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Retiring from something other than work
Old 07-25-2014, 10:38 AM   #1
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Retiring from something other than work

So, as I've mentioned before, I've been a competitive (high-level age group) triathlete for about 12 years now. This was after a "career" as a runner up to college, then a few years off, and picking up endurance sports again in my mid-20s.

I've been competing athletically in some way for most of my life, and I've long felt more centered when I've got some competitive goal in mind for which I'm training. It helps me watch my diet, ensures I stay in shape, and gives me something to occupy my free time as well. One goal of mine in ER may be to complete the Hawaii Ironman, as I haven't had time to do so in my working life. That's a goal I've had for about a decade, though it's still probably five or more years off given my work responsibilities.

Lately I've been thinking about life after competitive sports. Swimming, cycling, and running to get faster and continue competing for low-level sponsorships and such sometimes feels like a chore. I'll knock out today's swim and feel accomplished, but in the back of my mind I know I have a bike ride and a run tomorrow. Rinse, repeat. There's no real "relaxation" in-season, and that season is about 10 months long.

At age 37, my speed is starting to decline, but as an age-grouper, so is that of my competition. My overall placement trails what it was when I was 31, but I still break out well in my AG. That's both good and bad... I think it'd be easier to walk away placing 25th than it will be placing 2nd in my competitive category ... that whole, "I've still got it" thing sits in my mind, urging me ever onward.

My sport takes a toll on my wife and our time together, our ability to plan outings, fun weekends, and longer trips. Vacations in the summer are peppered with the lingering thought of, "I need to go for a run today" instead of, "let's drink Hurricanes on the beach!" She patiently waits on weekends while I finish my training, and, as she points out, she often gets what's left over after I'm done beating myself on my bike.

I know that some day I will stop doing triathlon competitively. I won't want to train the 6-15 or more hours a week to sustain my current level of competition. I know that I won't want to get up at 4:30AM to race anymore. I won't want to feel guilty about a burger and a beer four nights before a race. I won't want my wife to have to feel as though she's second to my sport.

I worry about what will fill that competitive void. In my mind, it's similar to giving up work... what occupies that time? It's much easier for me to figure things to replace a job that I don't always care for than it is for me to think of things that will replace this passion that's filled time and provided direction for so long. Work just doesn't ignite the same fire for me; maybe it does for some others on here, so maybe your 'walking away from your career stories' would be germane.

I enjoy cycling. I enjoy running. If I never swam again, I'd be fine with that. I just don't know if I can bike/run without feeling like I need to try to win, you know? And sometimes I worry that when I start, say, playing golf, I'm going to feel the need to be as good at it as I possibly can, just replacing triathlon with golf.

So, my question for the wise on this board is, when the time came to give up a real passion because the drive wasn't there anymore, what did you do to fill that void? Was it some smaller, less all-consuming version of it? Did you quit cold turkey and start something else?

How did/would you manage the disappointment of knowing you were capable of doing something much better than you can now because you no longer dedicate or want to dedicate as much time/effort to it? (For me, if I go run a 5K for fun in a few years without formally training, I'm probably going to get wrapped around the axle about my time... just how I've been wired my whole life!)
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:43 AM   #2
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:32 AM   #3
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I feel your pain. I used to to run quite a bit. I got to the point where I always finished in the top 3 in my age bracket in 5k's after I turned 55. Did well in a sprint triathlon. Started to get the competitive itch and trained harder to get faster. But I eventually overdid it and developed knee and hip problems. So I quit running a couple of years ago. Now I'm over the joint problems and am considering getting back into running 5k's. But I think I would be devastated if I didn't match my old times or win my age bracket.

In the past 2 years, I've replaced running with hiking. And I do a lot of walking as training for my hikes. Luckily my competitive urges have subsided to the point where I only try to walk/hike farther than I did previously. Even though I may be capable of getting back into competitive running shape, I don't for 2 reasons. 1 - the nagging injurings make it not worth it. 2. - Like you, I'd be torqued if I didn't do well. So I'll stick to hiking.
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:40 AM   #4
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If you had 6 months to live, but were healthy in the mean time, would you spend it on sports and working full time or time with your wife? Do you and your wife have a shared vision of life 5 to 10 years from now? Can you be happy biking with your wife or holding hands taking a long walk on a beach for exercise?

What are your wife's goals and dreams? What can you do to support them?

Do you have a life plan together with tasks and milestones you can check off to support that plan and work towards it together?

