Monday, June 4, 2012

LOST: fun, fitness, and confidence. FOUND: motivation.

hey kids.

Thanks for letting me have my triathlon temper tantrum. I fell in love with a sport that burned me...physically, mentally, emotionally, and yeah, let's not forget financially. Back in October, I was so angry and frustrated with everything that I had to leave. I felt like I had given so much to this sport for 4 years, and for what? Races would get cancelled. A car got in my way. I felt fat all the time. I got so much anxiety about what people thought of me, that I couldn't even swim properly at half my races. I was too paranoid and self-conscious to train with other people. Prize money rules kept changing. I stopped getting faster.

It took me this long to realize I have been giving myself a ginormous pity party of sorts, only I didn't even know it. I was angry, I was upset, I was depressed. I wasn't having fun any more. Training was a slog. I didn't want to swim, bike, or run, but I "had to" swim, bike, and run, because it was my job. You might think this all just started after the car crash at Ironman Korea, but much of it has actually festered since the winter after the greatest sporting year of my life, the pro debut of 2009. It only grew worse and worse as time went on.

I got tired of the travel, of never having a real home. I got tired worrying about money all the time, and if I was gonna "make it". I got tired of feeling like a stupid, worthless human being (since I was not working). I got tired of team politics. I got tired of getting yelled at over email (getting yelled at in person was fine) and being told I would amount to nothing if I didn't do X, Y, Z. And it's only now I realize I put off going back to a real job for so long, because I was told that I could never be a really great triathlete if I wanted to hold down a real job...even part-time. And that at the same time, I was told I would never be able to make a real living out of the sport even if I did everything I could.

Oh, the hypocrisy.

I built up a wall of anger and hate and hurt, and I thought if I could just (race)walk away, I could ignore it. Maybe it would just go away. I wasn't having any fun any more, my confidence was weakened, then of course 6-7 months after I just stopped training completely, my fitness was gone too.

Motivation has begun to come back. I went to the Challenged Athletes Foundation run clinic in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago, which is always fun and puts things in perspective. This was where I met my current boss a year ago (well, it was in NYC last year), when I was still a full-time athlete, and contributed to my decision to finally leave teamTBB. This year, I went as a prosthetist-orthotist with 3 co-workers, and 4 of our patients. I finally got to meet Scout Bassett. Motivation.

she makes me look gigantic.

I bought Macca's book "I'm Here to Win" when it came out last year, back in September, before the shit hit the fan and I got completely disenchanted with triathlon. I didn't actually finish the book until last week. One of the final chapters I missed, "A Goal is a Dream with a Plan," touched a nerve. Motivation.

Then I ordered Chrissie's book "A Life Without Limits" and finished it over the weekend. It is one word...SPOOKY. In other words, creepy, gave me chills, creepster. Perhaps I'll go into more details later. Let's just say I could write a Wongstar version of the same book, and just substitute "world champion" for "triathlon superstar".

Speaking of Wongstar and superstars, I changed the title of the blog again. After my last post, Mr. Tritwins send me a nice message on how being "Wongstar" could mean whatever I wanted it to mean. So I started thinking up a good acronym for the "S.T.A.R." part of "Wongstar". And now I am a "sandbagger triathlete adjusting to real life." Brilliant! The picture is of me racing the last Ironman I ever did as an age grouper, dressed up as SuperGirl at IM Canada in 2006.

It's been almost 2 months since I started training again. I can now do a 3-hour bike more or less in the aerobars and not feel totally whupped afterwards. I can run slowly for 90mins, after some shin issues from trying to switch to flashy lightweight shoes (give it up already). I could swim 45mins easily, but the 90min swim practice with my local Tri-Dawgs club on Saturday kicked my butt. The torn quad injury has gotten better the more that I've trained. I don't even notice it.

Best of all, I am having fun again. I am feeling motivated. I am even thinking I want to be fast again. But I'm not giving up my day job. No freakin' way. Hence the "sandbagger" title. Women of W30-34, beware. I am reclaiming my fitness one of these days, and wherever my confidence went, I will find that too...

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