"Eckhardt, think about the future!"
Jack Nicholson, The Joker, Batman
|With a smile like that he must have PR'd the swim!|
One of Nicholson's best lines ever was in the film Batman!
But then, to one degree or another, don't we all think about the future? Some of us more than others?
There comes a time when we need to move on. Triathlon becomes a less significant factor in life, less of a priority, and training becomes more an obligation than a challenge. That early morning swim is a burden, not an opportunity to work on a race limiter.
The sword of time will piece our skin,
It doesn't hurt when it begins,
But as it works its way on in,
The pain grows stronger, watch it grin.
Suicide is Painless, Johnny Mandel. M*A*S*H, the movie
I know a number of people who were in triathlon for a short while and out. On to something else. It was a fling, an accomplishment, but not a lifestyle. They didn't own a power meter, never found out the answer to a question on Slowtwitch. They weren't certain of the date of the World Championship in Hawaii. (It is in Honolulu, right?) In fact, they had more on their plates than triathlon. Work, family, hobbies, other passions, etc. were all part of the game and while important, tri didn't take front and center stage.
Not so for the woman I met in Kona on Friday,16 hours before race start in Kona last year. This was bike check in, on the pier, for what would be her 40th, that's right, fortieth Ironman distance race. I'm no Psychiatrist but in discussing the importance of triathlon in her life, the word addiction would have to have entered the conversation somewhere.
However, eventually the luster grows dull for most of us and we want to, or have to in many cases secondary to chronic or recurrent injury, pass the torch. And you know what, it's OK when that day comes. Really, it is.
"Cal" is one of the best triathletes in our area. Like a fool, I let him talk me into a workout at the pool a couple years ago, something different he said, just for fun (Cal's kind of fun obviously.) We'd swim 100 yards, jump out on to the pool deck and do ten push ups, and be back in our lane to push off for the next 100. Can we do it on 2:00? Yes. Can we do it 1:50? Yes, Cal we can. I think we needed a funeral home consult after that work out.
But, Cal's life has gotten more complex lately as his kids have gotten older and entered wrestling, travel wrestling, you name it. Cal's moved away from tri despite having the ability to run a half IM sub 4:30 in the very competitive 45-49 year old age group. (I'm certain that some of you read this as discarding a gift that you, or me for that matter, will never have. I feel your pain!) In short, your day to step back from the sport will come. When it does, it'll be just fine. Honestly. I saw that day a while back, and it's just fine.
The race is run, how did you fair?