Today’s training was hard. Make no doubt about it, it was hard. My body protested and I had a bad attitude too. After yesterday’s 55 mile bike with hill work plus a two hour brick run my butt wasn’t in good humor over today’s 50 mile bike and 10 mile brick with sprint intervals. Nope, you name the body part and it didn’t want to play today.
Despite the foot stomping tamtrum I set out to complete the training.
While on the run I thought of what to say to my coach about my underwhelming excitement for the back-to-back brick days. Because, I know that while I’m stinking up the roadside he’s sitting at his computer, in front of his many Ironman finisher medals, working on my training schedule. He means well and has all of the best of intentions but doesn’t he know this tiring baby boomer needs a little TLC? I’m sure he’ll feel my pain when I tell him, "My feet are tired. Just a little sympathy, coach, just a little, right?"
Errrrr, ummmm… scratch that.
No sooner did the thought enter my sweaty head I stomped it flat.
My mind returned to 1984 and the US Army Jungle Warfare Center, Panama. During a particularly tough training day in the hot, wet, hilly, monkey-butt-stinkin’ jungle a young soldier complained to a senior sergeant about the toughness of the training. The soldier, the sergeant, me (a lieutenant) and a dozen other paratroopers had just climbed the third 1,000 foot mountain of the morning. At the summit we took a short break and prepared for the decent and eventual climb up another mountain. When the sergeant ordered the group to move out the young soldier said with exhaustion in his voice, “S-S-Sergeant, we’re tired. Can’t we have just another minute to rest? Can't you have sympathy for us?”
Nobody dared to say a word.
The sergeant walked over to him, pressed his nose against his and grizzled, “Soldier, I just climbed that hill too and I’m gonna climb more right along side of ya. What I got for you is empathy 'cause in the dictionary the word sympathy lies somewhere between shit and syphilis and that’s where it’s gonna stay!”
All kept their mouths shut but I thought to myself, “Damn, that’s a good one. Sombody give me a pen... I got to write it down.”
My coach is like the sergeant and so is anyone that holds the title, Ironman. They’ve all put in the hours and the miles before me. They can empathize about hard training because they have done it too. But as far as sympathy goes; it's just as well I don't ask for any.
I can do this.