The battle of fun vs. serious.

A thing I learnt very early on in my adventure, is that there are certain types of triathlonites.

Those that do this for fun. And love training (and sometimes hate it at the pointy end). And those who take this all a bit *too* seriously….

I am all for the fun. I wanted to enjoy this journey. And overall, I really truly have. I think I take it the ‘correct amount of’ seriously. Seriously enough to know that my body needs to be ready to travel 70.3 miles in under 8 hours under it’s own steam. Seriously enough to know that endurance comes with risks. Seriously enough to know that mechanical failure on the day could be game-over. But with enough of a sense of fun to know that I get to race in the most beautiful place in the world (biased) and my mates are racing too.

I see social media types slating each other for over and under training. Really, your training is no-ones business but your own. You can ask for advice, but the beauty of it all is that you can choose what suits you. Everyone is different. You can read as many books and blogs as you like, but ultimately, it is your responsibility to know your limits and train your body to reach the distance and, most importantly, to survive it.

The keyboard warriors in triathlon forums love to belittle middle distance if they’ve done a full. And if you’re reading this and you’re guilty of a humble-brag while trying to condescendingly “encourage” someone doing a half, then kindly jog on. Because everyone starts somewhere. And, can I just remind you that 70.3 miles is still a long fecking way?!

Last week on a train, I met a condescending humble-bragger. Well. I didn’t really meet him. He pushed his way into me and my pal’s conversation. Twice. Until I finally gave in and said “oh, I suppose you’re like a 10 time Ironman then…”

*smug face* “Actually, just three.”

“Oh really? Which ones?”

“Just Zurich, Roth and Barcelona”

“That’s nice”.

He also offered some completely incorrect advice on how to fix my bike while my bestest pal giggled beside me.

I could picture him sitting at home bashing his keyboard frantically as he leaves yet another patronising comment on someones innocent facebook post asking about seat position or tyre pressures. “When I raced at Zurich blah blah blah…”

I should clarify that I think anyone who has pushed themselves to cover 140.6 miles even ONCE is a bloody amazing human, but take it easy on those who maybe haven’t learnt all of the lessons yet…

This has all been fuel to my latest issue:

Last weekend, I blogged about The Fear and it’s affect on my mentality while I was out with a bad back. Little did I know that the tickly throat I went to work with on Monday morning would become full-blown Rage Virus by 5pm and I’d be out for 4 more days with snot pouring out of me and no ability to hear or smell.

It’s been fun…

The snot finally began to leave on Thursday when I’d had enough of moping about feeling sorry for myself and took the Mountain Bike for a spin. Snot Rockets a-plenty. I’m still riddled with mucus, but it’s getting better slowly. I plan to listen to my body and keep this fecker away from my chest with gentle exercise until I’m not breathing like a sex pest anymore.

Of course, The Fear has multiplied while I’ve been sick. My brain is trying to tell me I cannot do this. I can’t train enough. I won’t be ready.

70.3 miles is a long way. The distance should absolutely be respected. And the training involved is crucial. I’ve had discussions with non-sporty types who cannot get their heads around the training (to be fair, neither can I). So you train 15-20 hours a week? But you’re not competing? So why?? Why not just train a little bit?

Several reasons.

– I may not be competing but I don’t want to be shit.

– Endurance is very hard on your body.

– What’s the point in doing anything half-assed?

Endurance. Is. Hard.

And here’s my problem. The whole reason I signed up for all this was to have fun and get fit. I’ve become fit. Very fit, in fact, in comparison to the lardy-Bean of 2012. I can run for 13.1 miles without stopping, you know.

But I’ve lost the love a bit. It’s been replaced by a kind of pressure that makes me want to lie by the side of the road and throw a monumental hissy-fit.


I’m torn between resting and training, knowing full well that training through illness could impede my progression and continued improvements by making myself more poorly for longer. But. Am I actually sick? I have a bit of a tickly cough in the mornings. Is that the cold moving into my chest? No. It’s clearing the crap that’s run down my throat during the night. And the tickly cough after a ride or a run is the same thing.

Am I therefore making excuses?

Much like this blog, my brain is a very disjointed, confusing place to be at the moment. I’m down. I’m pale. I’m so damn tired all the time. I’m fed up of not quite being where I want to be.

I know things will improve. Very happily it looks like Stella is basically ready to climb some hills now. I just need to make sure that I’m ready too. I will continue to train where I can.

But the reality is that yes. This is fucking hard work. This isn’t supposed to be easy. I didn’t do this “for a laugh”. I did this so that I could get fit and enjoy it.

My mission is to ease back into training and re-kindle my love for each discipline. Right now, I feel like cycling needs to get me good and drunk to remind me that it’s fun… It’s been a long time since running was my favourite but so far, my trainers haven’t tried to kill me…

2 thoughts on “The battle of fun vs. serious.

  1. It’s an interesting thing, in life generally I don’t take myself too seriously (least I don’t think so…), but around things I enjoy socially – sport mainly – I take things far to seriously.

    Why? I hate doing badly against my goals and expectations. Goals and expectations that I’ve usually considered well before setting.

    For me longer the sport duration, greater the training required, greater the dedication…..and with it comes a pile of seriousness (worry, fret, time planning etc.).

    What you may be feeling is crossing the line between I can do “x” and not take event or training too seriously…..and into some higher dedication required.

    Dedication that makes you think maybe not that extra wine, mars bar, candy floss etc. This approach certainly can take enjoyment out of almost anything.

    On race day all I can tell you is despite all my planning to the contrary, I always race “in the moment”

    At Outlaw Half last year it was “don’t knock my goggles off” in the swim, on the bike a constant “am pushing too hard” and on the run “don’t remember 13.1 miles feeling this long”

    Outlaw other weekend was dominated my wind, rain, not falling off bike on every wet corner and wishing my brakes worked better.

    If you find an answer to being serious about fun stuff, I’ll be first in queue to hear it….

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