Read all my weekly recaps of being a pro triathlete so far.
Last weekend, my mom visited. We picked her up in Reno and showed her Tahoe, while Steve raced. Then, we did the Marin things: Mt. Tam in the fog, Muir Beach, my favorite restaurants, ferry to a show in the city, trainer in the living room, the Toyota dealership. You know, the usual.
All of this meant that I didn’t even open my computer for four days. Crazy talk. Coming right out of training camp, it added up to almost two weeks where I was basically off the internet.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole branding thing. The idea that you have to be a brand. You can’t just be an athlete or a reporter or a person. If you want to be a professional, you can’t just train. You have to connect with your fans, tell a story, be approachable, whatever. Everything has to be filtered and curated and carefully chosen. If your workout isn’t on the social medias, did it even happen?
Wednesday, after I dropped my mom off at the airport shuttle, I ran never-ending 200s on the community college track. It was terrible, just like Leslie told me it would be, because you don’t get enough rest before you have to start again. There was a middle school class on the track too, doing timed races and watching me go back and forth. On one interval, while I was stumbling in between 200s about halfway done, one of the girl says, “Did you do The Ironman?” (since I was wearing a t-shirt). Me: *gasp, weave* Yeah. The girl’s all, “That’s awesome,” and I had time to gasp out “thanks.” Then, I started running again and heard her explaining what “the Ironman” was to her friends.
Friday, I was at the JCC, because I’m always at the JCC. I know all the lifeguards — though the staff is changing up to get ready for the summer season — and they were asking me about races, about training, about band swimming. Then the women in the lockerroom want to know if I’ve ever swum in the Bay, how do you even do that, where do you buy a wetsuit, what kind, do they need special equipment?
I think there’s a misunderstanding about how all these things really work. That you can track it all online. That the things that happen in real life, in person, don’t count.
I go through the Ferry Building in San Francisco a couple times every week, for work, for life. There are lots of good restaurants in the Ferry Building. (Like lots.) The first time I went to Gott’s there, it was because I had a gift card I’d won at a TriCalifornia event/panel and I knew they sponsored Emily and I’d met Sarah Gott a few times at triathlon things. Now, when I need to meet someone in the area of the Ferry Building, I almost always meet them at Gott’s and they’re always happy they remembered it’s there and then they’re more likely to go back.
This is how things work.
I’ve been thinking about all this a lot, because I am a professional athlete. Right? And the professional season is about to start. This time next week, I’ll be done with my first race of the year. Oceanside. I’ve also been in my head about it. A lot. Am I going hard enough, am I burying myself, am I making a good choice, what is my reason. You always have to have a reason when things get ugly. Basically, I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I also need to stop thinking a lot. I do better when I don’t post every workout on the internets, when I don’t get in Twitter fights, when I don’t try to live an Instagrammed version of life.
Not sure how to balance it all out.
On the weekends, after I finish workouts, I almost always end up laying on the couch with Tupac the Cat, watching TV and not doing anything productive what so ever. On Saturday, we watched A Knight’s Tale (fantastic movie); on Sunday, we watched basketball. I’m 100% sure my Cat Recovery Plan could be marketed to triathletes. You can’t get off the couch until the cat wakes up.
Anyway, I started using Strava for real, so you can follow me, but don’t tell me what you think about my workouts. I don’t care.