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 March 13, 2019.
This weekend I headed back to Marin (where I just moved from) to cheer on Alyssa Godesky, who co-hosts Ironwomen, in her 50-mile race. While I was waiting on the sidelines, I entertained myself by taking pictures after the rain cleared and the sun came out (below) and it was one of those days where all you wanted to do was run. Speaking of Ironwomen co-hosts, Haley Chura won the Bariloche 70.3 this weekend — which to me is sort of the start of the North American season. If we were riding, we’d be talking all about what’s next. You’ve seen what’s possible, now what are you going to do.
You are the people you spend time with
There is a growing body of research that suggests your environment and who you spend time with affect not just your mood and motivation, but your actual health and performance. Far more than might have previously suspected. (Having just moved from a neighborhood of very wealthy people to a neighborhood of very not wealthy people, I also have a lot of thoughts right now about how the structures and systems we create around people also influence how they perceive the world and how they are perceived.)
From a sports standpoint, this is most summed up with the notion of squads and training partners, community. You create a habit of excellence, etc. If the saying is: You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with — then who are you?
I was thinking about this a lot this week, because if I’m an average of the five people I spend the most time with, then it’s basically me + my cats + the characters on Law and Order. And I’m not sure what that says.
Into the weeds
I did actually spend time with some of my “tribe” this weekend, watching Alyssa’s ultramarathon. Quite a few people asked why she did this random 50-miler in Marin. And the answer is: It had UTMB points. Which brings us down a hole. In the ultra world, the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc is like the world championship. And to qualify you need a minimum of 15 points earned at three races in the previous two years. And this race had four (or five?) points up for grabs.
But the bigger point (hah) is that every sport has a hole you can go down pretty quickly. A week ago, my bike fitter started explaining to me the strategy of the top Spartan Race pros and the circuit and how you qualify and how the shorter races have easier obstacles but he’d like to see that change. And if you’ve listened to Sara explain her Crossfit Open efforts on the podcast, then you know there’s a whole Crossfit universe too. Every sport has a thing and has a group. If there are other people interested in doing the thing you’re doing, then you have to assume there are people interested in the things you’re not interested in too.
The Lake San Antonio Tri?
A friend sent me this the other day: There is evidently a grassroots “Lake San Antonio Triathlon” happening in the place of Wildflower — same time and day. It appears to be a real thing from a real race director who has put on other races, but it also will be pretty small and ad hoc. Just trying to put something on in the place of the canceled race. There seem to be more and more of these grassroots random tiny spit-into-the-wind events. (Though most of the others, not this one, are unsanctioned.) If there *is* a growth of these small, ‘let’s just have a race’ races, will they eventually grow to fill the medium-sized void?
- Olympic cyclist Kelly Catlin committed suicide this past weekend and there are a growing number of questions about if a concussion sustained in a bad crash last year had an impact on her death. I don’t know, but I do know after I had a really bad concussion last year, I was in a dark place for months and it was hard to tell or to know what’s wrong. Here’s hoping we can help the future Kelly Catlins and that everyone who knew her gets through this.
- I know I said I’m not sure streaming passes are the way to watch the sports of the future, but ITU launched its new streaming live platform just in time for the Abu Dhabi race this past weekend. Which Katie Zaferes, who was on the Ironwomen podcast, won.
- The U.S. women’s soccer team filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination. The team has become a role model and icon in gender equality fights around the world.
- New track and field standards for the 2020 Olympics were announced and they’re *super* hard. 2016 Olympic Silver medalist Paul Chelimo (who is also tweeting fire on the topic) wouldn’t have even qualified under these new standards. Ostensibly, the whole point is apparently to cut down on the number of track and field athletes at the Olympics, and to use some new world ranking system no one knows much about to award the rest of the slots. This is dumb, in case you were wondering.
- Speaking of tweeting fire, The Collins Cup is now giving history lessons.
- Here are the triathletes of the year.
- There were also new rules announced for the pro fields at the Boston Marathon, after last year’s crazy race ended up with some of the amateur women running top ten times but not earning prize money. (Fully explained in the podcast back from when it happened.)
- I’m pretty sure Sara and I also detailed once how poor sports bra construction was limiting sports participation for those with larger boobs. Like, come on, it’s not as if women with big boobs are just inherently less athletic. Now there’s research suggesting breast size affects how women exercise.
- It’s women’s history month. I think. So here are some women who made running history and some in cycling.
- The New York Times dived into that amazing totally new completely unknown phenomenon of non-elite runners getting sponsors.
- The Iditarod is happening right now. I think. And Vogue is all up in it.
- In Dakar, Senegal everyone exercises, but the pollution is so bad sometimes they vomit from it.
- The World Wildlife Fund funds torture?
- And, anyway, recycling is broken.
Comments & thoughts
Some thoughts, emails, messages and notes from listeners and readers this week.
Laura wants to know about our thoughts on TUEs. I think they should be public via a list and potentially only available through certified doctors. What do you think?
After listening to last week’s podcast, Alexis says, “We should all start our days with some wisdom from Kelly’s mom.” Which we agree with.
Also. There is an agreement we should have named last week’s episdode ‘Don’t Pee Your Pants.’