Thursday, September 9, 2010

Putting the Muse in Amusement

I am starting to see a trend. The more fun I have with training, the more I want to continue; the more inspired I become, the greater and deeper my motivation to succeed is. I am slowly accepting the fact that Elite Athlete I will never be (I know, it is a slower self-realization than it is for those around me). I am just one of many age groupers out there. One of many average athletes. I do have something going for me though. One of the few things that may set me apart from others in my age group is my desire to continue with this well into my old age. Why? Because I am having fun with it. The fun is what keeps me motivated. The ability to socialize and to share experiences with others that I train with is one of the main reasons why I do this. I still want to improve my skills, and initially that was enough to drive me forward, but lately I realize that training is just something to do to fill my spare time, and if it wasn't enjoyable, I probably wouldn't want to do it. After all, I am really not that good. And let me just be brutally honest with myself... I will never make a living as a triathlete.

Quick break to enjoy the view on the ride
Gina, Freebird, Coug, and "Hippy"
KoKo relaxing at the Brew Pub after the ride
Greek artists often relied heavily on their "Muses" for inspiration for their writing, music, and general creativity. These goddesses kept them focused and intent on their work. I am finding that my Muse is responsible for inspiring me to find ways to keep laughing and to keep working hard to put "fun" in my training. My Muse knows me well enough to know what will make me quit and walk away ~ never to return, so she fills my training with experiences that will keep me amused.

I am dependent on my friends and my training partners, and I have a voracious need for variety in my exercise regime in order to maintain my focus and interest on it. When I lose any of those elements, I lose a fraction of my desire to stay in the fight to maintain my fitness. I realize that from a true athlete's viewpoint my dependence on those external factors makes me "mentally weak". In some ways I care about being perceived this way, but in other ways I don't. I do want to be a stronger athlete and be able to succeed on my own, and to know that I can persevere without being reliant on those around me. But I also know who I am, and what drives me, and in general... why I am doing this.

Coug and Hippy
These past few weekends have helped to emphasize the point I am trying to make. We have had a lot of group training. We have been to St. Francisville and to False River. We have eaten sno-cones and feasted on beignets together. We've had some deep conversations and lots of laughs. This past Sunday a group of us went and rode 46 miles along the Tammany Trace and then stopped at the Abita Brew Pub and shared a meal and a beer afterwards. Last night a group of us ran the lakes together and then sat on the patio at the Bulldog and shared some more laughs while at the same time we planned our next adventures. Group swim on Friday? Lake Ponchartrain and Yacht Club next week?

ME and Here
These are the times I feel motivated and want to keep training. I finally feel I am an accepted part of a group of people who truly seem to care about me. These are my counselors, my sounding boards, and my inspirations. These are the ones I go to for parenting advice, marriage help, and personal guidance. These are the people who know more about me than anyone else... because they have made the effort to ask.

Focused exercise and training is important. Training independently is important. Being able to persevere and be self-sufficient is important. But honestly, do I really care if I drop 30 seconds off my run pace? Well, yes... it makes all the hard work worthwhile when I see positive improvements, but ultimately what is having more of an impact on my overall life ~ a 30 second improvement in my speed, or the training experiences and friendships that I have made along the way? I know that it can't always be just about having fun and that there will always be those long training days where I can't find anyone to work out with and I have to tough it through by myself. Those days are gratifying too because I always learn something about myself and how far I can push before I quit. But as an adult, this training has become a form of play for me, and play is always fun. Lose the fun and it is no longer play, it is called work. I work 40 hours during the week. I work at home raising kids. I work around the house. I work to keep my van running. I just really really want to play now.

Who wants to come play with me?

1 comment:

  1. I'm in! I'm in! Coug, I will always be here to play with you, as long as you'll have me. Keep dragging me, and I'll keep pushing long as you don't keep the Excedrin Migraine from me. Then you are dead to me. D-E-D dead.