Posts Tagged ‘Over-Thinking’

At A Crossroads (or May 2015 Month in Review)

June 1, 2015 Leave a comment


As I write this, I’m 20 days away from my first race of the season – the Olympic Distance at the Toronto Triathlon Festival.  And I’m feeling really torn (and a fair bit tired) – like I’m at a crossroads of sorts.  Like at some point soon I need to decide what I want out of triathlon, or perhaps more accurately, what I want to put into triathlon (and what I’m willing to accept out of it, consequently).


Let’s look back at the month of May.  My training in May was a tail of two triathletes.  The first week (and a half) and the last week were really strong, focused training weeks.  I had a decent balance and volume of training in all 3 sports.  I had some high intensity days and some recovery days.  Everything felt like it clicked.  The middle two weeks were the opposite – I dragged myself out for a little bit of running, but that was it.  I was lazy, disinterested, and found all kinds of excuses not to get in the pool or touch the bike.  I got tired, and a little burnt out.  I backed off.  I spent my time on other hobbies instead.

Last week was a great week.  This morning I feel exhausted.  I missed my swim this morning and rationalized my way out of biking this evening.  I’m backing off again.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.


Looking back over the past year I think helps paint the picture.  Disregarding the ‘sports’ minutes (baseball/volleyball/curling, etc, which I stopped tracking around the new year), May of 2014 was a (relatively) giant month for me for training, if not a little bit imbalanced.  As we got into the summer – into the core of race season (and also the core of patio season) – my training really tapered off.  It became real easy to hear the excuses not to train: how much time it took, how tired I felt, how many other fun things there were to do over the summer.  In fact, you have to go back to May of last year to find the last time I did as much training as I did in May of this year, and that’s even with those two lazy weeks.

Which brings me back to my original crossroads question: what do I want out of triathlon?  On one hand, I’m really damn proud of the work I put in this past month.  It’s the most I’ve ran or swam in over a year.  And not only have the volumes gone up, but having joined a swimming group and a cycling group, the intensity has gone up too.  I feel stronger than I have in a LONG time.

On the other hand, I feel more tired than I have in a long time.  And I feel a little bit more disinterested than I have in a long time (which I think correlates inversely with the approach of patio season, and the plethora of other fun summer things I could be doing with my training time).  To keep up this training means making choices – and at some point I have to decide where this falls on my personal priority list.  Right now, I feel like my mind changes back and forth each week.

I read a great blog post a few weeks back called It’s All About That Bass: How The Triathlon Industry Gets It Wrong (go read it now, I’ll wait…).  It’s a fantastic article that discusses a lot of points on motivation in the triathlon age-group industry and how it could be better approached by marketing.  A fantastic read, which I really enjoyed, and hardly relates to what I’m discussing here today other than it makes one really key distinction:

The sport is growing from an increasing number of new athletes who are more average, heavier, less athletic but still inspired to participate– if not necessarily compete.

This has really stuck with me since reading this piece:  Am I in this sport to participate, or to compete?  What do I want to get out of triathlon?  What do I want to put into it?

History tells me I can back off my training – I can enjoy all the patios and beaches and summer fun that I’d like, do the occasional Weekend Warrior training, and still participate in triathlon races.  That’s what I did last year, and truthfully every summer in the past.  I can be that average, heavier, less athletic but still inspired to participate athlete.  I can finish, grab my finisher’s medal, sweaty selfie, and post race pint, and be on my way.  I can do that without feeling so tired, so burnt out, all summer long.  I can choose that balance.  And that’s not a bad thing – even doing that much would make me a much healthier and fitter self than I was before I got into the sport, and would still let me enjoy the fun of race day.

But what if I want to compete?  What if I want to push myself?  What if I want to try to race faster, or race longer distances?  What if this summer I want to tell my family and friends that I need to pass on the Saturday night patio, because I have an early morning ride the next morning?  What if I want to make this a priority?  But even so, to what end?  I’m never going to be a pro.  I’m realistically never really going to “compete” (other than competing against myself).  Is that worth the trade off?  Maybe…

I’m at a crossroads, and I don’t know which way I’m leaning.  I know that I’m really proud of the work I did this month.  And I know that I’m really tired.  And I don’t know what to do with that.


