Ever have a training plan or a racing plan drafted out in the smallest detail, then suddenly - wham! - bad strangeness sets in? Often I find that what I've laid out works good for me, seemingly, then I encounter a friend or a teammate who says, 'hey, I'm planning on doing...' Next thing I know I'm sitting in front of a beer or two with my wife, trying to figure out how can I do this and not screw up my plan for that? Naturally, I have a number of choices:
One, I can choose to not do the particular activity with the friend/teammate. I might not have the opportunity to enjoy myself by being in their particular presence, but I definitely haven't screwed up on two fronts.
Two, I can choose the activity my friend is doing rather than my originally-planned 'thing to do.' Done that before and enjoyed the daylights out of it. In fact, I've never had (that I can rightly recall) a bad Plan-B-activity. I guess you can say that the social aspects of the event far outweighed the lost opportunity cost of the discarded event. It's not always perfect, you understand. Sometimes you pay the price for not doing what you know deep down you should be doing. There's a handful of x-rays in an orthopedic consultant's office and a velcro arm sling that can attest silently to this.
Three, I can find a way to do both...if I really want to do it. How many times have I jumped into a race at the absolute last minute and sucked bilge, or run two races on a single day and felt beat up afterward? Well, a couple of times. However, I think it's all in the perspective; if you do a particular event on a lark without any preconceived (unrealistic) expectations you'll probably have more fun than you expected to. And who knows? Sometimes that's when those fleeting personal best efforts come to pass.
I guess the lesson you can take from this commentary is to have a good idea when, where, how many, and how long a distance you intend to race during a season. Do what seems best to you, not to the friend who's trying to talk you into the Murky George 100-Kilometer Slog Through The Bog or something like that. Right now, I'm thinking about whether to take a year off from racing, outside of a half-iron distance triathlon or two. Whether or not the hiatus will sharpen my desire to toe the line once again is at question. Right now, the goal is to make it to the end of December...after that, I can start thinking about my racing future. Hey, it might not hurt to take a year and just be Coach.