I guess one of the hazards of being former project managers is that we run our personal lives like that, so we always have long term plans and schedules we hash out and mesh together.

We have our own hobbies and clubs but really our main leisure interests are outings like going to gardens, museums, hikes in the Redwoods, drives to wine country, etc. together and I like that. It would feel lonely to not have DH wanting to do the things I enjoy most with me.
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:21 PM   #5
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Good questions all...

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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
If you had 6 months to live, but were healthy in the mean time, would you spend it on sports and working full time or time with your wife? Do you and your wife have a shared vision of life 5 to 10 years from now? Can you be happy biking with your wife or holding hands taking a long walk on a beach for exercise?
I wouldn't train for nor compete in any sport. I would soak up the remainder of my life with my wife, spending time with her doing the things she wanted to do - easy beach cruise bike rides, hikes, long walks.

I think we have a shared vision in terms of early retirement - mine earlier than hers as she loves her job - and the finding ways to spend time together, hiking, etc. I think I want to do more of that with her in time than I care about racing.

She knows of my goal to compete in the Ironman, and generally supports it so long as it's not going to impact "us" too much. The only way I'll ever make that happen is with her support, and without a full-time job!

Quote:
What are your wife's goals and dreams? What can you do to support them?
She always wanted to work for the USOC then the IOC, but that's kind of fallen through now that she left the USOC for greener pastures. It is important to her to be impressive, so I think she'll seek out more responsibilty at work eventually, but she loves what she does now, so who knows? I don't think she's got her finger on what her new, personal aspirations are.

Quote:
Do you have a life plan together with tasks and milestones you can check off to support that plan and work towards it together?
We have our financial plan. We're nailing down the kids thing (I'm 37 and she's 33), and we have "The List" of things we'd like to do together. We're at least five years from retirement, probably more, but we do talk about where we would like to settle but at this point it's kind of pie-in-the-sky stuff. Five years is a long time and things will change!

I think I can channel some of this competitiveness to being the best husband I can to her. We share many similar interests - watching/attending sports, being active (though in different ways right now, mine far more intense), travel, wine.

I have a little bit of a plan of how I want to stay in shape over the long haul, and it's far less intensive and time-consuming (weight lifting 2-3 times per week, walking/easy riding, "playing", maybe the occasional run or ride when the spirit moves me). A lot of that we can do together... now if I could just interest her in golf. She likes playing tennis, but long ago gave up the real competitive drive and plays for fun (of course she wants to win). That's a potential "together" thing too, since I took lessons growing up - though I suck now! - and could use that as a small competitive outlet in the future.

I think that's the biggest difference in our wiring: for some reason, I'm still chasing dreams and competitive aspirations, and she was able to turn those off (or refocus them) when she was done competing as a gymnast after college...
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:35 PM   #6
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I didn't mean to pry - they were just more food for thought questions. And I am not smart enough to make them up myself - they are from John and Julie Gottman, researchers who study happy marriages for a living.

I would probably work more if it wasn't for my husband and be more competitive business wise. He is more of a seize the day, I am not working more to increase the kids inheritance kind of guy, so I have come around more to his way of thinking over time.

Maybe you can find sports that you can do more together like rafting, orienteering, racquet ball, hiking, sailing, kayaking, camping, and archery. With something like archery you can compete and still be in the same club just different events and it is something kids could eventually do, too.
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:31 PM   #7
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I didn't mean to pry - they were just more food for thought questions. And I am not smart enough to make them up myself - they are from John and Julie Gottman, researchers who study happy marriages for a living.

I would probably work more if it wasn't for my husband and be more competitive business wise. He is more of a seize the day, I am not working more to increase the kids inheritance kind of guy, so I have come around more to his way of thinking over time.

Maybe you can find sports that you can do more together like rafting, orienteering, racquet ball, hiking, sailing, kayaking, camping, and archery. With something like archery you can compete and still be in the same club just different events and it is something kids could eventually do, too.
Writing that out helped me think. I like competitive sports like tennis, and that may be the best way to go - something I can do that can still be a solo outlet, but that I can also do with DW.

Trouble will still be deciding if I want to slog it out for Ironman or not!
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:36 PM   #8
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nash031,

I hear you. It is hard to retire from competitive sports. I did it once at age 22 (boxing), and then at 47 (soccer). Boxing was something I was trained since 10, with goal of getting to the Olympics and then to be a world champion. Unfortunately, God didn't give me the tools and no amount of hard work and determination were going to change that. To retire at age 22 for something you did for more than half of your life was tough, especially, when I didn't even reach peak of my physical strength.

