Really the LAST thing I should be doing right now is writing a post.
It's the day before Thanksgiving. I should be hitting the grocery store, packing up my kids' stuff so we can travel to Maine this afternoon, writing my athlete schedules and making sure they are all set for the weekend, or completing my assigned bike workout.
But I'm not doing those things.
I'm drinking coffee and writing.
In case you're wondering, this is a good example of poor allocation of time. It is also a good example of defiance, and how defiance can really screw you even if it feels right in the moment.
Which brings me to my next topic:
I recently purchased a coffee table book by Bob Babbitt entitled 30 Years of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship. In the forward, Babbitt discusses Julie Moss's famous finish in 1982 when she collapsed meters from the finish line, but still managed to claw and crawl her way to the finish. "Her finish proved once and for all that Ironman might be a race," Babbitt writes, "but in the end the struggle was strictly personal and that eventually it would come down to you against you. How bad do you want it? That is the Ironman's bottom line."
Many of you who read this blog want it.
And you want it bad.
It's hard to articulate where or why the want is present, but it's urgent and powerful, and it creates a formidable drive that people on the "outside" cannot understand.
In Babbitt's example the implication is that you must want it, like Julie Moss did, DURING the race. This is true. Ironman is not for the faint of heart. Executing an Ironman requires a focus and will that is unrelenting. What Babbitt doesn't get at, however, is that that focus and will must be present for months and months--even years leading up to the race.
I'm not telling you anything you don't know. You already know that you have to want it BAD in order to train for and complete an Ironman. What is more difficult to see is the ways in which many of us, with our focus and wills of steel, thwart the very thing we ostensibly want most.
Yesterday Kurt shot me an email. It contained only one line:
HAVE YOU BEEN SCREWING WITH MY WORKOUTS???
Truthfully, I had not actually been screwing with his workouts. I had simply ADDED workouts. Kurt often has his athletes take this Thanksgiving week off. I had workouts slated for Monday through Thursday, but no workouts assigned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Last week I was sick for several days and missed a bunch of my workouts as a result. I hate missing workouts, and those free days just beckoned to me. You can make those sick days up! Just add them in this weekend! Voila!
That did not make Coach very happy. Clearly. Hence the email. I had not yet actually screwed with the plan, but I was planning to screw with the plan, and I wasn't even trying to make a secret of it.
What seemed perfectly logical--even dedicated-- to me, was met with frustration and exasperation on his end. In his words, "I will say it again-- this time of year is the most frustrating for me.
Athletes think about their mental state on November 23rd and disregard
their 2012 prep and race prep."
Well, there you have it.
How bad do you want it?
Do you want it so bad that when your coach says to take three days off, you TAKE THREE DAYS OFF?
Do you want it so bad that when you are told to keep a workout easy, you actually keep it easy?
Do you want it so bad that when asked to do three repeats you only do three and not five?
Do you want it so bad that you don't log extra miles, and those keep those miles a secret from your coach, your spouse, your workout log?
Do you want it so bad that you are willing to trust your coach and have faith in his/her plan?
Something to think about--
from one will of steel to another.