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Love of the Game

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Standing on the winner’s podium at a big race, being paid to compete  or even receiving free gear will never happen to the vast majority of amateur athletes. So what motivates us to get up at 5 AM and count every mile, watt and BPM? It’s simple. The love of the game. No matter your preferred game, the grind doesn’t stop for the middle of the pack athlete.

As one of those data junkies and middle of the pack athletes, you might ask what makes me an authority on this stuff.

The answer is nothing. I am not an authority. I am actually just like most people. I started my fitness journey 40 pounds overweight. In the beginning, I was just going to spin classes. I slowly transformed my body and, in turn, my outlook on life. Today, a total of four years later, I am a sub-14-hour Ironman Finisher and living the triathlon lifestyle.

I have always been athletic, but I would never call myself an athlete. I was the kid that was always slightly overweight and just a little awkward. I was always good enough to make the team, but never in the starting line-up. My sophomore year in college I tore my ACL, which resulted in knee surgery. By graduation, I was extremely unhealthy. Close to 40 pounds heavier than I am today, the closest thing I was doing to exercise was 12-ounce curls with cheap beer.

After graduation, I took a demanding job, sitting at a desk all day for 80 hours a week. Luckily, my office had a gym, and during orientation, they gave us a free 7-day pass. So I decided to go to a spin class before work.

My love for exercise was quickly rekindled. Spin classes became part of my daily routine, and no matter how hectic and stressful work would become, I always had 50 minutes a day to let off steam. Plus, it didn’t hurt that spinning was a great way to start my day refreshed and energized. This routine led to my strenuous training for the Ironman.

The moral of my story is that everything in life is about balance. Fifty minutes of exercise a day equals AWESOME, but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. For instance, the burden of peak Ironman Training of twenty hours a week can do more harm than good.

This series will focus on the connected workout – not in the Wahoo Fitness sense – but those breakthrough and breakdown moments that connect our hearts to the successes and struggles we have all faced.

My hope is that anyone reading this can find a connection to my journey and the constant struggle to balance work/life/training and the attempt to excel at all three simultaneously.

 

Turning it On:

What motivates us to decide to start a new journey? Whether it is a first spin class, 5K or an Ironman, we all have to make a decision to get up and go!

Rewind six months. My Ironman was over and training had come to a grinding halt. The last year had been spent following a rigid training schedule of swimming, biking, running, weight lifting and nutrition. Exhausting yes, but as super Type A personality, it also brought structure and purpose. The knowledge of a 100-mile bike ride on Saturday and an 18-mile run on Sunday made me get everything done early. Suddenly for the first time in months, I was left with free time.

Which brings me to today; the off-season is over and I know it’s time to get to work but just haven’t yet. Why?

I’ve struggled with answering this question for the last 4 weeks. As my coach put workouts on Training Peaks, I struggled to complete them. Some I pushed through, others I simply skipped. Why was I struggling to find motivation?

Then, for one reason or another, it suddenly hit me! The light switch was flipped, and the motivation was back. Twelve days into a newly motivated and focused workout, I felt back on track.

The first few days are always a paradox; painful but SO satisfying! Just like climbing a big hill. Your TICKR X is telling you that your heart rate is climbing, but you push to keep your cadence high, knowing that once you crest over the hill your heart rate will return to a sustainable level and that first challenge will be completed.
Now the real work begins. The excuses are gone. All that is left is to trust in yourself and your training plan and feed on that inner voice that drives you forward.

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