I played soccer at recreation but competitive level until 47. By then, I had too many injuries and was becoming more prone to them every day. My knees hurt for 3 days after each match and it was time to hang up my soccer shoes. That was another sad retirement of sort.

Now I play golf but it just does not have the same excitement as boxing or soccer. It will be another sad day when I am forced to retire from golf.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:15 PM   #9
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It has kind of been "the long good night" for me in this area. Sports has always been my life. I stay fit still, but not on the level you are, Nash. Running shifted to long hill walks 10 years ago to preserve the knees and back.... Tennis was retired about 5 years ago because I could only play one way, and that was all out, and my knees just couldn't take it. 15 years ago I couldn't pick up a golf club unless there was money bet on every hole, and clubs to thrown and cussed at when I didn't win... Now I continue playing golf but do so for exercise by walking and often with friends to scramble for fun. I have just learned to slowly mellow out. One exception and this one I will never give up because I have to have a competitive sports outlet... Sports betting...That gives me a competitive high without the stress on the knees or back. Ya, there is stress but that is the thrill of the chase and win...my wallet can handle the grind, but knees and back can't.


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Old 07-25-2014, 08:34 PM   #10
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It has kind of been "the long good night" for me in this area. Sports has always been my life. I stay fit still, but not on the level you are, Nash. Running shifted to long hill walks 10 years ago to preserve the knees and back.... Tennis was retired about 5 years ago because I could only play one way, and that was all out, and my knees just couldn't take it. 15 years ago I couldn't pick up a golf club unless there was money bet on every hole, and clubs to thrown and cussed at when I didn't win... Now I continue playing golf but do so for exercise by walking and often with friends to scramble for fun. I have just learned to slowly mellow out. One exception and this one I will never give up because I have to have a competitive sports outlet... Sports betting...That gives me a competitive high without the stress on the knees or back. Ya, there is stress but that is the thrill of the chase and win...my wallet can handle the grind, but knees and back can't.
I'm a "few times a year" sports bettor. OCD and addiction runs in my family, so I won't let myself get into that. Triathlon manages a lot of my OCD by giving it an outlet. I worry that without that sport to "obsess" over, it will manifest in some other way: "bugs" like my grandmother, "kids" like my sister, anorexia like my other sister, alcoholism like my uncle and grandparents (they're all related)... anyway, I do pretty well managing now, and I think I'm less a headcase like that than the women in my family. Good to be aware of that kind of thing so I know what to look out for!

Golf will be there for me because I enjoy it, and I love the walk. Tennis might be good, but I might also drive my wife nuts. I don't want to ruin her outlet, so I'd need to figure that one out.

But I think the long slow good night is good... mellowing out sounds good when you're 8 months into your 10 month triathlon season. By next January, I'll probably be crawling out of my skin to train again.

... but eventually, it'll come to an end because I know I don't want to train like this forever...
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:49 PM   #11
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I'm a "few times a year" sports bettor. OCD and addiction runs in my family, so I won't let myself get into that. Triathlon manages a lot of my OCD by giving it an outlet. I worry that without that sport to "obsess" over, it will manifest in some other way: "bugs" like my grandmother, "kids" like my sister, anorexia like my other sister, alcoholism like my uncle and grandparents (they're all related)... anyway, I do pretty well managing now, and I think I'm less a headcase like that than the women in my family. Good to be aware of that kind of thing so I know what to look out for!

Golf will be there for me because I enjoy it, and I love the walk. Tennis might be good, but I might also drive my wife nuts. I don't want to ruin her outlet, so I'd need to figure that one out.

But I think the long slow good night is good... mellowing out sounds good when you're 8 months into your 10 month triathlon season. By next January, I'll probably be crawling out of my skin to train again.

... but eventually, it'll come to an end because I know I don't want to train like this forever...

The body definitely will tell you when it's time. I am by no means a "crippled" person, but I am not gonna push through what my body is telling me to do. About 40 is when "the long slow goodnight" began. And I fought through it some, but I knew when it was time for the endeavors to end. There will be enough transition time to mentally prepare you. Concerning the sports betting, I budget a certain amount for the year, and only a couple times a year I go to Vegas with attitude of betting on anything me, my friends, and the beer determine. Most of it I lay on year long season futures bets and let them play out over a seasons time, and I get daily/weekly enjoyment from it. For example my NFL season bets this year are the Lions 8 over, Bears 8 over, and Steelers 8.5 over...usually I do pretty good and I get a bonus trip in January to collect!


