It's no secret, since I constantly blab about it, that this year I have been sort of in a mid-life crisis. These last few weeks the crisis has been rather acute. I feel like a teenager--and, well--I've sort have been acting like one. But one good thing about the teenage years is that the desire to live life to the fullest and have fun is sort of a constant. I want to tap into that more. I know it's the reason I train and do triathlon. Triathlon is a game. It's play. It's a social outlet. It's a release. It provides me with a goal and a purpose.
However, triathlon can become, like everything else if you let it, a chore.
For me it becomes most chore-like when it's all about the training and the end result of one big race. It's generally fun to get caught up in the how-to's of training and the big race. We work on nutrition, on mindset, on the key workouts, on racing at the right time, for the right reason, at the right intensity-- all in service to the mother fucker of all goals that particular season--the A Race.
And that's fun.
Until it's not.
I believe I am a great athlete with a huge appetite for hard work and an ability to excel. (Well, I believe that usually. or maybe sometimes. okay, in theory I believe it.) I believe that if I execute my season as I should I will come out on top--whatever that may mean for me.
But I won't/can't/don't want to totally sacrifice the fun for the ultimate goal. I love to race, and NO, I'm not going to give that up because I may be a 1/2 hour faster at IM if I do. I also love food and drink (like cake, and pizza, and beer, and a nice stiff drink every once in awhile), and I also love to just take the day off sometimes and sit on my ass, and I also love to chit chat in the pool sometimes instead of moving on immediately to the next set, and sometimes I'd rather just run with my buddies at an average pace then do the workout as prescribed.
But here's the rub.
I need to have fun. I deserve to have fun.
I can't be a total and complete slave to a goal that doesn't allow me to suck joy out of every part of life--the training buddies, the racing, the food and drink, the party, sitting on my ass watching movies with my kids...
Working hard and committing to a killer goal like doing IM and doing it well is a form of sucking joy from life. But if you let it, I believe it can also suck the joy from you and leave you empty.
This is what my mid-life crisis has taught me so far.
Among other things.