Pain And Pleasure And Suffering Through Triathlon

June 28, 2023

Here we are, another day. I check my Training Peaks to see what workout I am to do today. Swim? Bike? Run? Brick? long? short? Do I get a day off ever?

I am one month away from my very first Half Iron Man In Salem, Oregon and I am not ready physically, mentally or emotionally. I look at strava and my fitness has trended downward by 3% this month. How is that possible? I mostly cut out sugars and starchy carbs. I have been suffering headaches and brain fog and walk around like a damn zombie after my workouts.

My workouts have been slowly getting longer and faster. My swim average has gone down about 10 seconds per 100 yard in the past six months. My run form has improved dramatically and I don’t look so much like a hunched over old man shuffling along (to be fair I won’t be mistaken for a Kenyan any time soon). I am told by my girlfriend and mother (not at all biased opinions) that I look way more fit. Yet, I did a race this weekend and my swim was slower than my first triathlon in Sand Hollow a month and a half ago, my body rebelled against me and cramped up, and my run was shit.

I know you get bad days and bad races. I know sometimes you don’t rest enough, eat the right combination of nutrients, reduce stress, hydrate, etc..but it doesn’t stop my stupid lizard brain from over-thinking it and spiraling down into despair. Any athlete, amateur or pro, has been through the ups and downs of racing.

Sometimes, almost daily, I ask myself why I do this? My ski buddies give me shit about my training and choice of summer sport:

What, you trying to be the fastest old guy?”

In all honestly triathlon, marathon, ultra-running, Xterra, and any endurance sport that attracts the masochists and fitness freaks of the world is my kind of event. I love the extreme personalities, the camaraderie, and being close to the people that are the top of their game. I don’t look at any of these races as something I am going to win. Yes, maybe a podium at a local event in my age category, but I am brutally aware of my age and fitness level. Time is a real bitch, and even though my brain still thinks I am 32, my body says “NOPE”. Yet, despite my laissez-fair attitude towards racing there has to be a line where I dig deep, focus, get the eye of the tiger and go for my own personal gain.

Everyone has a “Why”. Mine is simply that I want to push my body and see what it can do. To explore the pain and see where my mind goes. To see how I fight through it. To see how the body responds to adversity, and mostly to experience it. Just live through it and experience it. Because, man, just going to the gym and lifting weights and jogging with no goals in mind is fuckin boring as hell. No thank you. Been There Done That.

So, for whatever reason you find yourself wanting to learn an instrument at 40, or take up surfing at 50, and some nay-sayer starts giving you shit that you are too old, that you will never win anything or be a rock star, tell those people to eat a bag of dicks.

This is your life, you live it however you want to. Ask yourself: When you are on your deathbed will you be happy with the choices you made or sad that you went with the status quo so you don’t look “foolish” to some asshole who hates themselves and are jealous that you are trying something new?

Be Brave Enough To Suck At Something.

Written by Corey Smaller Follow me on Instagram