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Old 07-26-2014, 01:01 AM   #12
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... One goal of mine in ER may be to complete the Hawaii Ironman, as I haven't had time to do so in my working life. That's a goal I've had for about a decade, though it's still probably five or more years off given my work responsibilities...

... I think it'd be easier to walk away placing 25th than it will be placing 2nd in my competitive category ... that whole, "I've still got it" thing sits in my mind, urging me ever onward.
If a long-standing goal of yours has been competing in the Hawaii Ironman, it might make sense for you to go for it. If you are fortunate to place 25th, you and your wife are in luck. And, I'm guessing that if you have a kid or two in the next five years, the odds are that you won't be finishing 2nd in the Ironman in any category--unless they have a divorced father category. Even then, I bet the competition would be tough. Can you imagine finishing 25th in that category?
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Old 07-26-2014, 01:37 PM   #13
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If a long-standing goal of yours has been competing in the Hawaii Ironman, it might make sense for you to go for it. If you are fortunate to place 25th, you and your wife are in luck. And, I'm guessing that if you have a kid or two in the next five years, the odds are that you won't be finishing 2nd in the Ironman in any category--unless they have a divorced father category. Even then, I bet the competition would be tough. Can you imagine finishing 25th in that category?
Unfortunately, I know several divorcee Ironman competitors, and a couple who (to my knowledge) have never had a significant other. It's such a time commitment that I cannot imagine doing it while employed full-time. Even part-time at 30hrs would be a stretch. Training to finish Ironman, let alone compete, is a part time job. That's why I've always pushed it till past 40, and recently into an "early retirement" pursuit.

I'm not willing to sacrifice my marriage, or even my wife's happiness in any reasonable fashion, just to fulfill some dream of crossing the Kona finish line.

Who knows? When I do my first qualifier, I may decide that's enough. Perhaps hearing, "nash031, YOU are an Ironman" for the first time would scratch that itch.

I finished top 20 in the 25-29 AG in the only 70.3 I ever did, and I was single at the time. No, placing 2nd in my AG at Kona is not a realistic goal for me - at least not one I would ever want to spend the time/effort pursuing. I'd like to qualify for Kona (which usually means top 10-15 in category at an Ironman qualifying event), and I think that may be achievable for me.

We'll see if my heart is still in it come January when this season is past and it's time to strap up again...
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Old 07-26-2014, 01:58 PM   #14
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As an uncoordinated, fundamentally lazy person, I have to admit I don't quite understand the interest in most competitive sports, but maybe because that is just because I am not good at any of them.

If it doesn't pay anything, it is not a social activity like a softball or bowling team where you go to the pub and get to drink beer afterwards, it makes your spouse unhappy, takes away family time, and it causes pain and injury, what keeps you motivated to put in so much effort?

One of my friends complained that the yoga books and acupressure tools I loaned him didn't work - that he still had pain return every time he rode his bike 200 miles in one day. I never really got why not riding his bike 200 miles (in his fifties) wasn't preferable to living in pain.
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Old 07-26-2014, 02:05 PM   #15
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So, my question for the wise on this board is, when the time came to give up a real passion because the drive wasn't there anymore, what did you do to fill that void? Was it some smaller, less all-consuming version of it? Did you quit cold turkey and start something else?

How did/would you manage the disappointment of knowing you were capable of doing something much better than you can now because you no longer dedicate or want to dedicate as much time/effort to it?

nash, these are great Qs ... and nice replies from the board/members

To your Qs, I can speak from experience of ~ 15 yrs of very high level competitive swimming (NCAA Div I, etc) ... followed by about 3 yrs of trying to be a high level amateur bike racer (Cat III) .. and then about 12 yrs as a competitive AG triathlete in distances from sprint to IM ... 3 IMs, 10 HIMs and too many Sprints and Olys to count.

Bottom line is that I first lost the hunger to train as much (length, intensity, focus, etc), particularly after doing 2x IM in one calendar year. Also helped that DW made it pretty clear that while she fully supported competitive sports (she plays high level USTA tennis), both she and DD and DS were tired of Iron-Dad weekends where I was out for a 6 hr ride Sat and 3 hr run on Sun and otherwise sleeping or at work.

