Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yeah, But Are You Healthy?

Is triathlon growing?  Are races growing?  Who qualified for what?  Who has an Ironman tattoo and on what cheek?  Who beat whom on the third repeat of 400s at masters swimming?  Facebook and Twitter statuses proclaiming "epic" training sessions and "great sessions".  Wonderful all.

Are you healthy?

While the younger triathlon crowd enjoys their "iron fever" - the I'lldoanythingjusttofinishanIronmanandputatattooonmyassbecause'everyone'isdoingit crowd.  The athletes who have more than a few races (and some with a larger understanding) have figured out that racing, just like life, is a marathon - super, ultra marathon at that.  This is a lifestyle and not a "one and done" adventure.

Just because you can... doesn't mean you should.

I have a good friend who tries to get me to enter an Ironman every year.  He's nuts.  "You can finish it.  What are you worried about."  My standard response is, "I have finished an Ironman.  Five times.  I know I can finish.  That isn't the question.  When I go back and return to Ironman racing - I won't be going just to finish.  I'll be competitive in my age group."  This pisses him off to no end.

Honestly, there are larger issues in play.  The economy - while my work as a coach has flourished my other money making ventures have taken more time and yielded less money.  My family's (mental) health - while some people don't care about anniversaries - last year my wife and I traveled instead of going to races.  Last year was a "big" anniversary for us.  Racing will always be there.  My wife and I won't always be here.  Driving to every mud pit race in the midwest/mideast is not my idea of fun.  I like new races and new places in good locations where my family can enjoy time away from home too.  Life is too short.  My family's (physical) health - between lymphomas, breast cancers, skin cancer, car crashes and general aging - I'm going to take care of my family and I really don't care what your opinion is.

These last two and a half weeks I've been dealing with the virus that has put most people in the hospital for a few days.  Luckily, I've only needed one course of heavy antibiotics.  My last two tune up races - aborted.  Illinois training camp with friends?  Scrapped.  If the doc is right, I should be 100% by 5/3.  This gives me another 12 days before the race I'm doing to get my body right.  I'm not planning on "crushing it" at the race in terms of competition.  I know where I am.  My only goal centers around the clock.  Even that goal may be unrealistic depending on how I bounce back from this sickness.  Last year I raced with a 102 fever.  Smart?  No... the opposite.  Did I keep my "streak" alive?  Yes.  Was it worth it?  That's debatable.  I'm not the only one who gets sick...

Alexander out of IM Aussie due to illness.

2011 is more about getting healthy.  Back to zero.  I told a close friend - I'm training to get ready to train.  When those benchmark sets are back - I'll consider racing Ironman again.  First priorities: blood profile, blood pressure, cancer progress (not saying who's), heart health, weight, and family member health.

Once that is in line... let's get ready to race.  Health first.  Race second.

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