The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now.
I will leave out my thoughts on Ironman Texas 2018, the race, both the positive and negative. Instead I want to talk about my relationship with triathlon over the last couple years. Aside from my relationship with my wife and my career, triathlon is the longest running activity I have engaged in in my life – this August it will be 15 years that I have been doing triathlons. It isn’t surprising that it has had it’s ups and downs.
What I have struggled with these last two years +- is that it “started” with a great race and then fed into a series of poor performances, poor training and increasing frustration. There have been a number of contributing factors:
- Layoffs at work in 2017 = stressful work environment
- Assignment to a new team/project at work getting to do awesome stuff = Very engaging job
- 3 young children = Crazy Train
- Paradoxical downward self-feeding cycle of triathlon related events = Very little excitement about training or racing.
The truth is in terms of life overall I can’t say that I have ever been more happy, but in terms of my pursuit of triathlon I have been incredibly unhappy, to the point where after Ironman Wisconsin last fall I contemplated if I really wanted to do another triathlon.
Early this year I signed up for Ironman Texas, ostensibly to get a Kona slot for this fall, which incidentally didn’t happen, but even after signing up I didn’t change my level of engagement or behaviors. My engagement was so low that at one point my wife actually questioned if going to race Texas was the right thing to do.
- Could I really have a race that would contribute to changing the direction that triathlon was going in my life?
- Was I going to enjoy myself?
- Was it fair to my family to make this solo trip without a chance of accomplishing the original purpose of it?
If I’m honest about it, the answer to all those questions at the time of the conversation was likely no, but for whatever reason I could not just not do a race that I had signed up for. It was as if I needed to do the race to tell myself what I needed to do.
In the lead up to the race I was excited and nervous about it – was I going to enjoy myself, would it be a positive day?
In the end the race was not great in an absolute sense but I had fun and for the first time in over two years I enjoyed myself and was 100% engaged the entire race. It’s probably a bit premature to say that my love of triathlon is back and the furnace is roaring, but yesterday was a huge step in the right direction and I’m excited to see if I can rekindle it and find out if I can return to my level of fitness that I had just a handful of years ago.