As I was outside this weekend for my long Saturday ride, probably somewhere around the sixteen-thousandth pedal revolution, I said to myself, “self, this triathlon stuff can really be terribly lonely” at times: Weekday trainer rides staring at my Wahoo App’s smorgasbord display of numbers, early morning swims looking at the bottom of the pool wondering why the clump of hair always seems to gravitate to my lane, evening runs where all I can think about is dinner and bed and work the next day, and weight room sessions where I am surrounded by dudes lifting six times as much and wondering why that triathlon guy is doing another set of “old-lady” hip-flexor extensions.
However, just as I was working through the feelings of how this triathlon stuff can be a really solitary undertaking, I had a sensation of gratitude come over me as I thought back six or seven years prior when life was dismal, alone, and a whole lot of lonely.
Granted, triathlon training is a lot of time spent alone. But it is through the alone time that we really learn about ourselves: our greatest challenges and areas in which we excel. It also allows us to appreciate our support network of family, coaches, and friends to help us along the way, teaching us how to continually improve ourselves in our training, in dealing with situations at work, and in our relationships. For me, training alone is a chance to center myself, work through the “demons,” and come out more resilient, fitter, and happier.
I think it really comes down to a matter of perspective and choice. I can choose to focus on the fact I’m alone and have another hard set to do in the pool, hour to ride on the bike, or interval to do on the run. Alternatively, I can embrace the fact I’m alone and have the privilege of doing all this amazing stuff. And after it’s done, I have the joy of returning home to relax with my fantastic wife and a pretty
cool mediocre dog.