What If I Forget How to Win?

Here is a list of some things that have happened since the end of the last triathlon season:

  • I had that EP Study and procedure done to figure out what’s wrong with my heart
  • I then had a bad reaction to it and started having atrial flutter episodes, like, all the time, which (in case you were wondering) suck
  • I spent December depressed and contemplating if I was going to have to quit everything
  • Once I started training again, I got insanely bad food poisoning and threw up for 12 hours
  • Also, I passed out from the throwing up and gave myself a concussion
  • I got it together and then a couple days before the 50K Snoop Lion scratched me and I needed two stitches
  • The heavy antibiotics they put me on also messed up all my bacteria and I went on some more meds
  • Oh, and now it turns out I’ve had a cracked tooth since the beginning of January, ever since I got a filling done that went badly

And somewhere in there Tupac got sick twice and had to go to the emergency vet, and the car broke down on my way to work. And, honestly, it all starts to feel like a lot, you know?

At the end of last year, I said I wanted to have more fun and do some more random stuff this winter. And even with everything, I kind of have. I bought one of those class packs for the Crossfit “box” here (and everyone needs to stop violently hating on Crossfit — like, whatever, don’t be stupid about it and it’s perfectly fun in the off-season and can even be useful). I finished the 50K. I raced a half-marathon without really being in any way prepared for it. And then this past weekend I did a cross-country ski race because Steve was doing the longer more competitive race and he convinced me to do the one-lap 15K.

It was not amazing. Turns out I don’t really know how to skate ski that well, since I’ve only ever taken one lesson. I can sort of muscle my way through, but I don’t actually know what I’m doing. And after a bit over an hour I lost even the minor ski ability that I have. I started falling and then I was essentially hiking. With skis on.

The thing is though, with everything that’s gone wrong and with all these random “races,” it’s really easy to sort of give yourself an out. You can still be trying really really hard, but honestly what’s the point in going that extra bit to completely kill yourself for the difference between last and second-to-last in something you don’t even care about. And now I’ve entertained so many random whims I’m starting to worry I’ve dulled any killer edge I once had.

What if I forget how to win?

I know this sounds like one of those pseudo-intellectual wisdom nuggets people are always dropping on Twitter, but it’s a real thing. You have to remember how to tap the well, dig deep, whatever your phrase of choice is. And, for me, remembering not to give up can be hard.

So, anyway. I’m concerned. It’s all been a lot. And I’ve been dragging ass emotionally. But I also know there’s nothing to really do about it but the work and if you do the work then you’ll be ready and eventually it’ll come around. And I always do the work, whatever Hillary puts on the schedule. And the swimming and biking have started to come back around. So we’ll see. First triathlon is Escape Surf City at the end of April to get ready for…WILDFLOWER!

Oh, and I’m racing a Spartan Race this weekend. Naturally. But I promise to try my hardest, or at least the hardest I can try without the risk of breaking a leg being too high.

3 thoughts on “What If I Forget How to Win?

  1. Good luck at Spartan this weekend! I’ve slowly transitioned away from triathlon (for a bunch of reasons I won’t bore you with) and have moved toward trail running/OCR/ninja warrior competitions and have been having a blast with them. I think it’s great that you have that mindset where you’re just letting yourself have a little fun right now outside of strictly triathlon training, otherwise it’s too easy to get burnt out.

    (…and despite not really doing as much in the way of triathlon anymore, I still keep reading your blog, because it’s my favorite. I’ve been following along for about two years now because I love the brutally honest insight into what it’s like for you as an elite and ever-improving athlete. If you ever make your way back to Ironman Wisconsin to defend your title, I’ll make sure I’m there to cheer you on 🙂 )

    1. Hey! OCR/mud runs/etc are so much fun. I keep thinking maybe when I’m done like being serious at triathlon, I’ll really learn how to do the hard grip ANW-style obstacles and train for Spartan, it’d be interesting.

      And, thanks! I’m trying to convince the husband to do IM Wisconsin this year, so 🙂

  2. This bit of writing was so good, as is so much of your work. “It was not amazing. Turns out I don’t really know how to skate ski that well, since I’ve only ever taken one lesson. I can sort of muscle my way through, but I don’t actually know what I’m doing. And after a bit over an hour I lost even the minor ski ability that I have. I started falling and then I was essentially hiking. With skis on.”

    Anyone that has CC skied and tried skating before they’re good can relate, for sure. I once fell on the side of the trail. A bunch of good skiers came up behind me. I rolled over and looked up at them. Snow was packed under one lens of my sunglasses.

    “You okay?” they asked. I am pretty sure I looked like I was partly dead.

    What a tough winter you’ve had. I had c.diff after our cat nipped my hand. That led to cellulitis, and drugs for that, and then my gut bacteria got messed up. More AB to cure that. So I feel for you.

    And yes, you do still know how to win. Your perseverance through all this proves it.

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