Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why I race: Motivation is a crazy thing

Somehow, I was misled by my teenage hormones to fall in love with a sports fan, and then later, marry him. I never liked watching or talking about sports so this was never part of my plan.

As a consequence, I get exposed to things that I wouldn't have otherwise seen, like this blog post from Joe Polanski about motivation, and how it is a strange and fickle thing. After a blood pressure scare where he tested in the "stroke range," he said:
I got the medicine, got the blood pressure machine, got my blood pressure under control fairly quickly. And you can probably guess what I did next.
Right. Nothing.
About a month ago, I put on T-shirt that used to fit me. It didn’t fit anymore. It wasn’t one of my favorite T-shirts. It wasn’t even a particularly nice T-shirt. But when I put that T-shirt on, and it didn’t fit, something just snapped in my brain. Something in there just screamed out, “ENOUGH!” Human motivation is as mysterious as love or the weather in Omaha.
He wrote about how he needed a big goal to keep him in the exercise and fitness game, and how it had to be an AND: you can maintain your weight if you work out, and you can maintain your weight if you eat well, but to LOSE weight at our age you have to do both." I can definitely relate.  

I like working out.  But I hate the whole diet business, and I also have a lazy streak where I will want to just do enough to maintain my fitness but not really push myself to do more.  That's why I started racing -- to keep myself working hard, getting up early in the morning, and otherwise fighting the Blerch. Most people train so they can race -- I race so that I will train.

I'm running into a little problem, though. I've been able to one or two sprint tris every summer without being completely on point with my food and my training. It's feeling like Groundhog Day, where I keep doing the same race at about the same speed every year.  Every season I start out with an injury, manage to beat it back into submission enough to do a race or two, but never make any progress forward.

An Olympic distance (double the swim, double the bike, double the run) seems too out of reach. I had thought about trying a 5K swim, but I never felt ready to tackle that much extra distance. So I have been considering trying an Aquabike for next year -- a longer swim and bike, but no run.  And somehow, I'm excited about racing again.

This winter, my goal is to do all that foundational strength work that I'd need to keep from getting injured. And, of course, get my weight down so that everything feels a little easier. You know how cyclists try to make every component of their bike as light as possible? I'm thinking that lightening the rider couldn't hurt.

None of this is rocket science, but I need a reason to keep me focused.  Human motivation is a crazy thing.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07