If We Were Riding’ is a weekly triathlon-ish newsletter written by Kelly O’Mara and produced by Live Feisty Media. Subscribe to get it in your inbox every Wednesday morning. You can also read past issues. This episode is from Jan. 9, 2019.
OK, the holidays are officially over and we’re all back to work and totally up to speed, right? Uh, right??
I’m still coughing from a cold turned into bronchitis and I still can only find 40% of my stuff post-move. My massive easy hour-long daily workouts are wiping me out and I can’t seem to catch up on work. But other than that, 2019 is off to a great start. Welcome back to our regularly scheduled programming.
What makes a good training spot?
This is a picture from my new bike route today. We moved a week ago and I’m trying to figure out the best routes, the best training spots and groups, the best routines. Sara and I talked about it on Friday’s podcast: What makes a good training location?
Here are some of the requirements we came up with:
- Good weather is so obvious I actually forgot to include it in our initial list. Sure, snow and sleet and ice and hail are fun sometimes, but not all the time, not for triathlon training.
- Ditto for safety. It’s obvious, but you gotta feel like you can train solo without worry and without getting run over or mugged or bit by a stray dog.
- A big requirement for me is the ability to bike from home. I hate driving to ride. It’s not practical for efficiency or weekdays.
- Same with running, though the parameters for running out the door are less stringent. You just need to have a least a short run you can do through your neighborhood; there’s got to be something you can jog around.
- Trailheads nearby for longer runs are also key.
- And a pool has to be within a 10-15 minutes drive. If you’re swimming 5-7x/week, you can’t be wasting time getting to the pool.
After those requirements, you start to hit on a certain ineffable quality. What makes great training locations great? The people, the groups, the concentration of talent, the varied topography? There’s something to knowing you can always find training partners. And there’s something to be surrounded by so many good athletes it starts to seem normal. In a way, you never want to be the best person around.
What do you look for in a training location?
The exhaustion of a generation
Subtitled: Stop trying to optimize and declutter everything.
I’m tired. Not in a way that can just be resolved with a vacation to the beach. In a deep systemic structural way. And so is pretty much everyone I know—the people who’s lives are going great, the people who’s lives should be going great but they’re deeply fatigued, the people following their bliss, the people not, everyone. Maybe that’s why so many of those people shared this article with me this week: How Millenials Became the Burnout Generation.
It’s not like the writer got every single thing 100% right, but still. It reminded me of other reporting being done on how the structural system is failing under our generation. We’ve been told, since we were kids, to optimize our lives, to get the most out of everything. We worked harder and hustled more and it was all supposed to pay off eventually. But the social civic systems we were promised are eroding. Mostly, you don’t get and keep a job for life anymore. At increasing numbers, you hustle and cobble together side gigs, none of which come with benefits. You don’t have a plan for retirement, because that won’t be around either. You are loaded down with student debt and can’t buy into the housing system that’s supposed to keep you stable into your old age. And the only solution is to hustle harder, work more, squeeze every bit of passion you can out of each minute. If you feel overwhelmed, it’s probably just because you haven’t found the right self-care life hack yet.
This sounds depressing, but it’s not. It’d be depressing pretending you were the only one burned out. Like you failed. You’re not and you didn’t.
I read this article on the heels of everyone obsessing lately over declutteringand organizing their lives, optimizing their joy. It seems connected. I’m all about being efficient, but maybe we don’t have to be so efficient we forget to do the inefficient stuff too. That stuff is the life stuff. Maybe it’s OK to have a blow up shark pool floaty even if it *is* clutter, just because. Maybe it’s OK to have time where you aren’t doing anything productive at all, where you aren’t on brand.
Maybe Millenials aren’t lazy; maybe we’re just worn out.
- In super gossip-y triathlon news, the ‘twitch is tracking sponsor changes. Seems like there are a lot of people switching bikes this year and at least a few athletes leaving Specialized. (Though every case is unique and special and I’m sure specific to their individual circumstances.)
- USA Triathlon also got a new sponsor, a fancy sponsor: Toyota.
- And there are some new female-focused sports outlets worth following: The Kick and Fast Women are both newsletter all about running. The Gistreminds me of The Skimm except about sports—right down to the vaguely feminine, not sure if it’s insulting, tone. And Allie Keiffer is the latest athlete to launch a Youtube channel.
- Team USA’s top women of the year. And the men.
- This 92-year-old has five race walking world records.
- Two men were going head-to-head last week to become the first person to cross Antartica unassisted. Colin O’Brady “won” with a massive 77-mile last day. Except the feat really had already been accomplished, and on a longer route, 22 years ago.
- Russia missed a Dec. 31 deadline to turn over data from their anti-doping lab. (Shocking.) A number of agencies are calling for their ban and WADA is finally getting access to the lab a week later. Which seems totally and completely legit.
- A study of ultramarathoners finds they are motivated by something besides winning or even finishing races. “The more ultramarathons they finished, the less driven they were by external factors like competition and recognition.“
- Stupid rules like this are basically why everyone thinks the NCAA and high school eligibility stuff is a joke.
- We should all eat roadkill. Like Alaskans.
- What if our parks are being irreversibly damaged during this shutdown bullshit?
- And just because it’s cool: MIT created living plants that glow. Wouldn’t it be fun to have glowing trees line the street instead of streetlights?
Comments & thoughts
Some thoughts, emails, messages and notes from listeners and readers this week.
– People went out of their way to congratulate me on putting my goals “out there.” Thanks guys. I guess we’ll see how it works out. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be in the newsletter and on the podcast.
– Colleen says, “This is my favorite read of the week!” and Arielle says the podcast “even makes pool running enjoyable!” So there you go.
– Add another vote to the ‘we should stay niche’ column, though Karmen thinks it’s just good marketing. How many other triathlon-ish women-produced newsletters and podcasts are there?