What I learned While Running, Swimming and Biking 293 Miles in 8 Weeks

When I decided to sign up for a triathlon back in June, my baseline goal was simply to finish. The distances all looked doable and I figured that as long as I didn’t get hurt, finishing the race was just a matter of pacing myself well.

What I hadn’t counted on was 2-3 foot waves during the swim. On triathlon day, there was a storm blowing in, which created swim conditions that were worse than my imagined worst case scenario. Worse than anything I had practiced in. Worse even than I thought the race organizers would allow us to swim in.

As a “first timer” I was in the last group of swimmers to start. That meant I got to stand on the beach and watch as dozens of swimmers–all experienced triathloners–signaled the lifeguards to be pulled out of the water and paddled into the shallows on one of the rescue surfboards.

Suddenly just finishing didn’t look like such a sure thing. As they say, “man plans and God laughs.”

I'm the scared looking one in the blue shirt.
I’m the scared looking one in the blue shirt.

Rather than the nice smooth freestyle I’d practiced for 8 weeks, I did a quarter mile of breast stroking, long dog paddling, side stroking, head-up freestyle and any other thing that kept me moving in a forward direction. It was a long 9.5 minutes.

But I made it and along the way I learned a little about what I’m made of. That got me thinking about what else my triathlon experience has taught me.

Sometimes just not quitting is a victory.

There was a point, about two-thirds of way into the swim, that I considered signaling a lifeguard that I was in distress. I was physically exhausted from fighting the huge, weirdly swirling waves and feeling kind of sick from all the seawater I’d swallowed. Not to mention the mental exhaustion and fear I was wrestling with. All of my swim training felt futile at that point and I was really beating myself about how poorly it was going.

Looking around, I saw that all of the guards were busy helping people who were in worse shape than I was. That’s when it hit me that no one’s swim was going according to plan and getting back to shore any way I could would be a victory.

Corollary: Don’t a pick a fight with Mother Nature.

Ironically, 3 days earlier I had cut my final swim workout short because the ocean was too rough. I figured it wasn’t worth risking an injury or a stomach bug to get in one last swim. My swim training had gone well. I felt ready. It didn’t seem wise to pick a fight that I was going to lose.

The Scientist was surprised at how easily I made the decision to get out of the water. A year ago, I would have pushed myself to do whatever was on the schedule, no matter how inadvisable the conditions were.

Structure is my friend.

Part of my decision making process prior to signing up for the triathlon was researching training plans. The ones I’d seen in the past involved hours of training per day and I was hesitant to get myself into something that would push the limits of my reconstructed knee.

Thankfully I found an 8-week plan designed for runners doing their first tri (me!) that looked reasonable. I taped it to my office door so I would see it frequently. Each night before bed I looked at the next morning’s schedule and mentally framed my preparation and training. After the day’s training session, I highlighted the workout and noted anything that felt significant.

tri2

The structure the plan provided kept me on track when I was struggling to find the energy to train every day in weeks 5 and 6. I didn’t have to think about what to do each day or worry that I was doing too much or not enough. It wasn’t a big surprise that I thrive on structure, but it was a valuable reminder. My life is loosely structured right now and since the tri I’ve been looking for ways to bring some more structure into my days.

To get different results, do something different.

 One of the great things about the training plan was that I didn’t create it. It was designed by Hal Higdon, who has written 36 books about marathoning and other long distance race training. If I had written my own training plan it would have looked much different–no short runs, more biking (which I added in anyhow), less swimming–and I wouldn’t have made the huge gains that I did.

When I first looked at the schedule, I thought the short runs were pointless. What could I gain from running for 10 minutes? Being an overachiever, I decided that if I was only going to run for 10 or 15 minutes, I’d run as fast as I could. Within weeks, my mile times started dropping drastically. I went from the 8.5 and 9 minute miles that I’d been running the 3.5 mile race distance in 27 minutes on a good day. That never would have happened without those short tempo runs early in my training.

Sometimes a radically different approach can bring radically different results. Of course, figuring out what to do differently is no small feat.

Sensory overload goes down with each repetition.

Most of concerns going into the race had nothing to do with my actual athletic performance. I knew I could run, bike and swim the required distances. But would I be able to find my bike among 900 others? Would I be able to manage the various clothing and equipment changes quickly when I was tired and surrounded by chaos? Would I get my bike out of and into the transition area without running into anyone or tripping over the pedals?

I know from experience that the more I do something, the less likely I am to screw it up. Repetition, rehearsal and visualization are essential for me when it comes to learning something new and being able to perform it under stress.