Those two combined to lead me to do shorter events, which are a lot of fun but candidly less challenging over time. And as you note, the body also gets pretty beat up and I began to develop a number of running related injuries when I got to be about 45 that just took a toll and made running less fun/enjoyable.

After a while I got tired of being sore and tired most of the time for 9-10 months a year. And realized that I was being a less than great husband and father by being perpetually tired, irritable and focused on training to the point where I wouldn't want to go out for drinks on a Fri or Sat night b/c of the next days' training and would ask dinner party guests to leave our home so I could go to sleep at 9:30 on those same nights of the week. Plus, every vacation we took had to be planned with running and swimming options in mind or serious bike rentals available.

I realized that not only could I still be reasonably fit, but could also take up two or three other passions to replace the training/racing time as well as emotional and financial costs of doing triathlon. Like you, I know many divorced triathletes and did not want to get there in any way.

So, I quit racing cold turkey. And I have no real regrets. Over the past year, I've changed what I do from focused training with a plan, metrics and gadgets to much less focused sessions w/o specific goals. I go surfing, paddling, swimming, rock climbing, running and sometimes do strength/core at the gym. Little or no cycling and though I do miss that, I don't miss the slavish dedication to it. I may go back to cycling, but not soon .. and will do so for exercise and a social outlet with competing as a clear second or third-best objective.


It also has allowed me to have a much better shot and spending quality time with my teen kids doing things THEY like while they still want to spend time with me - and that's time I can't get back.

Last thing I will say is that my observation is that many people have probably 3-4 yrs at most of focused IM training they can do before they just drift to other things, get injured, burned out, divorced or some combination of all of those. I've seen it dozens of times and no matter people's age, it seems to happen in well over 50-60% of the triathletes I know.

FWIW, I'd suggest taking a good long break at the end of your season this year .. and then start back slowly w/o any structure or goals for 1-2 months. By then you'll know what you want to do. I have done this in the past and once I went back full bore and the second time, I knew I was done.
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Old 07-26-2014, 03:08 PM   #16
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If it doesn't pay anything, it is not a social activity like a softball or bowling team where you go to the pub and get to drink beer afterwards, it makes your spouse unhappy, takes away family time, and it causes pain and injury, what keeps you motivated to put in so much effort?
Well, it does pay me a little bit, but only in the form of equipment sponsorships so I guess I get to do the sport at a discounted rate.

It doesn't cause pain and injury. The type of "pain" it does cause comes from pushing myself, and is extremely satisfying.

It's a mental challenge - how hard can I push myself? - and has made me infinitely more capable of handling life's challenges than had I not participated.

It doesn't make my wife unhappy. Like all things, there's a balance and I work hard at achieving it. I just know that someday soon, I won't want to work at this anymore.
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Old 07-26-2014, 03:17 PM   #17
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I realized that not only could I still be reasonably fit, but could also take up two or three other passions to replace the training/racing time as well as emotional and financial costs of doing triathlon. Like you, I know many divorced triathletes and did not want to get there in any way.

So, I quit racing cold turkey. And I have no real regrets. Over the past year, I've changed what I do from focused training with a plan, metrics and gadgets to much less focused sessions w/o specific goals. I go surfing, paddling, swimming, rock climbing, running and sometimes do strength/core at the gym. Little or no cycling and though I do miss that, I don't miss the slavish dedication to it. I may go back to cycling, but not soon .. and will do so for exercise and a social outlet with competing as a clear second or third-best objective.

FWIW, I'd suggest taking a good long break at the end of your season this year .. and then start back slowly w/o any structure or goals for 1-2 months. By then you'll know what you want to do. I have done this in the past and once I went back full bore and the second time, I knew I was done.
Thanks Tim, this makes all kinds of sense.

I talked to DW about this some last night. As I previously mentioned, she's a former collegiate gymnast. She said she cried when competed for the last time - but she knew it going in. When she graduated and moved to NJ, she picked up tennis, but started coaching gymnastics so she could stay involved with her sport.

I suspect your path will be mine: pick up a few other smaller pursuits to balance the loss of one big one - pick up tennis to play with DW, interested in paddleboarding, and I've always enjoyed golf.

The question now is, pursue that IM goal or not? It is likely a few years off, and I could certainly take a haitus for a year or two - I have had to before for deployments, etc. Maybe that would recharge me. Then again, to do IM, I want DW's support and I won't pursue it if it will cause some kind of problem at home. (We don't have kids yet...)

