Monday, February 19, 2007


To avoid making exercise seem like a mindless pursuit but one with a purpose, it is important to have significant goals. They do not have to be as noble as raising money to cure cancer, or attaining inner peace and self-knowledge although that would be nice. They merely have to be enough of a motivation that it will drive you out of bed or away from the TV to work out. Because if you do reach it, you will be overcome by waves of satisfaction.

I am currently struggling to define goals that will produce this sensation. The debate centers on three choices;

1) Numbers. Given that I have completed a half Ironman and Ironman, and finally went sub- 3.30 for the marathon, any advancements in time for these distances will now be incremental. Setting personal records at any distance is satisfying. However, pushing myself on a 50-mile training ride in the hope of lowering my Vineman time from 5.47 to 5.35 seems slightly trivial.

2) Body. At six feet and 172 pounds, I am on middle ground. I am bigger than most competitive triathletes (a group to which I do not belong) but skinnier than the societal definition of buff. In short, I have recently been feeling too skinny. As I get older, I will start losing muscle mass and will probably become skinnier unless I change patterns. As in eat more and lift more to get to 180. Of course, this extra eight-to-10 pounds will directly affect my ability to hit the numbers.

3) Form. While I am a decent runner, I am a terrible swimmer, and below average biker. Rather than maintaining my asinine training approach to swimming of churning inefficient miles and expecting improvement, I should join a masters swim club and actually learn to swim. And even nail flip turns. Now that would be satisfying.

Choosing between the three does not have to be either/or. Step one in the process; go to Koret Center this afternoon, sign up for a masters swim program and weigh myself.