There was no way to duplicate the exact conditions of race day, but I was able to rehearse what I would do at each stage of the race. By the time race day arrived, I wanted as many of my actions as possible to be habitual. I practiced packing my bag, setting up my transition area, putting on my socks and shoes quickly after swimming, getting off my bike and running it 50 yards to the imaginary bike rack, using the same clothes/equipment and putting them on in the same order every time I trained.

On the morning of the race, I walked through the transitions a couple of times so I would know what I would be seeing as I came out of the water, which way I needed to go once I had my bike out of the rack and how the transition area would look as I entered from the bike course.

While this kind of preparation might look obsessive to an observer, each repetition filters out some of the unnecessary sensory data, helping me focus better on what I need to be paying attention to–like not falling when I dash through the kiddie pool to clean my feet as I come off the beach.

Small accommodations can have a big ripple effect.

 These are the cool shoelaces that I got for my running shoes:

tri3

Called lace locks, they’re stretchy laces with a sliding clasp that quickly tightens the laces in place of tying them. Shoes that don’t need to be tied are a minor accommodation when you think about how much goes into a triathlon. For the average person, they’re probably a nice convenience that saves 20-30 seconds.

For someone with my impaired fine motor skills and exquisitely well-developed ability to catastrophize, they’re far more. Yes, they allowed me to quickly slip on my shoes and go, which was awesome. But they also kept me from 8 weeks of obsessing over how much time I would lose tying my shoes when I was tired from swimming and in a hurry to get on my bike.

The type of girl/guy who was crummy to you in high school will still be crummy to you in adulthood.

One of the great things about a road race or triathlon is how friendly most of the other athletes are. Where else could a total newbie like me set up her gear next to a professional athlete and have them congratulate me on doing my first triathlon? It’s a great feeling to have a tiny bit of respect from people who are there to win when my goal is simply to finish without hurting myself too badly.

 Notice that I said most of the other athletes? There was a woman setting up on the other side of me who started chatting me up about how many races I’d done and her leg injury and such. Then her friend (partner? husband?) showed up and her whole demeanor changed. When I asked her a question, she brushed me off with a curt, “I don’t know.” After the race, I saw them in the finish area and said something congratulatory, much like other participants had said to me. She looked at me like I had 3 heads and then looked away without even acknowledging that I’d spoken to her.

That’s when I realized that she was that girl – the one from high school who would talk to me when no one was around and she was feeling bored or insecure, then treat me like the freak she clearly thought I was when her friends were around. Sadly, those girls (and guys, I assume) grow older, but they don’t seem to grow up.

Support your tribe.

The rest of the competitors, though–the support and energy on the race course was contagious. People cheered each other on. More than once, when I passed someone they said something like “go get ’em!” Although we were all competing with each other in theory, most of the people who were on the course with me were just excited to be there and happy to be getting ever closer to the finish line.

During the swim, people were checking in with swimmers near them, asking others if they were doing okay and grimly joking about how awful the conditions. At one point, I saw a guy clinging to the turn buoy and making unintelligible noises. Another one woman nearby noticed him too and we both shouted “are you okay? do you need help?” a few times. When he didn’t answer or even seem to know we existed, we both frantically waved the lifeguard over and she paddled him out to shore.

The same was true of the run–lots of people encouraging others to keep moving and checking in with those who were having a harder time. There was a strong sense of “we’re all in this together” and it wasn’t just the newbies. Some of the early finishers came back out onto the last half mile of the running course to cheer in the later finishers. It feels pretty awesome to be struggling through those last few hundred yards and see someone who could be chilling in the parking lot instead standing by the side of the road yelling things like “almost there” and “looking strong, 336!”

These people haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be the new kid and they know the importance of supporting your tribe. That trickles down through the other racers and creates a climate of support in the most unlikely places.

In spite of the stormy weather, I was happy with my overall time. I placed 7th out of all of the "first timer" women!
In spite of the stormy weather, I was happy with my overall time. I placed 7th out of all of the “first timer” women!

 “Screw everything” is a valid strategy too.

Somewhere around week 3 of my training I was really frustrated with my swimming progress. Although I’m a good pool swimmer and confident in the water, I found myself panicking at the slightest bit of rough water. There’s a big psychological difference between swimming laps in a pool and swimming 400 yards in a straight line in the ocean. I’d watched Youtube videos and tried different techniques but nothing seemed to be helping.

