Hard Way Home

Way back in March, I mentioned writing about more than just the workouts and races. I wanted to write more - and discover more about the WHY and the WHAT. Why I do this crazy sport and what makes an IRONMAN and IRONMAN. I am learning that I do triathlon because it makes me a better person. I can apply what I learn in training in racing to my physical, mental, emotional life. 

Today I learned that I don't always take the easy way. I like the easy way. It's often faster and feels better. My workout was a baby duathlon - a run-bike-run - on Wrightsville Beach. The temperature was perfect and I felt great, but it was windy. I'm pretty sure it was blowing 15-20 from the northeast and I could feel it pushing hard against me. On the way to Shell Island I was pushing to hit 14 and 15mph. On the way back to downtown Wrightsville Beach? I hit 25 miles an hour! 

by Chip Hemingway

Today's workout was practice for the Carolina Double Sprint on Sunday. It's a swim-run-bike-run-swim and the second run is a challenge. When I got off the bike today, it would have been smart to run against the wind first. To head north when my pace wasn't important. But, I decided to head south - to feel the wind at my back for the easy effort and to turn around and face the wind as I built my pace for the last mile. When I did turn around, my pace dropped so I picked it up. The sand swirled so I picked it up. My legs were tired, so I picked it. By the finish I was faster than race pace and my effort was hard - but I finished faster and felt better than I did when I got off the bike. 

I worry about taking the easy way. I like the easy way. It's often faster and it feels better. Avoidance, denial, path of least resistance. That's easy. Confrontation is not. Doing the right thing often is the hard thing. Making decisions is not faster. I don't always get it right but on days like today I can remember that I pushed myself to go the hard way in practice. And it translated to a better run, more confidence and results I was seeking.

[written on May 14, 2015. Published on May 15]