The off season is a time when a lot of us find time for that get together we've been putting off, for that trip we've always wanted to do but couldn't fit in, or simply for being lazy and having massive pancake breakfasts for no more of a reason than "it sounds great!"
In the past, I've been that person. I've taken this time to catch up with friends, stay up later than normal, go out, eat things I couldn't before, and for all intensive purposes lead my alternate life. I did that because come the new year, I knew that all of those things would be back up on the shelf as training began. I'd be in bed early, RSVPing "no" to parties, being a stickler with what I ate, and the list goes on and on. Every year, I either considered or actually did post a pre-emptive apology...
"If you're reading this, I want you to know that I am taking this year as my shot at some hefty triathlon goals and I want to take every step I can to complete them. I apologize for not being able to make your parties, stay up late, eat anything outside of my diet, and the like. So, in short, I'm sorry for the next 6-8 months."
That was something akin to what I sent out in 2011 when I started getting serious about triathlon. I was doing my first 70.3 and then got a spot for the Ironman 70.3 WC in Vegas. In 2012, I thought very hard about sending out another apology as I set myself up to tackle my first full iron-distance triathlon. 2013 just felt like an extension of 2012. And this year, I hired my first coach to help me.
Over those years, not only have I lost touch with a number of friends - and I do apologize for that to those who have suffered - but I've changed as a person. I've taken triathlon on not just as a hobby, but as a lifestyle. I don't dabble in a few every year. My year is scheduled around my races. My yearly vacations are taken so that I can travel to races. I've adjusted my diet so many times that I've gone from eating frozen dinners to becoming a lover of farmer's markets and a vegetarian for over a year. I've embraced my morning person attitude. If I could be in bed by 9:30p every night so I'd be up at 5:30a every morning, I would! I've gone from lab researcher to full time coach.
Since 2011, I have changed. I've changed a lot. We all do. I thought about that a lot as I was driving home from Rev3 Cedar Point last week and listening to Scott Jurek's book "Eat and Run." In the end, I came to one very large conclusion.
I am no longer apologizing.
I am not sorry about missing late night parties.
I am not sorry about skipping eating out.
I am not sorry about having to fit in my sometimes very long workouts.
I am not sorry for being tired and wanting to take a nap or stay home.
If you ask me "can you just not do or move that workout?," it does not phase me to tell you "No."
My socializing consists of pre/post-race, group OWSs on Fridays, track workouts, and meeting up for a long ride/run.
I very much enjoy how I've changed my life. What started out as a new hobby and small ambition has morphed into a true focal point in my life and I refuse to apologize for that any longer.
So as I move into my off season where I have more time, more flexibility, and less scheduled items on the to do list, I will continue to be in bed early, up early, cook at home, be a vegetarian, and be active. If you have an issue with that, then that's too bad. This is my life. I'm going to live it the way I want to.
1. Have you found that any particular hobby has altered your life?
Triathlon has COMPLETELY changed my life and I wouldn't have it any other way.
2. Do you take the off season to "let loose" or lead a somewhat alternative lifestyle?
I used to lead a different life in the off season.
3. Have you ever made an apology in order to maintain an athletic endeavor?
Yes, I have. At first it was against my typical schedule, but at this point most people have come to assume that I have a workout, bedtime, or the like. It's much easier now that I've been in this lifestyle for a number of years.
DREAM. BELIEVE. ACHIEVE.