When Showing Up Isn't Enough
A little before 8:00 AM as I made the right turn, I saw them standing at the corner of the track. My teammates. Even though I'd racked up a little under seven hours of sleep, I was still exhausted. And even though there was no wind to provide further bite to the 28 degree (Fahrenheit) wind chill I was still miserably cold.
But at track, excuses and feelings are never invited to partake in the camaraderie and disciplined workouts. They have no place, and are not ever rendered an opportunity to voice their mouthy dissent.
Track practice every Sunday isn't just about getting faster, it's about getting stronger. Physically and mentally. Over the past six years of my triathlon journey, I have been incredibly fortunate to train with athletes who are far better than me. While that means, I'm often close to the back or last, their speed, knowledge, form and skill bleeds into my speed, knowledge, form and skill. Because I train with the wicked fast and efficient, I in turn become faster and more efficient, not so much on the 'wicked' front though.
But Sunday, I wasn't having any of that "rah, rah, push harder" crap. I was tired. I bickered with myself to drive past the discomfort. I bargained with my tight lungs, still on the mend from the previous week's upper respiratory infection. But that wasn't enough. It wasn't enough to keep me pushing to keep my legs turning, to focus my mind on anything but the discomfort.
It just wasn't enough.
Looking at my speed and heart rate after the fact, it looks like I put the required effort in, but looks are too often deceitful to the uninformed onlooker.
I showed up, but showing up wasn't enough. I went through the motions, but I know there could've been, should've been more of me poured out on that chilly 400-meter oval of soul-killing; speed-forging; lung-sucking red crushed rubber sealed in polyurethane. I know that.
But the truth is, these days come, we bear the discomfort and personal disappointment and we move on. In case you missed the last three words of the previous sentence, here they are again for emphasis: WE MOVE ON.
When showing up isn't enough, we stay until it's time to go. Then we shake off the dust and stank of a job poorly done, and move on.
And with that, I move on.