Okay to say this winter has been hard is an understatement, if I look around people look burned out and don't just mean in my group of athletes, everywhere you go you hear people fighting with overloaded schedules, not enough time and too many commitments. How does a person prioritize when just having a life takes all of your time up. To add a race stress to that might tip the balance and you may lose quality of life in other areas. I think a healthy approach to always trying to balance your responsibilities and priorities comes in to play. Some things are wants and some are needs. Deal with the needs, prioritize the wants and then schedule time for each. You may settle for postponing certain jobs that can wait. When you do this don't carry the guilt with you write the job down on a calendar to be dealt with in a better time.
Time is the one thing that is precious, we have only so much time every day. Our jobs, the commute, the running around gives us very little time left over to fit in family, odd jobs and training. As with all deadlines there is an overwhelming feeling that comes with every event. The bigger the commitment the more overwhelmed we feel. What do we do when we get overwhelmed, procrastinate! We want to bury our heads in the sand and make that pressure go away. Why is there such pressure on an event, because we put it there, we have expectations of how we will do. It is easy to set those far away from the event, but as that event looms closer and closer our fight or flight response rears its wrath on our resolve.
At times like these you need to not think about whether you can do that time, that place, that race, you need to look back on your path to get there. If you have commited yourself to train consistently for months, why now are you stopping, why now do you ask yourself why? The only person we fear letting down is really ourselves. We have trained asking ourselves, is it possible to really get that time, that speed, that goal, now as we are about to find out we are looking for excuses on why we won't.
I went to University, postpone the studying and go to the movies, then pull an all nighter, that way if you fail it isn't because you weren't smart enough to pass, it was because you didn't do the correct prep. Theory holds true in this, however, you have done the training up until now, you have done the prep, now as the competition gets closer your doubts grow bigger, and as you taper, your nervous energy works to psyche you out. This is standard event practice, you need to channel your energy into positive things, as you have more time off in taper do those odd jobs that were stressing you out, connect with family and friends you have left out until now and get your world into some order before you get to your event. This taper will make you stronger, it will heal all the small injuries you have gathered on your journey so far.
Why quit because you are afraid, that fight or flight is your race pace on race day, choose to start and you will be rewarded with the knowledge you gave it your all. As you spend a few years at the sport you may decide if you can't get better why continue. This race we choose to do gets us out of the house, off the couch and into some situations that require us to reach further, it is the road less traveled. You will be healthier, you will spend time in line ups to the porta potties, not the walk in clinics. You will be a mentor to those around you that you can choose to do something with your time that rewards your life with positive, instead of staying current with what is on television.
I worried that my kids would resent me for taking the time to do this, that they might resent being at a race for an entire day waiting. This year my son told me he wants to be a coach. My daughter is awaiting her turn to go cheer on the team at the next race, she is practicing her "Go Ironwill" at my son's swim meets. I realize with all the time and energy we have put into training and racing and getting out there to support people our children were already following in our footsteps, they weren't bored, they were involved in something that they now look forward to. Sometimes parents guilt works against you, show your kids how to live, be a mentor to them that if you want something bad enough you can work for it and you will be stronger for that. They learn by watching how you work in the world, being goal oriented outside of a job will show kids that there are rewards out there that are not monetary, that sometimes doing something well, something you love will give back to you in ways a 9 - 5 can't.
Always remember that time...Today is non-refundable... make it unforgettable..don't forget how great life is, you are stressed because you are trying to have it all, live life, every moment.