Last spring, Jess and I moved to the South. As summer came upon us, we soon realized that we where in for something fierce. She’s from New Jersey, which gets decently hot and humid during July and August. And I’ve lived in the South before, but we called it something different: Southern California. Near the beach, it’s needless to say the weather was nearly perfect year-round. Yeah, just like those TV shows.
Sure as day, summer set in good and hot. I think they even had some record highs this year. Nashville gave us a “warm welcome.” When we’d head out for a triathlon training workout, especially a run, it took only a few minutes to become completely drenched through – and I mean dripping – with sweat. And this was at either dawn or dusk to avoid the heat of the day. Jess would always hate it when I’d say, “wow, it’s hot!” because, in her mind, it didn’t change the temperature or do anything to help the situation. It’s not that I was complaining…I was simply exclaiming.
Now that it’s getting cold (oh, I just hate being cold…it’s the worst feeling in the world), and now that it’s getting dark so early (I just hate that, too. How depressing.), I find myself creatively thinking up excuses to stay inside and stay warm–be lazy, and not doing any kind of triathlon workout. Not only is it easy to make excuses…it’s easy to complain.
Would I complain about a tri training workout?
So here’s what hit my head with a two-by-four lately: The conditions may never be perfect, but it’s totally and completely up to me – and myself alone – to stay true to my goals.
If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend watching “Running the Sahara.” These 3 friends from all over the world have this crazy idea to run the Sahara Desert, crossing six different countries (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, and Egypt. In it, you watch as they overcome many personal and interpersonal conflicts to ultimately run an average of 2 marathons a day, for 111 straight days, all in temperatures of 120 degrees!
Then there’s the Death Valley Ultra Marathon race. Speaking of crazy ideas… It all started when some guy back in 1977 named Al Arnold apparently had something to prove and ran from Badwater Basin at the bottom of Death Valley to Mt. Whitney that’s the lowest point Western Hemisphere to the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states! Somehow (and don’t ask me how) it caught on to become an annual event. You can go to the event website and find articles about not just training, but “how to survive” the race. I think it’s only something like 135 miles if you’re interested in signing up.
Being hot is one thing, but like I said, I hate being cold. Did I mention it’s the worst feeling in the world? A few years ago, Jess and I did the NY Road Runners New Year’s Midnight Run in Central Park, New York. I bundled up with every single piece of clothing I owned and was still chilled to the bone. It had to be that wind, because the temperature was a balmy 2 degrees that night. But despite the cold, that was a very fun memory… and a great way to start the new year!
Well, if you’re looking for more adventure in extreme weather, try this on: every year in October there is a North Pole Marathon. Yeah, they call it the worlds’ coolest marathon! People come from all over the world for it. But that isn’t unique, because there is also the Antarctica Marathon and 100k Race. That’s 62.1 miles if only a marathon isn’t a good enough challenge. I read about how the participants wear full face masks, but instead of steaming up like goggles, they would freeze over. So then they’d take off the mask and their eyelids would freeze!
Too hot, too cold, too big, too small…triathlon training just right!
To be honest with you, I find myself making a lot of excuses lately – and some really good ones too! Right now my latest one is, “After my brother comes to visit me next week, then I’ll get back on it with my eating right and working out…”
But here’s the real deal: the conditions to train for your first triathlon may never be perfect, and if you wait until then, it won’t ever happen.
Will I go for a run while my brother is here visiting or do a triathlon training workout of any kind? Maybe not. But that’s not a good enough reason, because just like I can find ways out of a commitment, I can find ways to stay committed to my vision.
Triathlon training takes commitment, no doubt. And part of that commitment is making the most out of less-than-ideal circumstances. And maybe it’s even appreciating the challenge. If those guys said, “I don’t like hot weather or getting sand in my shoes,” they would have never realized their dream of running across the Sahara.
If you wait, it will never happen.
You and I can find all the excuses we want.
Are your goals worth it?
Just like Jess not appreciating my obvious “wow it’s hot” statements, nothing you’re going to say or do changes it. We can talk all we want, but until there is some action, movement towards those goals, there won’t be any progress.
The longer you think about all of the reasons why you “can’t” workout, the harder it will be to do it. So, before you let your excuses get in the way of a triathlon workout, decide in advance that you WILL workout and then just do it!
Now it’s up to you – and only you – do dig down, deal with any obstacles, and go out and get it.