I am having such an amazing time coaching 8 highly motivated athletes at this year’s BASE Tri Fit Camp! One of the most fun times we have had so far was this mornings 5:30 AM ‘black out run’. I call it a black out run because we had to deal with not only the darkness in the morning but we also had black ice everywhere! The good news was that today was more of an easy recovery day as we had 24 hours between the run and our next session Thursday AM at 5:30.
I had the opportunity to run with one of our campers who travels over an hour to get to camp. That’s right. This athlete gets up and drives basically 70 miles to get to camp. What an amazing accomplishment that is in and of itself! While running today we came upon the topic of guilt. It came up that a family member of this person had said “you really need to be spending less time running and riding, and more time taking care of your children.” This athlete is not spending an exorbitant amount of time training, at maximum 1 hour a day. This is a belief system (and according to my ‘people whisperer’ Sherry Anshara, belief systems are just B.S!). The belief system that this sibling was sharing with the athlete was a projection of guilt. The funny thing is, the sister probably thinks she is helping and being supportive, and the athlete is the one who now feels guilty because of course we want to please our families, right? If our family, people we love, are saying something is wrong, but I think it is right, now what the heck do I do?
Here’s where we all get into a sticky mess. Guilt is a positivity killer. It can create many problems from mistrust in relationships to negative self talk to depression. When we let others project their belief systems onto us, we start to emotionally invest ourselves in something that MOST LIKELY OUR AUTHENTIC SELF DOES NOT AGREE WITH. So why the heck do we give these BS’s the time of day? Because we’ve been taught to.
Continuing the conversation with the athlete in question, we talked about how exercise and sport has provided a place to clear the mind, get some space, and take a few moments in the day away from the ‘world’. Our children, husbands, wives, pets, etc all need our care, love and attention right? Well if we’re not there to take care of them, they are totally S.O.L! So screw the family members who don’t fall in line with what you know in your heart makes you a happier, better human.
“Ohhhhh, Lauren…I disagree with you! What about the husbands who neglect their wives and end up divorced because of Ironman? What about the moms who are never home because they’re always out training for hours upon hours a day?” Well dear reader, there’s always a line where healthy becomes unhealthy. In this instance there are way bigger problems than just ‘needing some space and time for yourself’. In this instance if the family hasn’t agreed to the training load or doesn’t understand where it is coming from – sure, the athlete looks like a selfish a -hole. (what? there are no selfish a-holes in triathlon or any endurance sport for that matter). What I am suggesting is that if you take a good hard look in the mirror and you know that you provide support, love, care, time, and all the rest of that ‘good stuff’ to anything living thing there is no need to feel guilt associated with that. It is an unnecessary stress that becomes attached to something that typically was or is associated with joy. Do not give anyone the power to take that freedom and happiness that you once got from a hobby just because someone else says you shouldn’t.
Ride on with a clear conscious athletes (and don’t be that a-hole selfish triathlete)