About two years ago I decided that I was done with triathlon for several reasons. We had lots of changes going on--sold our house and moved across town, my job was leading to more and more responsibilities, kid activities as they get older, etc. I also had several lingering injuries, the most annoying being my lower back. I've had problems with it literally since 8th grade, and it doesn't appreciate sitting on a leather bike seat rolling down bumpy roads for hours on 3/4" wide tires. Time commitments had become even more difficult. Cycling and running are generally easy enough to fit in, but swimming is a different issue. I was driving 20 minutes to get to the pool, swimming for an hour, and then driving another 20 minutes. Two hour lunch breaks don't work so well with the increased work responsibility. Finally, a lack of family participation made my triathlon addiction a very selfish activity.
All of these added up to poor, stressful, and inconsistent training which meant no improvement. A lack of motivation followed close behind.
What's changed? A lot.
After throwing my back out, again, I finally went to physical therapy. I am now religious about stretching, core, and hip strength exercises at least three times per week. The tightness is still there on the road bike, but the pain's a 2 out of 10 instead of a 5 out of 10. The flexibility and strength has led to gains on the run and on the bike.
We are finally settled in a new house, where we plan to be for a very long time. Across the street, there's a pool. A lap pool. There is literally a lap pool across the street.
My company bought a new office. There is a pool five minutes away, and a running path 2 minutes away. On the way to/from the office, I drive past two additional lap pools. Hmm.
The company has expanded, and I FINALLY have support staff working for me. My stress level has gone down significantly. Consulting is still stressful, but at least now I get to spread the stress around :)
Despite success at work, I was still restless. I am competitive and I need an outlet. This generally has to do with making myself suffer on the bike or on the run. I finally accepted that I need to be selfish from time to time for my own sanity. "We need to fix ourselves first before we fix others. Caring for yourself is not an act of self-indulgence, it’s an act of self-respect."
Here's the big one. We have become a triathlon family. In 2012, everyone in our family did a triathlon--except me. Rylie did two and now wants to join a swim team :) Shannon has now done two sprints. She doesn't have the competitive fire that I do, but she is having fun training and racing. We also joined Race Tucson, a local multisport group full of enthusiastic, fun people. We raced together two weeks ago, are again this weekend, and will again the following weekend.
After a year and a half without doing a triathlon, it was time for me to get started again. In fact I'd say I'm starting over. I think I'm doing it right this time. I'll post more of an explanation next time, but let's say that after a couple years training under Brian Grasky (with the Tricats), I had a pretty good idea what I should be doing. But, I didn't listen to myself. Now, I am, starting with a huge run build the second half of last year, and a swim build starting in January. So far it's working. Training PRs are flowing on a weekly basis, and my first race was a success--swim PR, run PR, overall PR, and 1st AG/9th OA in the Tucson Triathlon. Here we go. Next up is Leadman in Tempe and then St. George 70.3. Let's see what we can do!