Then one morning I was so frustrated with myself that I just said “screw this” and swam as hard as I could. No thinking about technique or “feeling the water” or any of the strategies I’d been counting on. And it worked. In spite of the waves tossing me around, I felt strong and confident. That’s when I realized that thinking and planning and having a strategy is good, but sometimes you just have to say “screw everything” and follow your gut.

*

As I was drafting my list of what I’d learned, it became obvious that a lot of these lessons also apply to the extreme endurance activity of being a disabled adult. Of course, it’s easier to apply the lessons in relatively isolated athletic training situations.

In the bigger scheme of life? That raises some interesting questions.

How often do I remind myself that simply not quitting when things get rough counts for a lot? Probably not often enough. How willing am I to acknowledge when the smart thing to do is walk away? More than I used to be, but maybe not willing enough. How actively do I use the coping strategies that I know work for me? When things are going well, a lot; when life is rough, it’s harder to create things like schedules, plans and accommodations and keep them in place. How well do I support my tribe? This is something that I always feel like I could be doing more of.

There’s a bare spot on my door where my training schedule used to hang. I’m going to turn the bolded parts of this post into a one page list and hang it there as a reminder of what I learned.

66 thoughts on “What I learned While Running, Swimming and Biking 293 Miles in 8 Weeks”

  1. Thanks for sharing that! From the practical (I’m so getting some of those lace locks) to the inspirational (“screw everything” as a valid strategy), there’s so much to be mined here. The idea that sensory overload goes down with repetition is a new-to-me twist on the importance of practice/rehearsal.

    Back to the lace locks and similar tools: I love the idea that there are little things that not only save a few seconds during the actual use, but also save the bigger chunks of time fretting about “why can’t I do this thing quickly and right every time (like everybody else)??”

    This all sounds incredibly rewarding in ways I hadn’t even thought about. Congratulations!

    1. I was ridiculously excited about getting those laces! The things you learn on Youtube. They’re going to be a permanent addition to my running shoes. No more fumbling with laces at 6 AM for me. 🙂

      but also save the bigger chunks of time fretting about “why can’t I do this thing quickly and right every time (like everybody else)??”

      No kidding. That feeling is the worst and the less we have of it, the better.

      1. Yeah, that’s how I’ve felt about Outward Bound: Glad I did it, but never doing it again! It’s really great that you were able to complete a Triathlon! My large motor skill difficulties can make walking treacherous at times!

  2. Wow! What an awesome achievement! And I love how you managed to analyze and generalize your training and race experiences to distil a concise set of life lessons.

    I agree that the headings would make a great motivational list — or even posters: I can picture them individually as captions on images that illustrate or reinforce the message…

    1. Posters would be very cool! I love motivational things with photos. The one piece of “artwork” that I’ve carted across the country and back for the last 25 years is a poster with the sun rising on snowy wooded scene and a motivational quote.

  3. Congratulations! That’s a fantastic achievement!

    Really useful and thought provoking analysis of skills and strategies that apply to life in general. I’m good and getting the accommodations I need for academc work, but much less good at treating my self so well the rest of the time, but I guess I’m still disabled outside of class. Maybe I should make a lost for my door…

    1. It’s taken me a long time to start accepting that I need to be nicer to myself and use the strategies and accommodations that make life less of a struggle. I’m getting there, but it’s still hard at times. A list for the door can’t hurt, I figure. The more reminders we have to take care of ourselves, the better.

  4. Waves are terrifying. Swimming in terrifying waves? Yikes. Congratulations on finishing!
    “That’s when it hit me that no one’s swim was going according to plan and getting back to shore any way I could would be a victory.” Probably the best metaphor for life that I’ve read in a long time. In my mind I just substituted “getting back to shore…” with “keeping my head above the water…”

    1. Brilliant comment that adds to the already abundant take-away value of the blog entry!

      I have forwarded the article to my son’s team of teachers, therapists, etc. to help them see how the tools that we are teaching our son have life-long value and application. By sharing your story you offer a spark of reassurance to this parent that our 1st grader too is on the path to to bravely enter into adventures of his one one day!

      PS, You might consider submitting your insightful essay/list to a publication like Runners World Magazine. As the commentor above so keenly identified, the life-lessons and metaphor of swimming to shore offers inspiration and insight applicable to all.

      1. So glad you found the post and the brilliant comments helpful. 🙂 Developing coping strategies is a huge part of navigating the world as an autistic person so the more you can give your son at an earlier age, the more tools he’ll have to choose from as he grows up.

        Submitting a polished version to a magazine is a great idea. I will give it some thought.

