What have I done?
I have registered for a non-refundable sprint triathlon taking place on May 30, 2011. I have opted out of the beginner-friendly “First Tri” short race. I have chosen a 13-week training schedule with workouts every day and no room for slacking. I have met my enemies: Self, Sloth, and Snooze Button.
Self: The Most Formidable
Self is scary because Self knows its enemy. Self knows exactly what to say to erode confidence, to undercut progress, and to perfectly set for Sloth’s unreturnable spike. Self reads what I’ve done and says: “You have chosen to do this without a comprehensive coaching system, which means I’m all you’ve got.” Self points constantly to the fact that a single half-marathon does not a triathlete make. Self will drive 20 minutes to the pool at 5:30AM, see even one additional swimmer who appears (from inside her heated idling car) to be more experience, and consider turning around before practice starts at 6:00.
I’ll admit I do not know how to best Self.
Sloth: The Most Pervasive
At any given encounter, Sloth is more easily overcome than Self. The problem with Sloth is that Sloth is everywhere. Sloth is inside my own heated idling car in the pool parking lot at 5:40AM. Sloth is staring at uninstalled, morning-ride-enabling bike lights on the coffee table for the second week in a row. Sloth is in impenetrable cahoots with Snooze Button.
It’s true that Sloth can be overcome. Sloth has been overcome many times before. It’s just that when you meet Sloth after dinner but before Top Chef comes on, and after work but before dinner, and after you’ve bested Snooze Button but before you’ve had breakfast, you’re TIRED of besting Sloth. You want to throw Sloth a bone from time to time, just let him take it. The other problem with Sloth, aside from ubiquity, is that Sloth is a slippery slope. Let Sloth win once. Let him take your evening ride or your morning run, and you will find that the next time you meet Sloth he is stronger, harder to resist, more convincing.
Although I have beat Sloth in the past, I find now that Sloth begets Sloth and if I falter even once, my fight grows twice as hard.
Snooze Button: The Sneaky Sucker
You would think that if you beat Sloth you’ll never fall to Snooze Button. You would be wrong. You go to bed on time with plans for a pre-dawn swim. You set the alarm conservatively for 5:00AM since you shouldn’t need but a minute to jump into clothes you’ve already set out and grab the duffel you’ve already packed. You sleep well. At 4:55AM you crack an eye and jubilantly roll over for your final five. At 5:00, between the click before the alarm and the alarm itself Snooze Button manages to convince you that it’s programmed for five minute intervals, not ten. You know it’s programmed for ten minute intervals because you programmed it. You know you have to leave at 5:15 and that ten more minutes will leave only five to squish into a swimsuit. But you do it anyway because Snooze Button is a sneaky sucker.
At 5:10AM Snooze Button begs you to agree that ten more minutes could certainly be made up on the road at 80MPH. At 5:20 you swear you’ll sleep in your swimsuit next week. At 5:40 Snooze Button has stolen the swim workout, but there’s still plenty of time for a bike ride. At 5:50 Snooze Button reminds you that it is still too dark to ride without lights, but too late to undergo the one-step process to install the lights. At 6:00, 6:10, and 6:20 it is still too dark, too cold, and plenty early for a bike ride. By 6:30 you’re on the brink but, as Snooze Button said, you could make it up by driving 80MPH to the ride. At 6:40 the ride is gone. The swim is gone, the ride is gone, and you ran yesterday. Might as well sleep ’til it’s time for work.