I usually do take two or more months (Nov/Dec) every year where I just piddle around and eat whatever, still working out periodically but only when I feel like it. I follow a little structure in Jan/Feb, and then start in March.

Otherwise, now seven months through this season, I am tired of being tired and sore... that's for sure.

One thing I disagree with: the shorter races are what I specialize in right now. I like them because I think they're better for you in the long run, and I've always enjoyed going fast over going long. I was an 800 guy in high school, always better at that than the 2-mile or 5K. I do like the occasional 4-hour ride in the mountains, but doing it week after week, year after year, does not appeal to me. That's why I'll do only as many IMs as it takes to qualify once... if I even do that!

Thanks again for the feedback, Tim. It definitely resonates.
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Old 07-26-2014, 03:45 PM   #18
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I've never really thought of the age group divisions as being kind of a trap, that keeps you in it because you're still competitive with the kids your own age. But maybe that incentive can keep a competitor involved longer than he should be.

For me, being a little (err, a lot) older and in a sport that doesn't take the time and energy commitment of endurance sports, it's not such a dilemma. It's more the slow erosion of skills and flexibility that occasionally make me think of retiring. I play baseball in a couple of 35 and over leagues, but my teams are both more 55 and over. And tournament season in the fall is at the over 55 level. But I just can't catch up with the fastball like I used to, definitely can't run like I used to. But it's still fun, and the social element keeps me in it. And games and practices only eat up 12 or so hours a week. So I guess it's been the smaller, less consuming version that keeps me going. I'll be really sad when I feel like I need to retire and move to hitting that smaller ball sitting on the ground. Non-competitive hiking, kayaking and mountain biking with my wife also takes up some of that excess energy.

Did give up soccer (cracked ribs and teeth playing goal kind of shut that down), and masters track, though. The body sent enough messages to let me know it was time.
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Old 07-26-2014, 04:04 PM   #19
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Thanks Tim, this makes all kinds of sense.

. That's why I'll do only as many IMs as it takes to qualify once... if I even do that!

Thanks again for the feedback, Tim. It definitely resonates.
My pleasure; Sorry for being wordy - and hope its useful.

A few more thoughts rolling around my brain reading this -

On the qualify once - I am sure you know this, but that's a high risk approach. I can't think of any US/N Am IM distance where any M30-50 is a shoe-in in anything over 10 hours. It's VERY tough to do that kind of performance, and even then you never know who's going to show up. You can have the race of your life and still not KQ on a given day depending on the performances of others. I know one guy who missed for 5 years in a row, by a COMBINED total of 22 minutes over the course of the 5 yrs and 7 IMs before he finally made it at 46 -- then he did Kona and promptly sold all his kit

In terms of when to try, from a sport perspective, its only going to get more crowded as WTC adds races around the world and the space on the pier in Kona stays the same. In order to comply with drafting rules and rack space on the pier, that HI course can only hold about 2000 people-- which means fewer and fewer slots at all IMs around the world, esp in the US. hat trend's already continuing this weekend in LP, where total slots were reduced from 100 to 50 (!) this year.

When to try from a family point of view is also very key. IM+young kids is very challenging. I did it, but would not again for all the stress it caused. So either take your shot b/f kids or wait until they're older. IMHO that's why you see so many people 'back' to IM distance after 50 (empty nest or RE or both frees up time to train).

Finally, in terms of making a Kona run, consider making a 2-3 year plan where you're spending time training to train and racing 70.3 events and perhaps learning how IM distance really feels (IM experience is a huge teacher) with a view to what kind of data/metrics you need to realistically be in Kona range -- and then pick a race and register (year ahead required anyway) .. and you'll have your chance. If you can't really see sub-10 type splits in your minds eye or historical performances, be candid w/ yourself about the time and work required to build that kind of fitness, let alone trying to apply it to an IM race day.

I'm sure you'll be a-OK whatever you decide. That you're thinking about things in this way tells alot right there.
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Old 07-26-2014, 04:17 PM   #20
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To the OP, I think that if you have been wired this way, as an obsessive competitor, you'll just switch the obsession to other things such as golf, tennis, home remodeling, sailing, gardening, etc. It is in your blood to have high expectations and work hard to achieve.

Hopefully the next obsession will be something your wife can also enjoy.
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