I started this summer with a mix of excitement and dread. Excitement for all the training and races I was going to do; dread for the guilt I would feel training for them, taking time away from the family on warm weekends. But I resolved to focus on the fact that the training and racing made me a better mom when I WAS available, instead of making me a slightly resentful and distracted mom all the time.
So I chatted with my triathlete friends about the long-course tri (half-Ironman) I would do at the end of the summer. We talked about training together, and waking up early to get swims in before the kids woke up. It was all doable, except one thing was missing:
My heart just wasn't in it.
It took me a while to come to this conclusion. I'd convinced myself that I was putting off registering for the half-Ironman because I wasn't sure my husband would be OK with it. After he'd convinced me he would support me and take on Daddy duty during my long rides and runs, I realized I didn't feel relief; I felt anxiety. Why? Because there was no reason NOT to register now. No excuses.
It was then that I began to realize that I was considering the race for the wrong reasons. Yes, I felt some social pressure to do it, though no one intentionally pressured me. I also felt that after a year of doing Olympic-distance races, it was logical for me to take the next step (again) to the longer distance. Sticking with Olympics for two seasons straight was not considered "progress."
What I was lacking was an internal drive to race for 6 hours straight. I didn't light up at the thought of losing half of each Sunday to training rides, and that doesn't include recovery time on the couch. I didn't feel particularly excited about rising at 5am to swim because it was the only time I could find. I was nervous about the medical and physical therapy and massage bills that might start to stack up.
For the first time in a long time, I felt a strong desire to just enjoy summer.
This is not to say that I won't do a couple more Olympic triathlons this summer; I still love racing and training. I just don't have the energy or will to devote the hours and hours each week to training. Not this year.
Next year will be a different story. I turn the big 4-0, and I have big plans. When I figure out what those plans are, you will be the first to know.