Over the past week I have done a lot of thinking. Returning to a normal schedule has emphasized what I choose to allow into my schedule and what I have eliminated as a result. The start of August emphasized just how little summer is left, which really means there is not much triathlon season left.
I have done two triathlons this year. Yes, one was the longest race I’ve ever done, and I was training for it for five months, but normally at this point in the summer I am in full-on triathlon mode, and I honestly haven’t even ridden my bike in over a month. I’m pretty ashamed to say that I haven’t swum since the Latta Triathlon in June. Have I ceased being a triathlete?
I’ve been struggling with defining myself as an athlete the past few months. In the back of my mind, the idea of “Ironman” is just hanging out. Yep, that’s right. I am seriously considering Ironman. However, I have been almost exclusively a runner all summer. My relationship with running has solidified, but my identity as a triathlete has suffered. I had planned to race at least 5 triathlons this season, but with a measly two under my belt, I am in no shape to embark upon another race.
What to do?
Part of me thinks I could dive into training immediately and maybe be ready for the International in September. I could almost certainly start training and compete in another sprint by the end of the season.
On the other hand, I could reintegrate swimming and biking as valuable marathon cross-training and give this marathon season everything I have, without shifting focus to triathlon races in the meantime.
I know that my identity as an athlete has evolved over several years. The past two seasons have been primarily focused on running, but at the same time I embarked on my longest triathlon, which was my gateway into the world of fitness. I hate to see that focus shifting away, but maybe in the short-term it will allow me to approach Ironman training with a renewed fervor. It feels like a loss, but I also lack the motivation for triathlon that I had earlier in the year.
What do you think? Should I pick triathlon training back up and try to compete through the end of the season, or should I focus on marathon training and reacquaint myself with triathlon next year?