July 7, 2009

Remembering Why

I've found in this sport it's important to remember what motivated me to sign up for an event or take on a new challenge. It's easy to get swept away in the day to day of training and preparation and then find myself wondering what inspired me in the first place. For a huge goal like Ironman, the motivation remains crystal clear. I can still remember exactly what it felt like sitting on the couch in February 2008, watching Kona and realizing I wanted the Ironman experience. I remember wondering if it was possible for a 33 year-old to learn how to swim after never having taken a swim lesson before. I wondered if I could run a marathon after moving my body 114.4 miles. So figuring out what I was really made of, proving to myself that an ordinary, non-athletic person could achieve something extraordinary with hard work, that became my driver.

But here I am just five days from my next race, Ironman Rhode Island 70.3, and I'm struggling to find that motivation. I remember being on a high after New Orleans and craving another experience, but I'm not sure I really thought about why this race would be a good idea for me. I think the timing is unfortunate, it's coming at the end of a pretty exciting four-week training block in Lake Placid, Wisconsin and DC, all of which broke my training monotony and challenged me in new ways. Because of the travel and distractions, I hadn't even bothered to think about the race until my coach asked me to outline my goals. In doing so, I realized I am approaching it very differently from New Orleans. New Orleans was about the accomplishment of completing my first half Ironman and about meeting goals for each leg of the race. But Rhode Island is a practice race, a dry run of some key race day elements I may not get the chance to test again until the big day.

Perhaps that has drained some of the fun out of it. Or perhaps I'm just so Wisconsin focused at this point that everything else is secondary. Regardless, I'm sure once I arrive and find myself in the midst of race weekend excitement that some of it will rub off on me. And hopefully, if I'm lucky, I'll re-discover my motivation and have a positive and rewarding race experience.

Today's training was bike intervals while watching the Tour de France on DVR. There is nothing better to make an otherwise boring trainer ride something I actually look forward to.

Distance - 17.06 miles
Time - 1:10:10


  1. I remember when you first started... I thought you were crazy. Now I know you are crazy and now I am too. "Inspriation is wherever you find it" some famous person said that once. You are going to have an excellent adventure, afterall, you've earned it!

  2. My dear LM, as this will be my fourth full year of training for IM’s, I humbly welcome you to the period of your training where everything seems to pale in comparison to your goal of finishing the full 140.6 distance this is absolutely normal. And aside from the fact that you just had a huge cycle of training, it is my sincere opinion that you are mistaking lack of motivation for the feeling of already knowing what is to come. It is the unknown and the excitement that comes with it that motivates us. Fear is the greatest motivator (at least for me) and after training at distances much farther than the HIM distance, you are simply not afraid of what is to come in 5 days or whenever your race is; thus, the days leading up to HIM seem very routine. Putting things in perspective, you spent more time in the saddle two weekends ago than it will take you to finish your HIM. However, I suspect that the night before, or the morning of, or the moments before the cannon goes off that you feel nervous, antsy, excited, ready to charge ahead, testing your body…yes, I suspect you will. You were once bitten by the multi-sport bug and although you may have acclimated to the symptoms and the focus towards Wisconsin has distracted you, being in the presence of other triathletes will bring you right back. Once that cannon goes off on that Sunday morning, you will be motivated again, as you watch your competitors thrash their way through the water, mash on those peddles, and tick through those miles, and after you finish and reflect on your day, I have no doubts that you will have a renewed sense of drive towards September 13th even more than you have now. This race is exactly what you need to break up the monotony of high volume training; it will be good for both the mind and body. With that I wish you good luck, a safe race, and most importantly a fun filled day.

    Sorry for rambling…I’m ready to get out of this office today and out into the sunshine!




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