I have come to realize that a focus on athletic performance makes me more likely to make mistakes.
What sort of mistakes?
Getting caught in a cycle of beat down and amp up to compensate for excessive load.
Taking unnecessary risks with my orthopedic health
The sustained load and intensity associated with ambitious race goals pushes me towards poor decisions. In my peer group, it’s accepted, and strangely admired, when speedy athletes push themselves to orthopedic breakdown. I’m surrounded by pals that will trade their feet, joints and teeth for a little bit more.
Separate from wrecking myself, fatigue makes me too tired to participate in my marriage, family and community.
As a single young adult, I laughed at the concept of relationships. The world existed to provide me with opportunities for sex, wealth and achievement. There was too much to get done (to worry about anyone’s feelings). My identity was tied up in what I could do, and I did a lot.
So if I can’t outwork the world, then what’s next?
I’m not sure.
My random ideas of the last few years: change my sport, move to Cali, go back to school, volunteer at hospice, write my second book, an Australian sabbatical, move house… These might be explained by a search for a new identity.
In my personal strategic plan, I have a slogan, “if in doubt then wait.” As most of my ideas have proven impractical, I’ve been following my own advice and waiting. Other tips I give myself:
Keep what works
Share the passions of your favorite people
Say no to non-core activities
It’s always inconvenient to change my situation but it’s better than having an inappropriate situation change me.