Sleep: 6 hours (pretty good for me)
Workout: 2850 yd master's swim. 57 minutes.
Breakfast: 2 Pop Tarts, 20 oz Diet Dr. Pepper
Snack: Powerbar Harvest Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip bar
Lunch: 6" Subway Club on wheat w/ swiss, all the veggies. Cheddar Sun Chips. 32oz Diet Coke
Snack 2: Vending Machine Crackers
Dinner: Rubio's bean and cheese burrito, chips, 22 oz Diet Coke.
I'm listing this for a reason, not to boast about my crappy eating habits. I've been going to these noon master's workouts every Wednesday for a month. Yes, today was my fourth time. I typically get to split the lane, though I did have to circle my first time.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember me posting about pool work earlier in the year, before things started going squirrelly. I was zeroing in on 3500 yards in an hour. At a minimum, I was hitting 3000. Today is the first time I've come anywhere close to that in a good long while, and I feel pretty good about it. I mean, the coach's workouts are tough, and I'm still learning all this base pacing stuff, but that's where the point of this post comes into play.
Since I started into this whole triathlon adventure, I've done a lot of things I never thought I would ever try. A half marathon. Two, soon to be three half Iron tris. 9 other triathlons. Several layers of goofball workout that I don't even want to think about. Along the way, I've learned a lot about myself, both what makes me tick physically and mentally, and how I relate to this bizarre world I inhabit. I've met loads of people, many of whom I'm lucky enough to call friends and some even good friends. I wouldn't trade any of this for the world, believe me.
So what am I on about?
During this time, I've also gone through my periods of obsession, where all I think and talk about is practically triathlon. Where I count calories and schedule my training sessions to the minute. I've had periods where I swing the pendulum all the way across and drink too much and stop sleeping and eat like a jackass. What I've learned so far is that none of this really affects my ability to race. I can swim and bike as hard as I want. I may gain a minute or lose two, but I never move the needle too far. My runs are getting better as my foot heals and I see good things in the future.
But now I'm weeks away from Vineman, my second half of the year, and while I originally wanted it to be my "A" race, the one I just killed, I find that now I don't care so much. I know I can finish it. I know how I'd like to do, but I also know that if I don't do it I won't be heartbroken. Frankly, I'm getting in touch with my motivations in the sport and they aren't what I thought they were.
I had a talk with Mark a week or so ago and I was telling him about some workouts I'd been doing with people who weren't as fast as me or didn't have the same endurance. Usually, I just hang anyway. He got a little concerned that I was sacrificing my training. I probably am, but the thing is, I know that if I set my mind to it, I'll finish the damn race. I learned that at Wildflower this year. I'll just get it done on race day. I might not do it as fast as maybe I can but I'm a pretty simple machine. Point me in a direction, turn me loose and I'll find the end of the path.
What I'm learning is that I don't care so much about my times. I don't care about my position in the field. I care about what I do on the way to the race. Who I train with and get to know. Who I can help to meet whatever goals they have. Mostly, I find that what I care about is that I enjoy the time I put into it and the people I spend that time with. As long as that's going on, the racing seems to take care of itself.
So you tell me, does that make me a bad triathlete? Should I be more gung-ho about the numbers? Should I be charging for a podium that I'll never reach, or am I onto something? Maybe my mind will change after Vineman and I start gearing up for 2010. Maybe not. I sure as hell don't know, but I'm having a lot of fun with the puzzle.