    2. Thank you!

      This was also a great example of how often I compare myself to others and come to unhelpful conclusions. While I was swimming I was certain that I was the only one who was having such a rough time but when I watched the snippets of video that my husband shot, I saw that I didn’t look much different from the people around me or even those who were far ahead of me.

  5. YAY. 😀
    I have so many thoughts about this; have to come back later when they’ve finished zipping around in my head.
    Congratulations!

  6. Oh wow! How great is it that you did so well? First time races are always a mystery on how they will turn out. You just don’t know what will be different.

    I hear you on “that girl” you knew in school. I always called them “fair weather friends”. I had two like that when I switched to a small country school for 6th-8th grade. The girls were a pair and the only people who would talk to me or sort of be my friend. Then, when one of the popular people were around I was invisible. I only kept trying to be their friend because otherwise for me it was patroling the elementary kids and making sure everyone played fair.

    Sometimes, when I was in Basic Training for the Army, I would just go along (passively) with whatever they were having us do. I would tell myself that they would be sorry when I died from exhaustion. Funny thing was that I didn’t die. I thought for sure I would on many occasions but I was stronger than I knew. I suspect they do that on purpose just so you realize you are holding back. It goes into the whole “just do it” mentality.

    Congratulations on your success.

      1. It can be the norm, you just have to look out for those people and try to avoid them. Look at how they treat others. The ones who are most often fair weather friends are the ones trying to reach higher on the social ladder and are overly concerned with their social status. What helped me over come that gravity I felt dragging me towards certain people was that I found a friend who was friends with everyone and anyone. She was super charismatic and would be friends publically with both the elite and the unpopular. She just didn’t care what your social status was and amazingly it worked for her and she was often the most popular person in the room. 🙂

        People at work are most often fair weather friends for me. I try not to make friends at work. Too many politics and career advancing types who will step all over you to get ahead. Best place for me to find a solid friend was in my area of interest who had like minded morals.

    1. I was so excited with my time that at first I thought I was reading the results wrong. 😀

      There were a few “that girls” in my life, mostly in middle school and high school, and I think I’m especially sensitive to that kind of social ickiness because of the bad memories it brings up. But it was just a little blip of “oh yuck” in a day of otherwise great interactions with people and one that I hesitated to even share here for fear that it was too much of a downer.

      Your Army story made me smile. I had that same thought not too long ago when my husband was insisting that we could just “take a shortcut” down the side of a mountain instead of returning on the longer nicely sloping trail. “You’ll be sorry when I’m dead at the bottom of the gorge” I kept thinking as he scurried down ahead of me while I slid along on my butt. Of course, like your Basic Training, it turned out fine. Sometimes we’re capable of a whole lot more than we give ourselves credit for.

  7. 2-3 foot waves?!!!! Are you insane? You went out further than damp feet in proper waves?! In my books that alone deserves a medal. God, I used to hate it in a swimming pool if another swimmer created enough water movement to risk splashing my face 🙂
    You’re spot on with the not quitting sometimes being a victory (I may stick that on my fridge – well in fact there’s no may about it). I’m my own worst enemy though when it comes to knowing when quitting is the right thing to do. I’ll set myself unrealistic goals (not realising they’re unrealistic until after I’ve started) and then flounder because I’m too stubborn and I figure that I’m a failure if I don’t achieve them, even though it’s me who’s decided them, no-one else knows about them and life won’t stop if I don’t do them. I think I need to work on that!!
    And I’m better with a lot of structure – I think that’s why I’ve been struggling a bit recently – not enough set routine and structure (but way too many unrealistic goals).
    Yet another blog that’s given me ‘stuff’ to think about. Thank you.
    p.s. Well cool laces!

    1. I think I must be quite nuts, yes. I can’t imagine what kind of weather conditions lead to the cancellation of the swim but I saw on the organizer’s page that they’d cancelled the swim two years ago at this event. Maybe a hurricane?

      The line between knowing when quitting is smart and knowing when to stick with something is so tricky. I tend to err on the side of being stubborn too and like so said, so often it’s some sort of made up rule or imaginary failing that keeps me going long after anything good will come of it.

  8. Wow. I barely made it past the words ‘Sometimes just not quitting is a victory’ without breaking down in tears.

    I’ve never looked at my life as an “extreme endurance activity”, but once again you so exactly sum it up so in those words “a lot of these lessons also apply to the extreme endurance activity of being a disabled adult” that now I’m allowing myself to cry because it is exactly that and it is *hard* and I’m not easy on myself at all… ever.

