Friday, January 22, 2010


My re-occurring fight with temptation from my well-meaning friends reared its head this week.  Temptation kind of sort of won, but not completely.

I thought about the evening run I had planned as I arrived home from work.  As I threw my keys on the table, the phone rang.  It was a friend asking me to meet her at one of the bars in town (we may only have 150 people in three towns that makes up The Forks area, but we have 5 bars).  I stammered and started to decline (this screws up my plan for my evening run), she really wanted to see me, so in the end I relented and told her I would meet her in half an hour.  Crap.  I really wanted to run, but my friend really wanted me to meet her at the bar, and it would be cool to see her.  Damn my stupid need to make other people happy and socialize.  OK fine, I decide I will run early am tomorrow for sure.

So I go.  I think I am going to have one glass of wine and head back home - too much wine makes me sleep past 5am.  Maybe I could get a spin on the trainer when I get back, that would be cool.  The problems is that one glass of wine with my friends generally leads to two to four bottles, depending on the mood of the group.  I could tell my friend was in a two bottle mood. 

On the first glass, I made it clear that I was only having this one glass of wine and then heading home.   My friend nodded, buying a second glass of wine for each of us.

OK two glasses, that is it though, I have to get up in the morning to run.

As I tried to decline the third glass, she asked me when my next big race is.  I stared at the wine, ordered a water, and told her really my first race is the Sugarloaf Marathon in May, but my big key race is the Timberman Half Ironman in August.

I put up some money to pay my part of the bill as I talked, wanting that third glass of wine, knowing I shouldn't take it because it will lead to a fourth glass, and eventually, sleeping in and missing my run. Again.  I tried to push the glass towards my friend.

She just looks at me, uncomprehending.  She says, "So you can't have another glass of wine with me tonight because you have a race in August?"

Um.  Well.  Yes. No.  Sorta. Not really.  It isn't that.  I tell her that I have a marathon in May, which really is only 16 weeks away.

"May?"  Again the blank stare.

I say that I am trying to form good habits and a strong base now in the off season.

Crickets.  I think I hear crickets.

What do you say to someone who thinks it is cool you are their friend Mandy the triathlete, but really misses the Mandy who was the life of the party?  Who finds this new Mandy kind of...well, boring?

See, my friends are all extremely supportive of my races - they go, cheer me on, if they can't come they always ask how things went.  I am so lucky for that.  Although they support me competing, I am not sure they are in support of me training.  I don't think many of them really understand why I do this, nor what it takes to get to the starting line ready to roll.  I want to do more than finish my key races, I want to finish them strongly.

I like who I am now much better than who I was a year ago.  Triathlon has made me more focused, stronger, and more sure of who I am and who I want to be.  But since I started triathlon, I quit going out, staying up late, drinking to excess - all of which means I quit being the life of the party.

I don't miss it at all.  The problem is, that is the Mandy who my friends all seem to miss so much, the one they are always trying to draw back out.  I sometimes think that in my friends eyes, they look at me now and think it is cool that I am a triathlete, but they feel like they just lost a good drinking buddy.

How do you balance the two?  I am still figuring that out.  I decided to take the dishonest route.  When all else fails deception and the bait and switch work. 

I held onto the third glass of wine while we talked and my friend finished her glass.  She got up to use the restroom, and I switched glasses with her.  When she got back, she smiled and thanked me for buying her a round.  I didn't tell her the difference...


Jim Barry said...

I LOVE an after-work beer. But to get the hours of training I need I have to give this habit up. Alcohol is pretty evil for the athlete, but it's really great when the time opens up again and the drinks flow with good friends.

Sacrifice and Bliss!

Caratunk Girl said...

Yeah, I totally agree! I love a beer after work, after a race, and with friends - I probably will have one or two tonight! But, if I do too much of that, I can't get up to train.

Claire said...

I think if they're not into doing it themselves...they just don't quite 'get' the work that goes into it.

Honestly it isn't really a problem for me anymore...they've kind of given up on me as a lost cause...and take me when they can get me.

The perfect balance...? I don't think there is one...just the perfect balance for that specific time.

H2O Audio - Beat The Boredom