Triin’ Ain’t Easy

January 19, 2013 Leave a comment
Think I'm gonna need a bit more...

Think I’m gonna need a bit more…

Today I ran my first 18k long run.  I was happy with it, though I feel like I’ve had the shit kicked out of me physically now.  I seemed to have a headwind against me the whole return leg of my run (which is odd, because my route was sort of crescent shaped).  I addressed the low energy problem a bit by bringing a packet of Gu along with me, though my 24oz water bottle ran dry far earlier than I wanted it to.  I guess that’s the new logistical issue to work out.  Water is good.

Anyway, while I’m sitting here on my couch doing nothing with my legs, I’m reminded last night of a review I was doing of my training schedule and race calendar.

Now that I’ve added the Grimsby Half Marathon to the slate, I’m looking at an 8 race season.  While that’s really exciting and motivating, it’s also kind of expensive.

I’ve signed up and paid up for 3 races so far – the last of which this week, my wife and I paid $73 each for the Half Marathon.  At $75/race, it’s going to be a $600 season.  Yikes.

My big 4 races of the summer have all opened registration at the same time – a June Triathlon in Binbrook, a June Bike Race in Waterloo, a July Triathlon in Cincinnati, and a September Triathlon in Wasaga.  The Binbrook race is going to cost $70, the Waterloo race $70, the Cincinnati race $95, and the Wasaga race $83.  My budget can’t afford to pony up for all of that at once…

… anyone have any suggestions on getting a sponsor?  anyone? Bueller?

My question to anyone with experience signing up for races or events – have you ever missed out on a race you wanted to sign up for because it sold out?  Do you usually sign up early, or wait until the last minute?

Have you ever missed out on an event you wanted because it sold out faster than you expected?

C is for 2013

January 1, 2013 2 comments

Image courtesy of

Happy New Year everyone!

I’ve been of mixed opinions lately on the topic of New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ve heard a lot of arguments that people can make positive change in their lives at any time – why should we do so only at a prescribed date and time, such as New Year’s Eve?  However, I’m also of the theory that if a person has positive change they want to make, and haven’t made yet, sometimes all they need is an arbitrary deadline to start.  And there’s no better time than the New Year.

I like the picture above – apart from the “quite smoking” item, it’s pretty much my exact list of resolutions this year.  Usually when asked about my New Year’s Resolutions, I try to avoid the cliché responses – “Lose Weight”, “Exercise”, “Eat Healthier” etc.  This year, that’s exactly I want to focus on.

But I still want to make my goals mine.  I want to own them.

I was inspired by an idea my Mother-in-law has, which she writes about in her own blog Faith from the Edges.  Every year she comes up with 3 words to give her direction for the year.  I like this idea.  So, with props to her, I give you my 3 words for 2013 – brought to you by the letter “C”.

Control – 2013 is going to be focused on controlling the things in my power.  I am in control of my life – I am the captain that steers this ship.  In relation to Losing Weight: I control what and how much I eat.  In relation to Training: I control how many times I hit or miss a planned training session.  Nobody is responsible for these but me.  I am the owner of decisions that I make, and I can make any decisions I choose.  In 2013 I want results, and I will take control of this ship to steer towards the results that I want.

Courage – 2013 is going to be about pushing my limits.  This is the Yin to the Yang that is Control.  Courage to push myself beyond boundaries I didn’t think I could break through.  Courage to try what I don’t think I can do.  Courage to take calculated risks to see how far I can grow.  In 2013 I want results, and I will have courage to push myself to results I previously didn’t think possible.

Calm – 2013 is going to be about maintaining an inner calm – an even keel to the things that I can’t control.  It is about relaxing and letting go – not taking myself so seriously, and rolling with the punches that come my way (shit, we all gotta laugh, right?).  Calm to be flexible with the unexpected and enjoy the simple side of life.  I want to stop taking life – and myself – so seriously and learn to relax and enjoy everything that comes my way.  In 2013 I will have the inner Calm to enjoy life and it’s results, whatever they may be.

These are my goals – my words – for 2013.  I feel like I’m ready to get this year started!

