Sunday, February 5, 2012

Finish lines made of sand

Goal setting is a tricky business.  We all know people who have goals that seem a little beyond their abilities.  We feel sorry for them because they seem to have no self-awareness - or worse they don't seem to respect the sport. 

The other extreme are those who don't seem to even  have bothered to get in shape for a race, which are probably 90% of most races these days.  I'm actually a little jealous of those people.  I wish I could just sign up for a race, put in some training whenever I felt motivated, and be satisfied with covering the distance.  It would be far less stressful than 6+ months of training for one day; the weeks where training takes over my life - where days are split into "training" and "recovery".  The days when I don't have dinner - I have "nutrition replacement therapy."

Yes, that would be less stressful - but it would also be ultimately less enjoyable.  It would feel empty.  When I was 13 I signed up for a half-marathon - even though it was far beyond any distance I had run - I was just curious to see how fast I could do it.  I have that same feeling today when I sign up for a race.  And how do you know you've done your best until you push yourself within a hair's width of mental and physical exhaustion in training?  So, I guess I'm stuck setting up challenging goals and suffering through training when sometimes I'd rather be doing other things.

 If nothing else I know people come here for the mixed metaphors (diamond in a haystack).  The title of this post is about how we need to constantly reassess our goals to make sure they are realistic and ultimately how any goal is just a mental construct.  We give it meaning - it has no meaning on its own.  Finally, I disagree with the saying "there is no finish line" - it's not that there is one finish line, but there are many.  The goals we set might be meaningless - just like Sisyphus - the meaning comes from the struggle.

Last Week
Monday: 1 hour bike
Tuesday: 1 hour swim
Wednesday: 30 min run
Thursday: 1 hour bike
Friday: Day off
Saturday: 2 hour bike
Sunday: 1 hour swim and 30 min run
Total: 7 hours

This Week
Monday: 1 hour bike
Tuesday: 1 hour swim
Wednesday: 45 min run
Thursday: 1 hour swim
Friday: 2 hour bike & 30 min run
Saturday: 1 hour swim & 45 min run
Sunday: 1 hour bike
Total: 9 hours

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