Monday, September 8, 2008

Things Have Got To Change...

People who know me well know that I am not an angry person by nature. And when you race, sometimes a bit of the "red fuel" can be just what you need to kick a little azz, or shoot, just get out of bed for a key yet dreaded workout. Heck because of this added zing, my swim this morning had me cruising almost 8 seconds per hundred faster than normal. On the positive side this probably means I've been babying my swims this year because of the bike wreck I had in March. But when you begin to realize a consistent, slow, steady increase in the red fuel over time, its time to start asking some bigger questions.

I guess I could say I'm lucky. I know exactly where my frustration is coming from. For the better part of a year now things at my job have deteriorated to such a point that no amount of money could fix what's wrong. I could say its the people or the work or the conditions, or a combination of all these things but taking the time to consider the situation, I know the real problem isn't actually any one of these things or a combination thereof its me. I've changed so much in the last few years and what I want to do with my time and what I want from it are much different from when I started working with this company and these people almost 5 years ago.

Joe Friel's excellent book The Triathlete's Training Bible, provides an excellent introduction and discussion of the concept of limiters. Limiters are things which basically stunt performance and athletic development. They are the things that hold us back. For the most part they can be physical. Someone with less endurance will not do well at longer distance races so, their limiter is endurance. Someone without much strength or the ability to apply force continually will be limited in hilly, windy, or rough water races. If your diet isn't what it should be, this could limit both your training, racing and recovery. Other limiters can be purely psychological or emotional. If you feel you don't race well in cold or hot weather, or if "so and so" shows up, you probably won't. You get the picture. Limiters are things that keep us from having our best performances. And as such they potentially keep us from experiencing our best selves.

I've been seeing the same thing in a lot of different sources I've been reading lately. The gist of the idea that comes up over and over again is that if we aren't constantly growing, we are regressing. It is this sense of regression that causes the experience of "dis-ease" which can not only be applied to races and athletic performance but to other aspects of our lives as well.

So my job has to replaced with something that will support my life more fully and also my desire to train and race to my full potential -- whatever that potential may ultimately be. That is, I suppose, one of the gifts of racing and this sport in general. You get to look at your performances and your life and make informed adjustments that will bring you into a fuller alignment with your true goals. And you get a supportive group of folks to help and cheer you all along the way. A healthy analysis of your limiters will always lead to change. And change that leads to a greater experience of potential and self is always good.


Roo said...

Great post! 7 years ago now I quit a job that was driving me crazy. I was poor for a few years, but in the meantime I learned a lot about myself, started doing tris, and ended up with my own business that's now doing well. My motto is- your job doesn't have to involve doing what you love, but it needs to let you do the things you love. Good luck. I look forward to reading more posts!

BreeWee said...

I am with Roo, I LOVE this post and I too quit my teaching job (got more poor than being a teacher) BUT I love my new job and it lets me do what I LOVE (triathlon). Way to be brave and take your "limiters" and kick em' out of your way!

Will you be racing Austin, being a Texas boy? If so, see ya then!

Happy training :)

ace said...

Thanks to both of you for your words of encouragement. It really means a lot. I'm signed up for the 70.3 here in Austin, but since July my job has been a constant black hole concerning my training time and energy. Actually the sobering realization that it was pretty much jacking up my preparation for the race was the inspiration for this post. I've sort of taken a "we'll see" attitude toward it all now. Regardless, I'll be there either racing or cheering. Triathlon is always cool no matter what.