What are your words for 2013?

Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing

December 6, 2012 3 comments
More comfort food than training fuel... so good...

More comfort food than training fuel… so good…

Tuesday was my sorta Off Day (I say sorta because I still did a 1.5km swim in the morning… it’s funny how I think of days with only a swim as being an “off day”… really, if I don’t have to run, it’s an off day).  I met up with a buddy of mine I don’t see nearly often enough for wings after work.  We stayed and chatted for almost 3 hours.

He put an interesting thought in my head: if I hadn’t moved to Hamilton 18 months ago, would I be the budding triathlete I am today?

There are times in our lives when we make decisions that seem small, but end up having huge impacts in our lives downstream.  I believe we all have a few of them.  For me, I can look back to the summer of 2005, when I had an offer to go back to college for my second degree.  Tuition was paid and bags were packed, but I changed my mind and decided not to move at the last minute.  If I had moved, I wouldn’t have met my wife.

I wonder if moving to Hamilton will prove to be another one of those moments that I’ll look back on some day.  My friend and I talked about who we were in our community, and how sometimes you can develop a perception of yourself that can be difficult to change.  When I lived in KW, I was a lot of things.  I was a drummer.  I was a thespian.  I was a gamer.  I was a lot of things I enjoyed being at that point in my life, but none of them similar to being an athlete, or a triathlete.

Since moving to Hamilton I haven’t touched my drum kit – it sits in boxes in a closet.  I haven’t stepped foot into a community theater.  And I almost never play video games any more.  But I love to swim and bike.  I love to run.  I’ve discovered a new me.

And it’s not to say that I didn’t don’t love my friends and family still in KW, or that I don’t hope to some day live in KW again.  I love getting back to KW to visit, catch up, and share a beer.  Frankly, I wish I had more time for it.  I miss everyone there.  But I don’t know if I discover this new me with the same conviction if I stayed there.  I don’t know if I invest the time, emotion, or energy in finding my new me.  And I like this new me.

Seemed like an appropriate time to throw this pic back in

Seemed like an appropriate time to throw this pic back in… it’s like my Rookie Card

Tomorrow’s my real Day Off in the week (no running, not even swimming – just a 1 minute plank in the morning and that’s it).  Ironically, my wife and I have wings in the fridge waiting to be cooked, and beer in the fridge waiting to be drank.  Days off prove to be great for the soul as well as the body.  And they go great with chicken wings! (see how I tied it all back together there?  Writing magic… or something like that…)

Do you remember a decision you made that seemed small at the time, but ended up having a big impact on your life?

All is quiet

November 7, 2012 4 comments

Found this on a real estate website. Apparently it’s a street in Grants Pass, OR

I’m feeling a real sense of calm tonight.  The race season is over.  There’s nothing immediate to train for.  My wife and I went for a nice 5k run tonight.  It was good to lace ’em up again, and nice to go for an easy run.  We walked a few times, just ’cause we felt like it.  We had more of a conversation than we normally do while running.  Easy.  It was what I always think running should be.  Before the training plans, pace trackers, and intervals, there’s easy.  There’s fun.

As nice as it was to go for a run without a plan – and it was – it’s starting to feel too quiet.  I feel like I need a plan.  I need a goal – a race to be training towards.  I’m trying to tell myself to relax.  To enjoy the quiet.  To enjoy the off season.  But I still need a plan.

I’m working on a post to reflect back on the 2012 training and race season.  And another post to plan for 2013.  I think those are going to take a bit more time and though than most of my posts, so they may wait until the weekend (work gets in the way during the week… *sigh*).  So until then I guess I’ll continue to enjoy the quiet… or try to, at least.

Do you enjoy the quiet time after a goal?  Or do you jump right into the next one?

Final tune up

September 5, 2012 2 comments

I finally remembered to snap a picture of the Hamilton Lakeside trail before starting my workout

Well, that’s it.  2 more rest days, and then Race Day.  Tonight I got my final tune up brick in – a 15km ride followed by a 5.2km run.  Overall, not bad.  A great ride, and an acceptable run.  It was hot out there, even as the sun was going down, it was still over 30C with the humidex.  But the race, being in the morning, that shouldn’t be an issue.

