As my training for Kona is winding down, I’m having more and more time to think about the experience thus far. I saw Chrissie Wellington out training yesterday. She was coming down the hill I was about to head up and she gave us a shaka. She was bundled up all warm, just like me, and it suddenly hit me. She and I, we are both training for the biggest race of our lives. She and I will be floating up to the same starting line, looking at the same coral, biking the same road, and running identical stretches of molten hot Kona asphalt. She and I are dressed warm to prepare our bodies for the heat, and she and I both have 16 days to go.
Last year representing Team USA and traveling to Australia to compete in the Olympic Distance World Championships was really awesome, and Clearwater 70.3 World Championships was a spectacular experience for me as well. But this, this has blown that out of the water. Kona really is the big dance of triathlon, and just the experience of training for it in Boulder, amongst lots of professionals who are headed to the same event as their numero uno race of the year has taken on a whole new level of coolness for me. I know Kona comes around once a year, as does every other race, but this year I feel like I am “involved” and “included” in what really is triathlon’s biggest TO DO. It’s the race that defines our sport, and year after year, it’s the race that shows us the depth of the human condition, of man and womans ability to excel and also their ability to simply continue moving forward. And this year, I am a part of that, and I feel so lucky.
Last night Troy and I were talking about the concept of sacrifice and you know, I think the best athletes don’t really have this word in their vocabulary.
[sak-ruh-fahys] noun, verb
the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
Troy said something very Yoda (as he often does). He said that with everything in his life whether it’s work, family, or personal he tries to not make sacrifices, instead he makes lifestyle changes. To sacrifice something means it’s gone, you are doing away with it, in order to chase something else. I asked him if he thinks things like “Let’s just get through Kona, and then….”. His answer was “no”. He said that he takes every week and tries to get through it in a way that is repeatable.
And I really do agree. It makes me sad to think that Kona will come and go and that it may mean that I don’t get to train like a pro on Wednesdays anymore. I love my Wednesdays, I love the level of work and fun that I put into the sport and the training right now. I’m not “getting through” every day, I’m loving every day, and wishing that every week could be like these last weeks have been.
It’s become my lifestyle and I don’t see the changes that have been made as sacrifices. It’s just been a shift. Like going from a 2 car family to a 1 car family. It’s not like we sacrificed a car. We just decided to do away with it, so life would be better. And that’s “better” in our little view of life, not meant to judge others in any way. Everyone has to find their own “better”.
Troy brought up the example of taking actuary exams (about the same amount of study time is spent studying for an actuary exam as is spent training for Kona, 20-30hrs/wk). He said he knows a couple who sacrificed their communication with each other for the exam studying. She took care of exerything and he studied. And the problem was, after the test was over, the communication was still gone. If you sacrifice important things in the short term for long term success, you might not be able to get those things back…ever.
So, I guess my point here is that being successful at triathlon, or test taking, or whatever, I’ve learned that it’s important to create a life, and to sacrifice nothing that you may want back later. The way I see it, do not put things on the back burner that you aren’t willing to burn. Find a way to have everything you want in your life on the front burners.
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
As Pre said, don’t sacrifice your gifts in life. Don’t put aside the relationships and financial security that you have built. Create a life that looks how you would like it to and put aside the word “sacrifice”.
Just some thoughts. 16 more days!