I wake to a glorious sunny morning. I’d given up hope of it happening this week so I make the most of the opportunity to jump out of bed and go for a morning ride. It’s only been raining for a few days but it feels like a lifetime and I’ve missed my bicycle. I know it’s soft but I don’t like to cycle in the rain. I used to ride in all weather and light conditions when I used to cycle commute. But experience has taught me that drivers don’t seem to have much luck controlling their cars in the rain and I simply don’t want to come off second best in a competition with spinning steel.
The mornings are getting shorter now – it’s not light enough to ride without lights until 5:15am – so I decide to take a cruise around the Carbrook loop. This is one of my favourite rides anyway, so it works out well.
There’s not much traffic on the road and I’ve ridden through this scenery a million times so I let my mind wander. Mostly I ponder the similarities between the way I train for triathlon and the way I live.
I have a non-committal and haphazard approach to training. I don’t have any schedules or plans that I follow; nor do I think about the specific benefits I hope to gain from each session. I just go out and do what feels natural on the day. In fact, if anyone tries to tie me down to a training plan I rebel – even if the person trying to tie me down is me. I rebel by refusing to train or by doing a totally different session to the one I was scheduled to do. And so too is my personality in life – I don’t like structure or routine. They upset my natural rhythm. The only routine in my training is that I go to speed training on Tuesday morning because I enjoy the session but if it ever becomes routine I will simply stop going.
I am more concerned with enjoyment than with training hard. If I take a “long” ride I might work hard for the first half but I’m bound to find somewhere scenic along the way where I’ll slow down to the low twenties so that I can soak up the atmosphere. I like to put in just enough work to achieve my goals but don’t see the point in putting in too much more. That might sound lazy but I’ve been a champion and an A-student, and I’ve learned that no one really cares about your former glories. Sure, it’s nice to win accolades but I am much happier living with a smile on my face than with a grimace of effort. There’s something joyous about achieving small victories that come naturally. Sure, I get disappointed sometimes when I see my name at the bottom of the results sheet but I would be more disappointed if I started training so hard that I had no room for anything else in life or didn’t have time to cycle with my mum any more.
Thinking about my training and lifestyle helped me make some tough decisions about other aspects of my life. There are things I thought I’d like to try that I realise I’m not suited to because I don’t like routine. There are other things I enjoy doing right now but I can accept that nothing in my life is permanent and if I don’t do them forever that’s okay.
And then, after my serious pondering I find myself riding along the Redland Bay foreshore. I ride slowly to avoid crashing into pedestrians and joggers who are also out enjoying the sound of the king tide gently lapping at the rock walls that protect the mainland from inundation. The sun glints off the bay and I feel a sense of calm. I’m glad I am non-committal and relaxed about my training because I’d miss these little moments if I were pushing myself for results.
(Note: I’m not saying pushing yourself for results isn’t a noble cause – I’m just saying it’s not for me. I’m too happy enjoying life’s little pleasures. 🙂 )