“A student of behavior psychology
Conditioned himself to stick to his studies
He grew tired of these routines and tried to drop them
But he was caught in his own trap and couldn’t stop them
Then he wondered
If he should start to take it easy
Overachiever, might be putting it mildly” — Overachiever, Crash Test Dummies
For some reason, I’m still training for triathlons.
I have no idea why. Like CTD’s psych student, I seem to be caught in a trap; I’ve conditioned myself to train, to go run and swim and bike, that even now, when I see that it doesn’t make any sense, I’m still out there.
This last weekend, my friend Sheldon and I did a seventy mile bike ride out in Wasatch and Summit counties, with a few thousand feet of vertical. This was the day after a fifteen mile dreadmill trot, and that afternoon following the ride Ethel and I did a hike up what turned out to be a false summit above Summit Park. That left me with over sixteen hours of training for the week, with no swimming because of the “collapsed lung” business. A good hard week of training.
This week, I’ve been discouraged. Seventy miles is NOTHING compared to 112, and 3500 feet of vertical is nothing compared to 6700 feet.
And that’s a ride by itself, not preceded by 2.4 miles of open water swimming,. or followed by a full marathon. That’s what Ironman Lake Tahoe means.
And last night, I finally ventured out into a pond with a friend for some open water swimming, for the first time since the day before the St George IM/2, when I squealed like a girl. Well, I didn’t squeal like a girl at Black Ridge Reservoir in Herriman, Utah, yesterday, but that’s just because I didn’t swim straight out into the deep water – I stayed inside the buoys. I still found myself stopping every 100 yards or so; swimming while not being able to see where I am is just too disorienting. Also, I wonder if I’m simply not able to swim more than that because I’m used to stopping at the wall every 25 yards and turning; regardless of how slight, the ability to pop up and take a breath and then push off from the wall may make all of the difference in the world.
This morning, I went to the pool, and it was disappointing, as well. Three weeks ago, before the lung thing, I was knocking out 500 yard sets with impunity. This morning, I was more comfortable with sets of 250 to 300 yards. And I don’t know – is it possible to lose that much conditioning in two weeks of not swimming? Or was it the incredible amount of what Ian would call “negative self talk” that I was giving myself? Because I was telling myself how poorly I was swimming while I was swimming.
Tomorrow I’m supposed to do a sprint triathlon – 400y swim, 10.9 miile bike, and a 5K run. Basically, less than a regular Tuesday/Thursday workout. But I’m having trouble wanting to do it, because the only reason to do such a thing is to train for an Ironman, and I no longer believe that I’ll ever be able to do said Ironman. So why bother with the little fish when I won’t ever catch the big fish? Unlike Jacob, I’m not willing to work seven years to get a girl, and then have to work another seven years to get the girl I really want; I don’t have fourteen good years left.
I can do two or three hours training without ever leaving my home office – got a bike and treadmill right there. So why leave the house and go down to the valley to swim and bike and run?
So I don’t want to do the race tomorrow, but I don’t know how to stop training. And it’s difficult to keep training unless I am doing some racing.
So I’m stuck in a trap of my own making.