Two Mondays ago President Obama was sworn in for his second term. Four years ago I watched his first inauguration in-person, just a few weeks after I had started working with my first triathlon coach. At that point I was just coming to realize how many changes I would be experiencing under the new regime.
Until that point I had been entirely self-coached and probably chronically over-trained. I still remember writing my new coach an email early on, incredulous that he was having me train (relatively) so little and that I was still getting tired and that I started making gains. That email reflects equally on how oxygen-deprived my life was before his dictatorship and how much I would learn from him (and his successors). My training, combined with life, had produced an on-going fog so thick it obscured just how close to the edge I constantly strayed. Somehow I never fell (seriously) in.
Over the past four years, some of us have been plotting a course for a country and some of us have had our (training) course plotted for us. I haven't completed secret or proprietary workouts, used especially high-tech equipment, or even been threatened with time in the gulag. I've done less, and far more often than I was, I've done nothing. Case in point: I've had one complete day off, every week, since 2011. Man was I unsure. Boy did I get antsy. But when Stalin said sit on the couch, I bet people sat on the couch.
With the fog clear, I've been able to take account what not to do, rather than what to do, and when to do the not doing, and how to do the not doing when doing the not doing. However, there is a lot of doing to go along with that not doing.
Are we better off as a country? Not even going to touch that with a ten-foot pole.
Am I better off as an athlete? You don't have to hold a diet of gels and water over my head, for me to say yes, definitely.