“Why am I doing this?” On wanting to quit but not quitting

don't quitMy big Olympic distance triathlon is coming up on Sunday. I can hardly believe it’s almost here.  I’m excited, yes.

But I’ve also had the thought, “Why am I doing this?” pop into my head a few times.  That can lead to a spiral of negativity if I’m not careful.  The voice tells me it’s silly to be doing this. It tells me I’m not adequately prepared. It tells me I’m wasting my time and I’m going to embarrass myself.  Everyone else is going to be a serious triathlete with a cool bike.

Everyone else is going to blow past me on the bike leg and whoever didn’t, will fly by me on the run.  I’m going to come in last. There will be no vegan food at the finish line. My family, who is coming to cheer me on, will wonder why they bothered! Spiral, spiral, spiral. It’s a mean and discouraging voice.

Last week, it even tempted me to quit.

But there is a counter-voice in there too. And that’s the one that says doing the Olympic distance triathlon as my “fittest by 50” challenge is an amazing goal! This is the moment I’ve been training for all year.  And it’s exciting that my parents are coming to watch, and possibly other family members.

It’s the voice that tells me this will be a fun day and a huge accomplishment. Even if I come in dead last, who cares?  A year ago I didn’t even think it would be possible for me to finish such an event. This year, finishing is not even in doubt. That alone is kind of incredible.

There are all kinds of sneaky ways I can talk myself out of doing things that require long term commitment. When I was writing my book on moral responsibility I reached a point during the review process when I was this close. But I wasn’t quite there yet. And that voice showed up in my head and started telling me that this whole thing was stupid, and the book sucked, and screw the reviewer who wanted more changes.  It almost convinced me that the project I’d been working on for 12 years didn’t matter anymore.

But I believed in the book.  I enlisted some help to talk through the changes with me. And I sat down with the manuscript and did the revisions. And in the end, I wrote the best book I could and published it with my first choice press (Oxford!).

It’s that turning point moment right now, when I’m feeling like the easy way would be to just go enjoy a weekend with my family and forget about the race. But that’s not what I’ve been working for all this time.

Not surprisingly, I’m not going to quit. I’m going to go there on Sunday and let the day unfold.

I’m ready and the forecast is excellent.

Bracebridge forecast for Sunday, August 10, from Environment Canada.


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