I’m excited for the race.  The past few days I’ve been a bit frustrated at my relative lack of fitness this year.  I think I’m going to struggle to match last year’s times.  I should be able to run a PB – my running is so much stronger this year than last year.  But my cycling is weaker as I’ve moved my focus this year from the bike to the run.

I’m starting to be at peace with my current training.  I’m working on taking this a lot less seriously.  That doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it my all – I think the adrenaline of Race Day will take over and help me do my best – but I’m not so worried about the numbers at the end of the race.  Barring a catastrophe, by noon on Saturday I’ll have finished my 2nd sprint triathlon.  I’ve already achieved my goals through the training and health improvements this summer.  It’s time to race and have fun!

… but speaking of catastrophe, while pulling my gear out of the car post-workout tonight, I grabbed one of my cycling shoes and pulled it out minus one strap buckle.  Shit.  Fortunately I was able to find the buckle lose in the trunk of my car.  Even more fortunate, I was able to find the screw that should be holding it in place, also lose in the trunk of my car.  You’d think I’d set right to work fixing this when I got into the house, but like a true blogger, instead I snapped a picture and reached for my laptop (seriously though – I better try to fix it as soon as this post is done)

okay, so it’s a crappy iphone picture – but that’s the buckle that should be on the side of my bike shoe, and the screw that should be holding it to the shoe

now, where did I put that screwdriver…


Story time

August 20, 2012 Leave a comment

A cheery picture for a Monday, courtesy – as always – from Google Images

A good friend of mine, Jeremy, is a Life Coach.  He has an uncanny knack for inspiring me.  Years ago he was a personal trainer, and came to know me at my lowest couch potato point.  Since then I’ve followed his work as a reminder of where I’ve come from, and that even when it seems hard, I can get to where I want to be.  Check out his website Life Coach for Success – he does great work!

I’m on an email list he runs.  This morning he sent out an inspirational (and true) story that I’d like to broadcast.  Seriously, this man and his sons are crazy-good on Unicycles…

If you had been standing on the side of the road in Elmira, you would have seen my nine year old son, Nolan, and I driving toward you…

… on our unicycles.

Last year all three boys and I learned to ride on one wheel.  When you ride around town on one wheel you attract all kinds of comments.

“Where’s the rest of your bike???”

“Can you pull a wheelie?”

“What’s the matter, can’t you afford a whole bicycle?”

And they all think it is the first time we have ever heard it.  After the comedians, the most common thing you will hear is “WOW, you must have amazing balance.”

That morning as Nolan and I were cruising along that was exactly what the lady said to us.  Once we were a bit further down the road Nolan says to me, “Dad, I don’t understand why people say that.”  Now keep in mind that this kid has a pretty unique way of
looking at the world.

“What do you mean, Nolan?”

“Well” he says.  All of his profound statements start with “Well” so I knew something good was coming.

“If you take two people and the first one has great balance but doesn’t care about riding a unicycle, they will never learn to ride.”

“Um hmmm…” I said.

“Then you take another person who’s balance isn’t so hot but they really want to learn, they will get it eventually, right?”

You see Nolan knows something that the lady on the side of the road and every other person who comments about great balance doesn’t.  Most people did not see the weeks we spent falling on our butts, sweating, wobbling, and struggling.

(and maybe a bit of cursing too if I am being honest)

Most people didn’t see the hours of FAILURE we invested, they only see what they perceive as ‘amazing balance.’

I asked Nolan a question that I will also ask you. “Where else in life do you think that may be true?”

Where else do you think that persistence and determination are far more important than natural skill? Have you ever seen someone do something you perceive as amazing and assume it is natural talent you are witnessing rather than the result of hard work?

Nolan’s observation goes far beyond uncycling or any other physical challenge. If there is something you would like to work toward, even if you don’t have all the talent in the world, you can still be successful.  Even more successful than those with all the talent that do not possess your persistence and determination.

So go ahead, fall, wobble, and even curse if you have to.

But if the goal is truly important to you, keep diggin’

As Jeremy would say, “Make it a Great Day”



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