If Triathlon and I were FBO (Facebook Official) our relationship status would have gone through a recent change: from “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated.” People might comment on our status update with things like “what happened!?” “you can make it work!” or “there are other sports out there, you’ll find one.”
While I’m certainly not giving up on Triathlon, I’ve definitely left the honeymoon phase and am starting to question our relationship. Maybe we moved too fast? I mean, it was only last June that I learned to ride a road bike and went for my first open water swim. In less than a year we went from strangers to making the ultimate commitment – the Ironman. Maybe we should have eased into things first and took it slow.
The Ironman was epic. I’m so glad I did it and I don’t regret a single dollar (and it was a lot) that I spent. I don’t regret the sacrifices of free time, sleep, or time with loved ones. Crossing the finish line of the Ironman was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life (although my Dad likes to remind me that getting my CPA made him more proud) and it is a memory I will certainly cherish forever. I plan to tell be the annoying mother that reminds her children that she once crossed 140.6 miles in one day when they complain about walking a few yards to the mailbox or spending an hour on their feet at the mall.
After the Ironman I took two full weeks of of training and when I did get back into it, I had absolutely no desire to swim or ride my bike. Running is certainly my true passion and I even struggled with that following the Ironman. My runs were exhausting and the heat added an additional challenge, making most runs very slow and somewhat miserable. Prior to the race I had anticipated signing up for an Olympic distance triathlon in September so that I could get one more race in this year and also test out my new amazing endurance due to hundreds of hours of swim/bike/run. However, when it came down to it, I only signed up for the race because I won an entry, and I ended up downgrading to the sprint.
I gave myself 3 weeks to train for the sprint triathlon and as of now, it’s looking like I will have only gotten in three swims and three outdoor bike rides in that time-frame. My swims have been short and anything but fabulous. The bike rides have been enjoyable but I always start them pissed off at how long it takes to get ready to go for a bike ride (my 33 miler last week essentially took up 5 hours of my time with preparation, commute,etc). The thought of never doing triathlon again crossed my mind during each of these workouts. When I looked up the race info for the sprint this weekend I almost considered not even doing it because I would have to drive so far to the Expo on Friday and wake up so early on Saturday morning to get to transition in time.
This morning I actually had a quite enjoyable ride down the coast before work. The sun was rising and the weather was perfectly cool yet not cold. I enjoyed every moment of this ride and it actually sparked some excitement for the upcoming race. I definitely plan to race this weekend. I’m very interested to see how it feels and if I truly enjoy it. I absolutely love racing triathlon and have never had a race that I didn’t enjoy. I distinctly remember thinking during Oceanside 70.3, I’ve finally found my sport. I know that my relationship with triathlon isn’t over, but I do think that we need some time apart.
So while most of my blogger and Twitter triathlete friends that trained for an Ironman this year have signed up for another 140.6 next year, as of now I have no plans for a long course triathlon. Next year my focus will be to qualify for Boston and based on the way I’ve been running lately, it’s going to take a lot of work to get there. Triathlon is extremely time-consuming since you are constantly trying to get really good at three different sports. Even if you practice each sport three times a week, you will never become excellent at any of them. My plan is to become an excellent runner and then reintroduce triathlon into my life and work on the other two sports.
One thing I do still enjoy is reading other people’s race reports and training stories. By no means do I plan to stop reading my favorite triathlon blogs or having discussions with Asia and Jeremy about their upcoming Ironman. I still love the sport – I’m just not in love right now.
Have you ever had to take a break from a sport or hobby? How long did it take for you to to become interested in it again?