Last night's post on Project Procrastination was a much-needed wakeup call. There are so many amazing athletes out there who are actually overcoming formidable obstacles while I'm here whining about how lazy and unmotivated I am. Despite reading Duane's blog for a while now, and having a general idea of what he has set out to do, only today did I find his feature on RaceAthlete.com I can't believe I had overlooked this for so long!
For inspiring stories of people who have dug deep inside themselves to pursue triathlon (or any dream, for that matter), one need only peruse the blogroll at RaceAthlete.com. Like me, many of these people took a little inventory and were unsatisfied with the state of affairs. Unlike me, they took on the task of transformation and are really working to see it through. If I am going to know even a morsel of success, I'm going to have to figure out what the difference is between myself and them. What is it that gets them out the door, into the pool, onto the bike, or out of the snack aisle? More appropriately, what is it that keeps me on the couch, out of the pool, off my bike, and covered in snack shrapnel?
After some thought, I think I've figured it out. My pursuit of triathlon has been awash in the Seven Deadly Sins of Triathlon (okay, six):
Pride: Yes, I want to "Brag for the rest of my life" about Ironman. I like it that the mailman delivers my Triathlete magazine each month and sees the bike rack on my car and is probably really impressed because he's never actually seen me. I like it that I have this tri blog and I can pretend I'm some sort of athlete. And frankly, I am pursuing the ridiculous and superficial goal of reclaiming the cute girl that I was at 19. Talk about denial: I was even a little relieved that I DNF'd at IMAZ because I didn't want my finish line photo to immortalize my current weight. (Notice there are no current or recent pictures on any of my blogs showing me from the waist down.)
Gluttony: It seems that everytime I start to get into a groove with my training, I fall victim to the SnackDown. Oct 15, 2006 was supposed to be Day One of my IMAZ training. What did I do? I put on 15 pounds of snack weight. Most recently, I turned over this new leaf...and then ordered The Big Feed. I'll get you yet, Gluttony Monkey!
Envy: I swear to God, if GeekGirl gets one more cool tri toy...
Lust: See Envy.
Greed: Well, this move to Iowa is about to cut my income in half...Really, between the gear, travel, and registration fees, this is not an activity that will facilitate an amassing of wealth, so I guess I've dodged this bullet.
Wrath: Yesterday, I stooped so low as to drag all the positive, supportive bloggers to engage in this cardinal sin. (I'm sorry. Can you forgive me? For what it's worth, it helped.)
Sloth: We all seem to have our own brand of struggle with this one. Some battle their sloth by ridiculing it. I will admit that I have missed workouts because I spent the day reading tri blogs about swimming, biking, and running, (or comedy about various foibles while doing these things) instead of getting off my butt to ACTUALLY swim, bike, and run--further evidence that the Sloth Monkey's been whispering sweet Do-Nothings in my ear for too long. Nike-style is the only way to combat this: Just Do It. As simple and difficult as that.
So for all my jabber-jawing, I never stopped to figure out what my One Thing is -- why I'm REALLY doing this. I've thought about this for a while, too, and this is what I've come up with:
As an only child, I constantly vacillate between my fear of being alone in the world and cherishing my independence and self-reliance. Triathlon is where these two meet. A DNF is a solitary experience, and so is a finish line, podium, pass late in the run, etc. -- they stay with you long after everyone else has moved on, and only you know how it happened. On bad days, you confront yourself; there's no one to blame, to lean on, or to carry you (or to turn off the eff-ing wind). On good days, you get to feel the wind in your hair or water rushing over you -- self-propelled swiftness, speed and freedom. Self-reliance at its best. This is where today's post by Stronger gave me the nudge I needed. She reminded me that I really do enjoy all three sports and all that I'm missing when I avoid them.
So I think I've found it: Triathlon lets me experience the joys of independence and self-reliance. It also helps me confront my despair at the thought of feeling alone in the world. It lets me know that if I ever were alone in the world -- I can handle it. I can keep pedaling, keep breathing, keep going. I can also find friends on the road who are like-minded and supportive -- strangers who will give me a "Stay strong, Krissy" when I need it most.
I know that this is it. My One Thing. (It must be, because I've been crying for the last 15 minutes.)
All this time, I had been using triathlon to run away from my life...when the best it has to offer is me.