In Triathlon and Life – It’s All About the Pacing

Well, I’ve gone from a regular biweekly, blogger to something only heard of in lore and myth… :(

Life is incredibly busy. Well, it usually is for us all anyways, but this spring has been insane. INSANE!! Work is crazy, the personal life is crazy, and IRONMAN training is crazy. CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY. Everyone is going crazy!

Ahhh… deep breath. Woooosaaaaa…

As the air warms up and the sun stays out longer and longer each day, it brings a renewed hope and energy to the world. I trade in my flannel sheets for open windows at night, and my mugs of hot chocolate are switched out for cycling spandex and running shoes. The dog, however, stays firmly planted at the foot of my bed.

It’s a time of a clashing between personal, professional, and triathlon interests that are resulting in the Perfect Storm. It is perfectly chaotic, stressful, crushing, exciting, and adrenaline packed time to be me. I remember thinking I was stressed back in 2013 when I was wrapping up my MBA and getting ready for IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene. Oh, how times seem so much easier then. There isn’t really anything easy about my day-to-day routines. Limited sleep, multiple workouts, a minimum of five work meetings spread throughout the day, lunch at my desk just because I spent my lunch at the gym, and then off and away to take care of this, that, and the other thing, before landing in bed with a thump around 9:30, 10, or 11 at night. Talk about inconsistent.

“You would know pacing better than anyone.”

Pacing is an interesting subject, and one which I’ve written very little about. When you think of pacing you may think of a pace car in NASCAR events or the time it takes you to run a mile. Really, pacing is the combination of your ability to move forward while dealing with obstacles, hurdles, unexpected detours, and adapting to what is thrown into your path. Sometimes you may clumber along slowly, with scraped shins from your mountain bike pedals, and others you may zoom through life at a blistering pace aboard a jet airplane. However, you are always moving at “a pace.”

A pace is more than just a time, a goal, or something you set and just leave. It’s the overall balance of one’s life. Maybe you’re buried at work and now you have 3 hours of errands to run after so you take off 30 minutes early. Or perhaps you have 17 social events on the calendar for the week so you scrap them in favor of staying home with your dog watching Netflix. Maybe even it’s a matter of staying calm in a meeting because if you lose your cool, you’ll not only ruin the project but then you’ll just feel lousy the rest of the day. Other times you’re waist deep in an IRONMAN and you know that to survive a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a marathon that you can’t just go all-out. You need pacing, in both physical exertion and calorie intake. Let’s be clear, there is nothing “cool” about mile 127 and beyond in a 140.6 mile race…

Triathlon has taught me far more about my life than one may imagine. I look back to 2011 when a 70 mile race was far and it’s almost laughable. However, for that phase in my life, my “pace” was set to get me through the 70 mile race. Things evolve and change and now I’m at the point where I have to pace through a 10.5 + hour monstrosity. Perhaps one day I will do two IRONMAN events in one year… why not?

Some people have a pace that is crippling. They don’t sleep, they don’t take care of themselves, and the burn the midnight oil day after day. That is called being “American.” In all my years of reading, studying, and traveling in other cultures, Americans always come out as the ones who take care of themselves the least and don’t enjoy life for what it’s worth – living! The American pace is not a good one.

My pacing for 2015 is … intriguing. IRONMAN Canada beckons with a mocking call, one of the largest project priorities at work hammering with its expectations and energy needed, and oh yeah I’m helping my fiancé with a wedding. Whew. Good luck.

It’s Friday and I’m relieved and yet stressed. The weekends mean that I’m not at my desk for 40 hours but it also means that all that free time will be gobbled up with training, social things, chores (OMG MY PILE OF LAUNDRY), more training, and a sad attempt at catching up on sleep. What a great time to practice pacing!

Picture credit.



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