Tales of Endurance 2/15/11

Okay, so last year I started a series of blog posts called “Tales of Endurance”, which was going to be the ongoing story of my return to racing after three years off following shoulder surgery and, um, let’s just say “life”, which is, to paraphrase John Lennon, what happens while we’re busy making other plans.  Since my last post I’ve started my own coaching business (which you may have noticed, since you’re visiting this website), and more recently, had a bit of a car crash. The crash happened two weeks ago; I was on my way to meet some friends for a ride, and a woman ran a stop sign and broadsided my car, totaling it in the process and sending me to the ER in the back of an ambulance on a stretcher and in a C collar.  Fairly scary stuff, and also not the best development with my first A race of the season looming just around over the horizon.  Still, I’m hoping that I’ll have enough time to get healthy, and fit, before Eagleman 70.3 rolls around on June 12.

In the meantime, I’ve had plenty of time to think about some things, mainly the importance of gratitude.  Seems like a funny thing to be thinking about after you’ve nearly been crushed by a 4000 pound SUV, but all the same, not being killed by said SUV does give one pause for thought.  As I was laying in the ambulance, staring at the ceiling (I couldn’t stare anywhere else because my head was immobilized), the one thought that kept going through my head was “Don’t give up, no matter what, don’t ever give up.”  I knew that no matter what, I was going to find a way to get back on track and keep working towards my goals.  Now, that may sound completely melodramatic considering that I didn’t end up in a wheelchair or anything like that.  But still, one’s mind races when being wheeled feet first into the ER.  Fortunately, my injuries, while painful, weren’t life threatening, and didn’t require surgery.  Well, not that I know of at this point.  

Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to gratitude.  I think that many triathletes, and people in general, tend to look at a lot of things in life as just one more chore.  Like working out.  We think to ourselves “Oh no, it’s cold and I have to go ride now”, or “I’d really rather just sleep another hour instead of going to the pool” (I’m especially guilty of this last one).  We rarely stop to think about how incredibly fortunate and priviledged we are to be able to do what we do.  I remember quite a few years ago at the World Championships in Perth, Australia, a friend of mine attended a seminar on women in sport.  She told me about a group of women from India who were racing and about the hardships that they’d endured in their training.  It was frowned upon in their community for women to participate in sport, and so they had to train in the middle of the night, often meeting at 2 or 3am in order to run or ride.  Just think about how much triathlon meant to them. Would you be willing to go run in secret under the cover of night if you had to?

So perhaps, instead of feeling like training is one more commitment, one more thing to check off of the day’s to do list, look at it as the priviledge that it is.  Next time you’re swimming, biking, or running, try to take a second to remind yourself how good it feels to be moving through the water, or to be sailing along the road with the wind in your hair and the sun shining on your face.  After my car accident, when the EMT’s were finally able to get me out of the wreckage of my car, the first thought that went through my mind as they loaded me onto the stretcher was how incredibly good it felt to be in the sunshine again.  So appreciate every single moment you have when you’re moving, breathing, and sweating.  You never know how long it will last.

Be safe, and train happy!