“You think you can win on talent alone? Gentlemen, you don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.” — Coach Herb Brooks, Miracle
So, I have a secret for you. I know that my blog posts are generally upbeat and hopefully somewhat humorous. But sometimes….I get really, really tired. Sometimes….I don’t really want to do my workout.
Last Thursday night was one of those nights. I had a group ride scheduled. Crap. That means 37 miles of legs burning and praying I’m not the slowest this week. Of hoping that I can focus for 2 hours and 15 minutes so completly that I don’t disturb anyone else’s ride. The wheels of my (super smart and very astute brain) started working. Maybe….I can just convince myself that these clouds look ominous and it’s going to storm, and do a shorter workout on the trainer instead. Then I’ll have time to paint my toenails!
Or! Maybe I can try to get Ryan and Pat to ride the easier Gunpowder loop which will be much less stressful. And then I’ll have time to paint my toenails!
And then it hit me. I didn’t really have a good reason for not wanting to do my designated workout. I actually just wanted to paint my toenails.
Sometimes, there are good reasons to miss workouts – if my body truly needs rest/recovery/easy day, that is one thing. But if I’m just being moody and tired and don’t “feel like it” — that’s not really okay with me.
While I love the sport of triathlon, that certainly doesn’t mean that everytime I get on my bike I love it. It doesn’t mean that every run feels great and builds my confidence. And it certainly doesn’t mean I am cannon-balling into the pool 4 times a week ready to swim.
The majority of the time, I am excited to get out there and push myself. But sometimes, I’m not. So, why do I do it on the days that I don’t love it? Why don’t I just give in to the fact that I’d rather go to Happy Hour sometimes instead of a 2.5 hour swim-to-run workout? Because, like the above quote, I understand and have accepted the fact that I am not going to achieve my goals on talent alone. In fact, if I rely on talent alone, I’m going to fail miserably this year.
I learned this about myself a long time ago. When I was about 12 years old I played soccer. I was pretty darn good, too. I consistently made the elite travelling teams and generally was a starting player. At 12, I had reached the age where now it was time to look towards high school. High school brought soccer to a new level. You now had to be on top of every aspect of your game – skills, fitness, showing up to every practice mattered, etc. To prepare us for this our coach started having us do a timed mile every week at Wednesday practice. Initially I was in the middle of the pack. I could have easily gotten away with this; I was never close to being the last one so attention was never on me. But instead, twice a week outside of practice, I would run. My mom would sit on our front porch and count how many times I could run around the half mile loop next to my house. (Looking back, I’m not really sure why I needed help counting as I doubt I ever went more than like 4-5 times around, but still.) After I began doing that, my mile time started dropping. Quickly. Before long, I had the second fastest mile time on the team. I may not have recognized it then, but I didn’t get that because I was the most talented. I got to that point because I was willing to work harder than the other girls on the team.
The same principal applies here. Now, I know my breaking points pretty well after competing in endurance events for the past 6 years. I know the difference between tired and overtrained. I know the difference between cranky and burned out. Last thursday I was none of those things. So, I went into autopilot and showed up to the ride (with some much appreciated encouragement from Ryan). I got onto my bike and started pedaling. And you know what? I worked hard, and I had a great ride.
Some people are just talented and will be fast. But others can be just as fast with a little bit of talent and a lot of hard work. I know which group I fall in to, and I have to admit, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Oh, and I finally did get time to paint my toenails on Friday 🙂