I’m a rule breaker

Life during the off season has become one big, long pity party of reflecting on what was and what was supposed to be. When I look in the mirror I see a frumpy, lumpy reflection; when I walk up the stairs I hear an exasperated old woman; and when my body aches I blame the lumpy couch and back-to-back movie marathons. I feel like a has-been and in reality it’s a pretty accurate description.
If I wasn’t already down enough on my shameful post-season uselessness, I stumbled across an article on triathlete.com by Jene Shaw, entitled ‘Four Rules for the Off Season.’ Almost immediately, I cringed at the thought that I had most likely already broken every rule, but for the sake of entertainment, I went through the rules anyway.
Rule #1: Don’t run a marathon in January.
Mission accomplished. Unless you count movie marathons or triple header rounds of beer pong, I have sufficiently satisfied this rule. In fact, I have never run a marathon, and I don’t plan on it until after the snow has fallen and then melted.
Rule #2: Focus on short, intense workouts
Fail. I’m not sure I even know what the word ‘focus’ means anymore, and other than short, intense bursts playing ice hockey after drinking a six pack, I think this does not apply.
Rule #3: Gain weight
Mission accomplished. Refer to earlier descriptions of frumpy and lumpy, and for good measure I’ll throw in tub of lard. I have indeed gained a significant amount of weight, mostly thanks in part to complying with rule #1.
Rule # 4: Swim a lot.
Fail. I’ve thought about swimming a lot. In fact I’ve set my alarm clock at least three times in the last week with full intentions to hit the pool. I’m zero for three. Next week, I’ll think about it some more.
Rule #5: Hit the gym
Fail. I have also thought about going to the gym. I was even supposed to start spin class last week, but somehow other activities keep derailing this plan. Anyway, plans in the off season are over rated.
Two for five, which when you do the math, equates to off-season triathlete failure.
Although I give myself a hard time, this has been a much needed break from the constant obsession of training and I’ve learned to become ok with that. I learned to let go of constantly eating, breathing, dreaming, thinking, living triathlon for just a brief flurry of unproductivity mixed in with some uninhibited fun. I’m kind of a one extreme to the other type of person, so I can’t say it’s the perfect balance, but it works. Starting this week, I’ll be putting away the beer glasses and bringing back out the running shoes to kick start a gradual return to fitness. And in honour of getting back on track, I also signed up for my first half iron in June. It’s been exactly one year since I signed myself up what was supposed to be my first half iron this past season, so I figured what better time than today to make that exact same commitment – but this time I’m not letting anything get in my way.
Check out the full triathlon.com article here.

The next step

It was just over a year ago that I made the decision to commit myself to completing an Ironman. At the time I barely knew how to swim the front crawl, run without walking breaks or balance on a road bike. Yet this is usually how I approach things in life, jumping in with both feet and never really looking to see where I’m landing. I’m stubborn, impulsive, determined and reckless, and while these attributes often result in trouble, I honestly believe they are the attributes that will help develop me into the Ironman I so desperately want to become.
Over this year, I have stuck with my commitment, and while I still have so far to go in my journey I no longer feel impulsive and reckless.  I know I am making the right decisions with my training and I’m approaching each level of the sport with reason and careful planning. That being said, while I submitted my registration form for the half-distance 2014 Challenge Penticton race it felt like a leap. No matter how prepared I am, it’s still hard to believe I can actually do it. The scary part about realizing your dreams is when they suddenly become reality. Nonetheless, my calendar is already mapped out and the training schedule is planned. So I may as well continue jumping in with both feet, because so far it seems to be working out for me.