Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Are Triathlete's Head Cases?

I have been pondering this question for a couple of days. I think it's because the Half is getting closer and I'm questioning myself. In the beginning, I wanted to do the Half Ironman to prove my oncologist wrong. It's become much more than that now.

When I was running around Camp Clearwater this weekend, I saw people having fun. They were napping on the beach, playing in the water or drinking beer on the porch. My friends and I were running around in the 95 degree heat. I started thinking "What the hell is wrong with me? Why am I doing this?" Last year, I would be laying on my blanket on the beach and snoozing in the sun. I could be happy as a clam because I didn't know any better.

I sometimes feel like people aren't always happy about this new "Tri Mojo". The other day, Snaggle asked me if we'd ever have an X-Box marathon again. In the winter of 2004, we were snowed in during Snag's winter break. An X-box marathon consisted of playing The Simpsons video game for 8 hours straight. I'm not kidding! My ass hurt from sitting on the floor in front of the TV for so long. We ate junk food and played X-Box all day. When I think back, I laughed really hard. Especially when we were trying to drive the car. It was fun and I didn't feel bad about sitting in front of the TV all day, because I didn't know any better.

My mother-in-law has a place at Camp Clearwater, that's were my friends and I are staying for the Half. When I talked to my MIL about the weekend, she told me she didn't want to come down until after I started the race. She didn't want to be there to see me pre-race. It scares her too much and she thinks she'll have an anxiety attack. When I tell her how far the race is, she gets a little spastic. She'll ask "Why hun, do you want to do this to your body?"

I know I'm not doing this just because a doctor told me I can't. Part of it is for myself too, to see if I'm tough enough mentally. Now that I'm training so much, I'd say part of it's an addiction. I'd venture to guess that lots of triathletes have an addictive personality, have been through a traumatic experience in life or are over achievers.

You see, now I know better. I know the feeling I have on days when I have trained for 4 or more hours a day. I know what it feels like to feel REALLY tired. I know the feeling of disappointment when I miss a workout. I know the natural high I can get from working hard. I know the pride I feel when I flex my bicep and it's the biggest bulge ever on my arm. I don't know if I can go back to my old self. The old self that was okay with just living. I miss being that simple sometimes.

I worry about what will happen when the Half Ironman is over. All the races I have after the half are sprints. Will they be enough? Will my desire to train continue to grow? If it doesn't, will I turn into a fat cow that sits on the floor, eating bon-bons while playing X-Box all day? Or should I think about training for "The Full Monty" aka Ironman 2008?

18 Comments:

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Jill said...

In answer to your question - YES!! I definitely think they/we are!!

I have a friend training for the full Iron in Germany (July). She will be one of the thousands also riding in the MS150 this weekend. Day 1 she plans on riding the 100 miles THEN going for a 13 mile run!! And then riding for 80 miles on Day 2!!

And here I am wondering if I can train for marathon and a half iron at the same time (the marathon is the week before the half iron).

Yep - head cases!!

 
At 9:37 AM, Blogger nancytoby said...

There are a FEW triathletes out there that I'm quite sure are certifiably wacko.

That said, it's up to you how "long" you want to go. It's fine to do sprint triathlons forever, or not - it doesn't make you "MORE" of a triathlete or a "REAL" triathlete to go longer, despite what some of those nutcases would have you believe!!

 
At 5:27 PM, Blogger Robin said...

Hey--My friend ONLY does Sprints. She's a super-triathlete.

I did my first sprint and immediately signed up for a Half IM this August and will be working towards that. I crossed the marathon finish line Monday evening, upset with myself that I finished in 6:25 -- 40 minutes after my estimated time and disappointed that I finished at 7:05 PM, when the race "officially" closed at 6:30 PM. (I still got my medal, though, as GREAT volunteers stayed at tyhe finish line for 30-45 minutes after 6:30 PM). However, DESPITE the fact my TNT running coach said I deserve a medal for 'starting' given my injuries during training, my 1st three thoughts I had when I crossed teh finish line were, in order:
1. Where's my team mate?
2. Where's my medal?
3. I am so here next year to cross the line well before 6:30 PM and injury-free.

Addictive? Maybe just a little :)

 
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