    1. Oh, sorry, I’ve made you cry. I think that with practice we can learn to be kind and compassionate to ourselves and that can make a difference. I’ve been slowly moving in that direction for the past year and while I have a long way to go, it does make a positive difference.

  9. Right, I’ve wiped up the tears now enough to add a massive well done and also massive respect for the triathlon.Obviously you’re completely mad 😉

  10. Congratulations! What a great experience on so many levels!

    We use those lace locks for our son who struggles with shoe laces – they are really terrific!

  11. You so totally rock for finishing a triathlon!

    I had plans this week, to be a super organized conscientious mother as we ease back into our homeschooling routine which was disturbed this summer by a move and by my long horrible post move meltdown. I was feeling good and optimistic and pleasantly regulated when out of the blue our cat became ill and died overnight last Sunday. We had no idea she was so ill. We thought she was simply a little under the weather. Now my organized week is not happening and I am a weepy distracted mess. I’ve been feeling guilty for it but If I apply a “life as an endurance sport” outlook and think of this as “big waves” It puts things into perspective and makes me realize that it is okay to have a rough couple of weeks.

    Thank you for another excellent post.

    1. Oh, I’m so so sorry about your cat. How sad and difficult. It’s most definitely okay and healthy and expected for you to grieve and to cut yourself some slack as you do. Losing a pet is so hard, especially when it’s unexpected. Definitely some big life waves. I hope you find calmer waters when the time is right.

    2. So sorry about your cat. I become a ‘weepy mess’ if I even think about anything happening to one of my cats (or my dog) so I can well imagine how you must feel. It’s very okay to have a rough couple of weeks – you’re mourning for something you loved. If we can (and are expected to) mourn for longer than that for people (who in my books are far less worthy!) then I figure the same should be just as acceptable for a pet. It’s only society’s skewed ideas on what’s acceptable after all!
      Sending a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and hope you get to a stage soon when you can think happy thoughts about your cat again.

  12. I’m new to your blog, but I love it. Wall done on all your amazing achievements, and thank you for the real insight I’m getting into the workings of my own mind.

  13. Cynthia, I can’t thank you enough for writing this. I’m doing my first half marathon in 9 days (Sydney running festival) and while I suspect most others would be worrying about their time/pace/making the distance/have I done enough training, I am worried about finding the place I have to go the day before to pick up my race kit, about the road closures in the city and my hubby getting cranky not being able to find a parking spot, and me taking on his bad vibes which will put me off, and about meeting and talking to new people as I’m running as part of an Australia wide facebook group; none of us have met but we have matching shirts so people are likely to come up to me and say hello. I would love to do a tri or duathlon one day but that’s exactly what’s put me off so far – ‘how do I find my bike?’ and other such challenges! 🙂 It sounds like you had a great day, well done xoxo

    1. Good luck with your marathon and with all of the logistics and socializing! I’ve done a few half-marathons and really enjoyed them.

      I was worried about my husband being tense on the morning of the race so I reminded him that I needed to be in a positive frame of mind and asked him to focus on staying positive for me, even if things were going wrong or I was really anxious, etc. Surprisingly, that worked. 🙂

      Perhaps doing things like planning a couple of alternate driving routes and checking into parking in advance would make you feel better? We had a parking plan and an alternative parking plan, plus we drove to the triathlon site a few weeks before to be sure we could find the location of the packet distribution and the starting area. I also drove the course to get a feel for how it would look because I was unfamiliar with the area.

      I hope you’ll come back and let me know how it went. I’d love to hear about your experience.

      1. Cynthia I am a bit slow in replying (LOL only 3 months later!) But just commented on another of your posts and was reminded of this one. I wanted to share some pics of my art journal; I recorded my half marathon experience in pictures which is more natural for me than writing a whole heap. Here is the link – http://www.thiswholesoul.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/art-journalling-my-first-half-marathon.html
        And also, I needn’t have worried (story of my life…) – my hubby was very supportive on the day, got me there on time, met me at the finish, was excited and proud of me, and he even let me have a nap in the afternoon 🙂
        The running group I am in, which I was meeting at this race for the first time, was great because a) we had matching shirts so it was easy to identify each other b) we had a ready-made topic of conversation that we were all interested in, and c) even though I ran alongside another lady for a good deal of the race we were focussed on our pace so the little bit of small talk we had was natural, and we were comfortably quiet the rest of the time.
        Also wanted to let you know that you’ve inspired me to do a triathlon in March! It’s in a big park which is next to a public pool so no open water swim, but still a mental challenge with all the transition bits and riding with a wet butt and all sorts of other weird thoughts that I intend to manage before the day!
        xxx

    2. Good luck Leonie – think of it this way, once you actually start running you’ll have done all your major stress, everyone else meanwhile will just be starting on theirs!! 🙂

  14. Congrats! Amazing! You are phenomenal. YAY for you and your race and I can’t imagine swimming through waters like that…I admire you. I am glad you survived, conquered and feel great!

