Today I rode 200k (124 miles) on the trainer. It took me 5:37.52, for an average of 22.09mph. I only rode on the trainer because there was a stretch of rain that I didn't want to ride in, and the women's Olympic triathlon was on TV anyway, so even though the rain stopped after I was about 2 hours in, I just stayed on the trainer. The triathlon finished when I was about 3 hours into the ride. Since I was on a roll, I just kept on the trainer.
I have gone this far on the trainer before. I have Ultra (and when I say Ultra I mean farther than Ironman distance) friends who have ridden 7+ hours on a trainer. We do what we need to do to achieve what we want to achieve. And we don't have any excuses for not doing what we need to do.
Over the years, I have had people proclaim the reasons I've achieved what I've achieved athletically, and those reasons are, in turn, their excuses for why they haven't:
- I'm single. Oh sure--I don't have to answer to anyone, but I also get to do everything at home--from taking out the garbage to grocery shopping to laundry to cooking to cleaning to home maintenance to disaster mitigation. So please don't tell me how easy my life is being single. Anything that goes wrong is 100% on me.
- I (used to) work at home. This one I agree with to an extent. If I ever had an 8-hour a day job, I would agree 100%. But I have never had an 8-hour a day job except when I was in high school and college. I've worked ever since I was 15, and I worked about 20 hours a week in college. I was a workaholic in my 20's and 30's, but mostly loved what I was doing. Although I wasn't doing triathlon back then. But it was part of my evil plan to be able to retire as early as I did. Working at home has advantages and disadvantages--the biggest disadvantage being that people expected me to be available ALL THE TIME. I stupidly switched positions back in 2010 that led to a higher stress position that eventually was my undoing. So what I'm saying is that not all work-at-home situations are created equal. Be careful what you wish for! Although I will say the lack of a commute afforded me some extra time to at least decompress. But the reality is that I busted my ass to earn the right to work at home. And then I busted my ass some more. So it wasn't all working in my bathrobe and slippers eating bonbons.
- I don't have kids. Oh so it's OK to trot out your kids as an excuse for why you aren't doing something? Why don't you try that excuse in front of them? I wonder how it would make them feel? Aside from that, I do know many fine athletes who have kids and manage to make it work, and they aren't all rich with nannies and concierges. Frankly, I wish my own parents had been active. As it was, I made a point to be more active in spite of their laziness. I have tremendous respect for all parents. Raising healthy, productive and kind children is one of the most important jobs in the world. What's funny is I get people playing the kids card whose kids are grown and out of the house. So what is their excuse now?
- I don't work (currently). So this one is new, and true for what I am doing right now. But it has nothing to do with my past and how I got to be where I am today.
I am not at all implying that everyone acts this way. But plenty of fellow athletes do. What do any of the above have to do with someone having a poor diet and being overweight? Nothing. What do any of the above have to do with someone overreaching either at race distance or fantasy race times? Nothing. A person should race at a distance for which they have the appropriate amount of time available to train (and recover from). Why bother doing long course triathlon if all you are going to do is complain about how you can't train enough or have crappy race times? I have never understood this mentality. I try my best to just smile and keep my mouth shut when these things come up, although the older I get the harder it is. The fact is I've worked my ass off for many years. It has been at my own choosing. I never complained about how I don't get any help at home or when I'm working 65 hours in a week. I've accepted what I've been able to do with no excuses. I've trained at a level consistent with the distances I'm racing. I've never had a "perfect" diet, but I've managed myself so that I don't find myself needing to lose 10+ pounds.
The only thing I am highly aware of is my age now. It would be nice to have started all this nonsense when I was much younger, but I suppose that is just another reason why I am trying to make the most of my fitness while I still have it. When something tells me to stop, then I will. Until then, I'm going to keep on keeping on with NO EXCUSES.