In one of the posts I did for the Get Moving blog, one of the commenters asked what my next goal would be, after running the Smuttynose Palooza 5K. I initially planned on kicking the overall distance up and running a 10k this fall.
But then our beloved @BeWellBoston said "Hey, let's do this Triathalon Sprint."
Seeing as I'm a glutton for punishment (See also: #ProjectAdam), I happily agreed. And then I thought about it.
Imagine a giant thought bubble over my head, full of things like:
- You can't do a triathalon.
- You're still too overweight.
- How're you going to afford the bike?
- You've never swam that much before!
Technically speaking, all of those are probably true. True of Adam before January 2013. But I want to address them all as I think they are things many people taking the next step wrestle with
You can't do a triathalon. Why can't I? Well, it's something I've never done before. It's something only people in peak physical condition do. And then I realize that's all rubbish. I had never been married before, but I did that. And maybe I'm not in peak physical condition, but isn't that the point of training? Of working hard toward something? For something like a triathalon, I personally feel it's not about the time, but the completion. How many people do you know that have run a tri? I've only ever known one, and it was my Aunt Jean. She was a mother of twins, a Methodist minister, and one hell of a strong person. If she could make it happen, I can get out of my pity party and do it. So "you can't do a triathalon" is out.
You're still too overweight. I'm still a hefty 220. My frame does not like that weight on it, and I feel it sometimes when I run. Since weight loss is so difficult, clearly I can't run a tri. Except that I can. Eating healthy is expensive, certainly, but it can be done. More so, it's only so much about changing your diet. It's also about changing your habits. Mike Bauman (@mbfgmike) made a great point during the @BeWellBoston "Strong to the Core Luncheon" event a few months back: Earn your food. I track my intake and do my best to keep things at least even, if not having my caloric burn higher than my intake. My wife laughs a bit but also seems to love that if I'm not quite where I need to be, I will tell her "Hey, I need 200 more calories, I'm taking the dog for another walk." This is slow going, but by the end of this week I will be just under 220 pounds for the first time in a decade. So "you're still too overweight" is also out.
How're you going to afford the bike? Ok, this is the hard one to overcome. Tri-approved bikes aren't cheap. That fact alone immediately disuaded me from doing this. But the reality is, I've got 4 months to save. And since I'm balancing my calories with exercise, suddenly those extra beers are far less appealing. This allows me to drop a few extra quarters into the pedal fund. It still won't be easy, but if I can also con everyone in my family and extended family to maybe pitch in 5 or 10 bucks, I can ride my way to the finish line. Plus, I'm told there's a decent resellers market for the gear heads constantly upgrading. So, you guessed it, "how're you going to afford the bike?" is tossed to the way-side.
You've never swam that much before. Swimming is the component I'm scared of the most. Swimming, for all of my life, has largely involved cannonballs and water gun fights; a sustained, quarter-mile swim feels downright painful. But I can picture a quarter-mile. It's only a 440 sprint. I did those all the time. I can visualize and quantify it, so I think I can tackle it. And, as long as I can have a swimmies, I'll consider "You've never swam that much before." to be more bullocks.
In the end, this year is about reclaiming strength, confidence, and a little more hope. I've spent most of my 14-year-professional-career ignoring my health and well-being. Running has definitely brought a clarity of thought that has been missing for some time. It's also brought a strength I have not felt in years. It has its aches; it has more than its share of pains (Curse you, shin splints!). And the entire pantheon of gods in the heavens know that it is not easy to carve time out of a 28-hour-a-day work schedule. But if you can do that, I found, the rest falls in to place much easier.