The expected, the half expected and the new quest for motivation

(originally titled The expected, the half expected and the fuck-if-I-expected-this)

Time to regroup again.

IM (Vineman or otherwise), STP and any other endurance events are out for 2012 as well (see the end of the previous post as to the reason why this happened). So the question, once again, is now what?

Unless things change i'm scheduled to get my leg cut open on January 6th (Update: Got the surgery moved ahead to December 22nd) which leaves me without putting weight on it until late February and who the hell knows how long will i be in PT and strengthening my whole body but particularly my legs before I can even consider doing another triathlon much less an Ironman.

I'm just getting to the point where I can accept a 2012 without endurance sports. The stubborn me says that I still have time to train for Pac Grove Olympic if i'm out of the cast by February, this is the same me that explored every little possibility to actually join the Iron Team in the Valley this year for a 2012 race.

But I have to surrender to the limitations that my body is putting on me. No means no, it doesn't mean that I can try again in a few weeks. I'm honest enough to accept the fact that I can't even walk more than a mile without being in excruciating pain.... I wouldn't be able to walk even a 3 mile race much less a marathon 🙁

How do I stay motivated

If your life were a book and you were the author How would you want the story to go?

Amy Purdy

Fuck, 13 or even 6 months feel so far away and in such a different world.

Will I still want to do an Ironman at the end of 2012 and into 2013? THe people who don't understand the mindset you need to do this tell me that sure I'll be in perfect shape for IM Canada in 2013 and I want to agree with them, I want to believe that it's all a switch you turn on and off whenever you're ready and feel like it.

I guess it boils down to how bad you really want this... How bad you want that tattoo on your calf that says you're an Ironman and how bad do you want to push yourself to what is certainly going to be your limit and maybe even beyond that?

in 2011 I had the drive because it gave me continuity... Triathlons and TNT were the bridge between California (friends and life) and what I was trying to build in Georgia. That went down the shitter in a hurry when i quit my job (about 30 seconds before I was fired) and later when I broke my leg so 2012 was to get back what I thought (and still think) that I deserve (whether I do or not is a different story for another argument and another post).

So the big question for 2013 (and we haven't even started 2012 yet :P) is:

Do I want to put myself through all this crap again? Train 5 to 7 days a week from December through July and then spend 17 hours killing myself (no other way to describe it) in order to accomplish a goal that most people would think is crazy?

And it's not just that. Back when I was trying to decide if I should push or not (outlined on this earlier post) I realized that there are a lot of other questions that I should be asking regarding Ironman training beyond the simple can I or do I want to

DO I want to commit to something as crazy as this for as long as this is going to take when I'm not 100% sure that my leg will heal properly or at all?

Commitments and Resolutions

Then it hit me. Three things that make up commitment: care, consistency and confidence.

If you’re going to make the commitment, you’ve got to care about what you’re committing to. You’ve got to possess it for yourself. It can’t be something your coach, your team, your sponsors or any external source wants you to do. This has to be for you. When you care about something, you value the outcome, you place meaning on it. When you personally care about something, you do things because you want to not because you have to. You do things because not doing them disappoints yourself – not someone else.

When you don’t care, you do things half-heartedly. You skip things. You find better things to do than what you’re supposed to be doing. Your practice becomes half-assed. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s because of burnout, a goal that we set too high, or something we’re just not that into, if you don’t 100 percent care about the goal and outcome, you won’t make the commitment.

When you do care, you’re unstoppable. No morning is too dark, no day is too cold – you’re up and at it. The other day, someone asked me why I was doing Ironman. They gently reminded me that I don’t have million dollar contracts. This is true. But I’m doing it because I set a goal a year ago, one that I care about and I won’t be satisfied until I either achieve it or finish knowing that I’ve given it my best. It doesn’t have to bring me fame, money or anything external but intrinsically it means something to me. It makes me want to stay committed.

Part of commitment is consistency. It’s day after day, mile after mile, doing it when it feels good and when it doesn’t. Doing it when everyone else is doing something else. The cornerstone of commitment is sacrifice. To get something you have to give something. Whether it’s giving it your best, giving a lot of your time or giving up _____, this type of day after day sacrifice and practice is the consistency it takes to stay committed.

After years of competing as an athlete and working with other athletes, I have uncovered only one secret: the only thing that matters is consistency. Without it, you will not gain fitness, you will not make progress, you will not gain anything from what you do. Read that again. To get to where you want to go months from now, you need to be putting in the day to day work right now. No shortcuts. The week before the big race is too late. The month before the big race is too late. It starts now.

When you are committed, you are saying that you will be consistent. To be consistent you have to stay healthy. This means paying extra attention to your diet, health, recovery, sleep and stress. Each can influence your consistency. A week of poor eating, catching a cold, an injury, unnecessary life drama – all of this interrupts your consistency. True that it takes a lot of time, money and energy to give each of these things proper attention. But the meaningfulness of your commitment impels you to do so. To keep yourself in balance and healthy. It’s worth it.

When you make a commitment, you do so with the underlying certainty of yes you can. That is confidence. Confidence is what sparks us to think – I can do this – and then empowers us to get it done. Confidence is the bottom line with any commitment. If you think you can or you can’t – you’re right. If you’ve committed to something, you know you can – so honor yourself and do it.

