Putting Myself in Time Out

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!! And GOOOO TIGERS! We are a Clemson family and my husband literally bleeds ORANGE, so today is a happy, yet slightly hung over, day.

Second of all, I’ve missed this (blogging) so much. I’m back running again (I bet you didn’t know I wasn’t running, because how would you, I haven’t been blogging) so I’ve been thinking of so many things to write about, so I decided to write about the first thing that I really wanted to share. And I got lots to share.

Here we go. The last thing I wrote was my race report for IMNC 70.3 tri. It’s been months of trying to catch up with life, work so I can pay for life, and honestly rest. Here it is, January, and I never wrote a follow up for that particular blog, and I felt it was really important to do so.

So look at this picture from two years ago after I completed my first tri, the B2B 70.3. Look at that face!


Beast Mode. In Endurance events like this, you really have to zone in on this, or you can lose your mind.

I was so happy. Thrilled, excited, powerful, and fulfilled. I knew I did the best I could for that day, especially considering it was my very first tri.

After I finished this year, I felt very unfulfilled, angry, upset, mad.


Here’s the kicker. My finish time this year was less than ONE MINUTE different from the exact same race two years ago (6:03 or something like that). How bout them apples?  Less than one minute. And I was pissed. Mad. But the most interesting thing was not that I was mad about my result, which I was, but I was mad that I was mad. The race was hard. Everyone else said it too, so it must be true, right? Really, it was, and sure, I was disappointed I missed my goal time (by a lot) and mentally collapsed on the bike, and I worked my butt off for months to meet my goal time. But I was the maddest that I was mad about it at all. Where was that happy person like two years ago? That’s who I wanted to be, not a grumbly mess who would answer, “but it was way off my goal time” or “Thanks, but….”, when complimented on the race itself. No race finish should have an asterisk next to it, really.

While I was biking during this year’s race, I went from feeling good, to wanting to quit triathlon altogether, to “get yourself together”, to “I hate goal times”, to “do your best and kick as much butt as you can”. It was a tricky cycle of love to hate to love to dislike to contentment. During the run, which is my favorite thing to do in the whole world, I thought that I needed to reset my triathlon goals, and to stop making them so finite. There is so much to triathlon, at least for longer distances. So much can happen along the way to derail a race. Or make a race great. It’s not just three events, it’s pretty much five – swim, bike, run, transition, nutrition. They’re all essential components of one organism, which is the tri. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to tri. But I actually started doing triathlons after being disappointed in a 1:40 half marathon, which was a HUGE PR for me. I couldn’t shake the “it wasn’t fast enough” feeling, so I decided to do tri, so I could just enjoy the sport. Then I got all fancy with it and put big time goals on myself, and it ruined a really good race. I need to protect that “good feeling” when I tri. So I’m putting myself in time out.

Don’t get me wrong, having time goals is great. But not for me, for triathlon. I need a break from that, because that’s what I do in running. Running is where my competitive spirit resides. I am going to let triathlon be where my fun spirit resides. For now. So I’m putting myself in time out. No “racing” triathlons. No watches, no expectations except to have fun, which is the reason I do these things anyway.

Do you find you get too competitive with times? Or is that what makes it fun? Do you have sports for competing and then others for “fun”?

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, being epic, half iron distance, iron distance, ironman, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Putting Myself in Time Out

  1. I love this post! It’s funny…I am super competitive with myself in some races, but I ALWAYS have a race or two each season that I just do for fun. Where I don’t worry about my time, where I smile and enjoy myself the whole race, and where I cross the finish line happy and content! I try not to be too hard on myself at any race, because I do it for the fun factor…if it isn’t fun, I shouldn’t be doing it. But part of the fun for me is also pushing my limits…this is when I learn more about myself and some of the qualities I didn’t know I had start to shine. It is fun to experience those. I’m glad you are finding a way to keep triathlon fun for you! 🙂

    • That is SOOOO good you have races you can be in for fun. I guess I don’t tri that often, so I must do them all for time. No more of that! In running, I’ve learned that balance, and that sometimes races just don’t go your way, but I have not yet for tri. Well, I guess I just learned that lesson 🙂 Your journey has been fun to follow – I hope you reach your dreams!!!!

  2. I think it’s a runner’s Type A personality that allows him/her to run, but also leads to a competitive spirit and ultimately disappointment, some of the time. I’ve never had a race where I was upset, because it was either my own fault or I knew the course would be tough. Most of the time, I know it’s my own fault for giving up at some point. I keep my head down for a bit, think about what I did wrong, and resolve to do better the next time. I always am better the next time, fueled by the dissatisfaction of the time before.
    Thanks for sharing your struggles. They made me think about my own tendencies.

    • Thanks for your thoughts! I’ve been disappointed many a times in running, but there was always something to learn from it, so there was no discouragement, only determination to make it right with the next set of circumstances. I just found that with these long endurance events like 70.3 and beyond, I spent wayyyy too much time training (and having fun most of the time) to feel bad after a race. It wasn’t worth it to me, probably because I don’t do these events often enough. Of course, there’s always something to be learned 🙂 But next time, my goal will be to have fun and race hard, not a time.

  3. A very honest post and although I have never done tri’s, I can relate. Started off running for my health and enjoyment but in time that competitive spirit does engage. I started to lose the “joy of running”.

    Have transitioned into Ultra trail running. Each course is so unique and different. The only PR would be beating yourself on the identical race the year before. I love the trail races and am hooked! 🙂

    • Carl! So good to hear from you! Funny, I just ran 15 miles of an ultra relay on the trails on Saturday. I really like the difference and variety they provide, and I am planning to get into more trail running after I get my Boston finish. Gotta protect those ankles, you know! I’m so glad you enjoy the ultra trails. It seems so peaceful, the few times I’ve run them, and I look forward to more in the future!

      • That is so awesome. Each course with the trail races is always so varied. The relays like you ran I imagine would be very demanding. Some of my 50k races had relays. I would be pacing myself for 50k’s and the relay runners would “blast” past me. They just don’t want to let the team down. A friend of mine ran the 10k relay on “The North Face” and she threw up 4 times. Think I will pace myself out with the longer distances…haha.

        And all the best with Boston. It will come up very fast! 🙂

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