancer of life–but I have way too many ideas & passions & desires (there are worse things!) to make it work without driving myself nuts.  Recently, I have thought–what if I cut everything out of my life but a couple of things & really put some effort into those.  There is a fear that if I stop putting time/energy into some of my goals, nothing will ever happen with them.  But I gotta say, trying to work towards all of them at once, I usually end up on Facebook farming my day away and avoiding things.

And it is strange.  I’ve always focused on my “career” as being the focal point, and for the past 10 years or so I’ve seen consistent growth & am actually doing what I wanted to do for so long.  Do I want to do it forever?  Of course not, there’s still more I’m capable of.  But what if I just took a break from becoming uber Dr. Drama/save the world/own my own businesses/etc  or IMustMeetTheGuyofMyDreamsNowBeforeIt’sTooLate Messer & put some energy into something that brings me crazy joy: triathlons!

I’ve been running for 10 years.  It started as an attempt to get in shape & within a few months, I knew I’d be running for as long as my body would let me.  There were times during the years where I switched things up–did speed workouts at the track, long runs, etc–but the bulk of my running was the hour long run.  And it stayed in that little hour compartment in my life.  I did it & then I moved on.  Even the majority of my races were finished in an hour’s time, so unless I was marathon training–I didn’t think too much about it.

But as you can see, my blog has become mostly a boring space for me to talk about training.  When I was sort of forced into triathlon training–and adding weights to my routine, I thought it was a fad until my stress fracture got better.  But little by little it won me over.  Everything about it was scary and challenging and rewarding and used my brain, my strength, my endurance, my courage, my sense of humor, my patience–and it all happened outdoors–in the ocean (!), going 40 mph downhill on the bike (!!), & then finishing it off running along some trail totally in my comfort zone.   Not to mention in the gym–where I spent some time yesterday squatting 100 lbs.–where as before I wasn’t confident enough to even step into the weight room.

I’ve been getting by on (in the triathlon world) pretty minimal training.  I put about 7 or so hours a week when I’m training (on a good week…and about 3 of those is on my bike ride, so pretty much nothing during the week) & I’ve still been able to show lots of improvement during races–and even somehow managed to qualify for nationals this year.  So, I can continue coasting by & still having fun–but my secret (or not so secret, if you read this site) desire is to make time in my life for more quality training & see how I react to it.  Do the things I’m supposed to be doing to support my training (nutrition, stretching, foam-rolling, etc) instead of running out of time week after week.

I usually have a reason for entering onto a certain path.  There’s a definite destination or goal.  But with this, I have none.  I still don’t care whether I “place” or not or what my times are.  I’m not planning on giving up my day job to attempt a quick rise to the top of the Triathlon World.  But I guess that’s the reason it’s so hard for me to do: it doesn’t make sense to me.  And isn’t it selfish to put so much time into basically something that just brings ME pleasure?  Aren’t I supposed to be helping others?

I also think about what I will lose if I do this.  I will lose a few happy hours with friends, I will lose some late nights out, I will lose time for random internet dating, I will lose opportunity for growth in my career, etc etc.  But then I think about how my attempts at both growth in my career and my dating life haven’t been going so well lately & how I don’t seem that passionate about either.  Triathloning does not have to be a solo endeavor, either.  I’m a member of the biggest Tri club ever & am always “too busy” (ie: too scared!  new people!) for their group training sessions/social events.  But maybe meeting some like-minded athletes is exactly the place I need to be right now.  For once, I won’t be the only person I know up at 7am on the weekend for a ride.

So, I think I will stop just typing about all that I want to do with my triathloning & actually just go out and do it.  Be at peace and patient with all other areas of my life–and as my mom told me yesterday “when it’s time, it will be easy and less of a struggle.”  Will my friends/ my work/ my dates understand when I say, “No, I need to go swimming.”  or “Not tonight, I’m cutting up my vegetables for the week.” or “I can’t.  I’m riding 40 miles this morning” ?  Maybe not.  They may think I’m escaping the world through cardio, but what they don’t know is that I feel most connected to the world and the people in it when I’m outside actually moving through it.

Look, a blog is a really self-indulgent kind of place for a lucky girl like me (healthy, great friends and family, full time fun job) to debate silly issues like this.  Don’t think I don’t know how completely blessed I am.  All of these are just thoughts moving through my head as I try to become a person that feels completely at ease in her life.  31 and trying to be a grown up.  Who knew that meant cutting things out of my life instead of adding things to it?

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