  15. I love this post!

    I feel like trying to do a triathlon one day now. I liked your wave descriptions, I would have liked to try that! I quite like swimming in rough seawater and don’t mind being tossed around… and watching others give up and be picked up by life guards would have given an interesting measure of comparative resilience (if that is a term). It also sounds like a lovely collective spirit.

    1. You should give it a try! If you like the ocean, definitely look for an ocean-swim race if possible because you’d have a big advantage. There were three men in the 50-year-old group who must have been former rescue swimmers or Navy Seals. They just attacked the waves, swimming straight into them, shoulder-to-shoulder, not missing a stroke. It was impressive to watch. They obviously had a lot of experience in rough water and felt at home.

      I think for me the vestibular input of the side to side rocking movement might actually be a kind of sensory sensitivity. It makes me feel disoriented, though I did get better at coping with some amount of choppiness with practice.

      But yes, I highly recommend a triathlon as something to experience once if you’re interested. 🙂

    1. And they come in lots of lovely colors. I got bright yellow for my husband. Mine are black because I bought the laces before the shoes and black goes with everything. If I’d bought them after the shoes, I would have picked a lime green.

  16. Congratulations on your first triathlon! It sounds incredibly daunting (especially the waves!), but it also sounds like all your training paid off. I’ve recently run my first marathon, and while I had a very structured training plan, like you, I can empathise very much with periodic and judicious application of a ‘screw everything’ strategy. And I, too, found a real cameraderie among my fellow runners. Like we were all on the same team. Anyway, great post. And well done.

  17. This post is very inspirational. Growing up, I quit things easily, because I wanted to start over. It’s a great learning process but not so effective when it comes to problem solving and making your own decisions. At first I very nearly wanted to quit volunteering this past year, because it was so different and I had to relearn (again) how to get to know the people I’m working with and change my reaction to the same situation. (For ex. instead of hiding, I’m actively introducing myself to people.) I stuck with it and got a wonderful experience!

  18. Kudos on your triathlon, and what a lovely, thoughtful piece you’ve written about it. Love the lock laces, too. I actually ordered a pair last week for my son to try out on his ice skates. I don’t know if they’ll stay tight enough on skates, but those long skate laces are difficult for him. He has lock laces on his sneakers, they’re wonderful.

    1. I hope they work for the skates, though I wonder if they’ll be tight enough to give him ankle support. The ones I have on my running shoes have so much give that I keep them in the “locked” position and just slip my shoes on and off without ever moving the clasp.

      1. I wondered the same thing, but thought it was worth a try. I also saw a converter that changes laces into a zipper, though it was a bit too pricey. There are other brands of locking laces with laces that are not as elastic – might try them if this brand is too stretchy. Just read your piece on Acceptance – love your writing!

  19. I am probably the only one here who finds marathons, triathlons and anything like that simply scary. It is not the waves, or much less at least. It is like watching people flagellating themselves. Gives me the feeling that they might take up their whip at any moment and start beating others instead of themselves.

    I mean, I like going by bike, I enjoy running if it is for catching a bus or so, I am even a pretty good swimmer and love sensing the force of water and wind, but never ever did I experience any need to push myself into going on against my wanting to stop, unless to finally get home after being drenched by rain.

    For me sport should have something pleasant, and then keep me fit to better face the true life challenges. Just spending 10% of the time and energy you have brought into all this would make me feel so sick.

    Then there is far too much of this odd motivational ideology in this post, for my liking (the keep smiling mantra, think positive, or better still: dont think at all). Couldnt it rather be this not-having-to-think state, and then the drug-like flow experience mixed with the also social immersion that made you endure? And couldnt that be linked to Asperger?

    Not that I am against motivation at all, but basically it is for me what my father once said as a loud supporter of my nephew s football team: they have to get the feeling that they can dominate the other team at least for some moments. (With him encouraging every decent interplay of theirs, they really played better and tended to loose only 1-digit instead of the usual two-digit.). Striving for domination when being inferior.

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