Standing on the muddy bottom of Steamboat Lake this weekend, I found myself wondering why I choose to spend repeated weekends swimming circles around some lake. Oh yeah, I like doing this! I have definitely had some waning enthusiasm last week about racing and training. But I was pretty certain that I would have a different perspective once I finished this race. And I do, thank goodness.
After being kicked off the picnic table by my sister for talking too loud before the race (apparently a nervous habit), I ran in circles and did some yoga. I can never figure out how to warm up properly for these things. The rule-bound part of me feels the need to listen to the pre-race directions, while the logical part of me tells me to warm up. I listened to the rule-bound part of myself, and then did a few quick sprints in the water before our wave started, if for nothing else than to get my feet out of the crawdad-infested mud.
Overall, the race course was a tough one. There were a lot of hills on the bike, and one spirit-crushing one on the way out of transition on the run. Without knowing for sure, I sensed that an age-group place finish went out the door as a quick woman with “36” (her age) on the back of her leg galloped past me on the way up that hill. She actually even pulled off to go to the bathroom and still crushed me. What was important for me to remember was that I was here for fun, for myself, and to learn about my desires, limits, and capabilities.
Racing as an adult is much different for me than as a kid and teenager. Too often as a kid, I believed that I “had” to race, or that I “had” to swim. We did it because there wasn’t any good reason not to do it, and everyone else was doing it, so I just did it. Part of the reason I started to play water polo in high school was so that I could get away from racing. Now I find myself racing again, and I can appreciate it more because I am choosing to do it. So when the motivation wanes like it did last week, I remember that I am here of my own free choice. And if I want to stop, I can, and if I don’t want to do a race, I can do that too. No coach is standing here making me swim the 200 fly or 100 breast ever again, whether for points, places, ribbons, or trophies. I am my own free agent, which is motivation enough for me.
Steamboat Lake Sprint 2012
.5 mi swim/12.4 mi.bike/3.5 mi. run