In life, you will encounter many people who try to take away your confidence. People say all sorts of stupid shit to make you feel less able, guilty, weak or less confident. Understand that you have no responsibility to believe any of what they say. Know who to listen to. Listen to yourself, listen to the opinions of those who mean something to you (your parents, your coach). Don’t place value on anything else. The best piece of advice I’ve ever received: don’t change who you are for anyone else.

If you made the commitment for a goal, you are confident. You know you can. You care about this goal and believe you can do it. It will take consistency in your practice and habits to follow through. So, when you think about what commitment means – it’s about setting a goal you care about, it’s about acting consistently to do the work required to achieve that goal and it’s letting your own confidence carry you through.

So ask yourself: what am I going to commit to this coming season? Is it a personal best? Is it winning my division? Is it showing up to every morning practice? What will draw you out of bed each morning when the big event is months away, when the water is cold or it’s the dead of winter. The beauty is that you decide about your commitments – you make the choice. Which means the process of commitment and achieving things is entirely in your control.

from Elizabeth Waterstraat

It's coming to that time of the year again when we have to make plans for the year ahead so here it goes. Because of the leg I'm actually making plans for 1 and 2 years ahead... hopefully this is not going to sound too crazy 🙂

  • I'm committing to Ironman Canada for 2013.
  • I'm committing to be strong and fit as I was when I was training with the team in Georgia.
  • I'll work with a nutritionist so I can decide upon and reach my target weight for Canada (and yes, I have someone in mind already).

As far as training goals, I have a few things in mind

  • Beat 1:15:00 on 2.4 mile swim
  • Get to cycle 300 miles a week
  • Run the San Jose R&R half in 2012

Why am (was) I so intent on an Ironman?

This past weekend has been one of very mixed emotions. I'm psyched for and proud of all my Georgia friends and teammates who completed (or are completing as I write this) Ironman Arizona... It is an awesome accomplishment. I'm also unbelievable bitter that i'm not there completing the event with them... and all because of a broken leg that hasn't healed the way I expected it to.

I asked Drew (my first TNT coach and a good friend since) whether I should push and try to get back in shape for another try with the team here in California. He mentioned my leg not being fully healed as a reason why I shouldn't try to push this year to do Vineman in 2012 and wait to do a race in 2013.

Drew sent me this link:
as an honest gut check regarding whether I should or not.

Here is the gut feeling / knee jerk answer

For most of 2011 my life revolved around work and training. Saturday, August 23 I fell and my bike fell on my leg... result: fibula partially broken. I still remember when I spoke with Mike (Gaw one of the coaches from the Georgia Iron Team) and we both decided that it was not going to be possible for me to continue training. Right then and there I decided that I was going to try again in 2012... it's got nothing to do with pride (at least it wasn't initially thought with that goal) but it was as a motivation to heal, recover and move on both in my endurance challenges and the rest of my life.

As hard as it may be for some of my friends to believe, endurance sports has become the center of balance on my life... yes, part of me wants to really see if I can do an Ironman (and more than once as time/energy/life permits) but it has also to do with the friendships you make and the single minded desire to work towards a goal and accomplish it. While I was in Georgia it was the training that kept me from saying fuck this shit, packing and going home... I ended up packing and going home anyway but that's a different story.

Now for the specific answers to the questions

What is your financial status or your predicted status a year from now?

I'm fundraising for TNT so it shouldn't be as hard as if I was paying for a coach out of pocket. I also have money that I'm transferring from Georgia. If I had to do it out of pocket it would amount to $400 a month. I still think that's doable.

Do you need a massive new goal to motivate you and your training?

Yes, I most definitely do! Even though it's a moot point (more on this later) I still need to feel that I have something to accomplish.

Are you avoiding other projects in your life?

How are your relationships with your family and friends?

Would a year of racing focused on shorter faster distances help set you up better for Ironman success?

Maybe you need to shake off some of the heavy endurance muscles and tap into speed in your legs that may have been beat down from years of long-distance training.

Are you in optimal health?

No, that's why I'm wondering whether I should or not. I'm not healthy right now but am counting on my body to have fully recovered by the time serious training starts.

Are you trying to qualify for Kona?

Not until I have 5 IM races under my belt will I consider the possibility of trying to qualify for Kona

Are you trying to PR on a favorite course?


Have you considered signing up for a race with a group of people?

I want to do it with TNT. It'll be interesting to see who the coach is when my body finally decides to let me do this shit.

Are you turning this trip into a family vacation?

Don't know yet... I don't have a partner to travel with

The veredict

I went to the doctor on Wednesday (11/23) and the conversation went something like this:

Doctor: How are you doing?

Me: I hope i'll be doing better. Do you have any news for me?

Doctor: I do.

Me: Good News or Bad News

Doctor: It depends on whether you're in absolutely no pain or not

Me: Bad news then. I'm still in pain.

He then proceeded to explain o me that my bone wasn't fully healed, that they best solution is surgery, what would the bone graft surgery do and that I would be down for 6 weeks before I'd be allowed to put weight back on the leg.

This renders the discussion of whether I'm ready to do an Ironman moot as I will not be ready to develop baseline until January or February...

Yeah, fuck me about sums it up