Posted by: pursuingsub17 | February 22, 2011

A triathlete’s right to be selfish

Well, it’s started already. My boss is putting excessive stress on me, asking me to come in without pay on my days off to drive her children to school (when I should be training). I have friends wanting to meet me for movies, dinner, or brunch and family members making excessive demands even though I say it’s training season, as well as people I barely know wanting to get to know me better by saying – not asking – saying, “we HAVE to go out!” No. No we don’t and excuse me for saying “I”M FIRST”

Wow. I totally get why triathletes have to develop a thick skin when people say they’re selfish. I’ve been the pleasing type my whole life. I say yes when I don’t want to go or can’t just because I’m worried I’ll dissappoint someone. This year it has to stop. I told myself January 1st that this year, I come first. So what happens? This year, so far, has been the WORST for people putting demands on me.

I keep remembering something an old co-worker of Marc’s said. He had had a nervous breakdown and had to quit his job managing Staples. He told us that he told his counsellor that he felt like a pie and everyone wanted a piece of him and they kept taking and taking and he’d give until there was nothing left for himself. That’s what I feel like right now.

I give and give 6.5 months of the year. Why can’t the 5.5 months that I need for focusing on training be for me? I’m not asking any of my friends, family or people who want to be my friend anything of them but respect for the fact that I’m training so please – do not say “I’d like to see you” or “I need you to do this for me.” Because right now, I need you to leave me alone for half a year because I need myself.

This is to those of you who have a triathlete in your life – whether they are your spouse, friend, family member (cousin, spouse’s 2nd cousin), or employee. Do not put that pressure on them. Do not get huffy and say mean things because that person can’t be with you for something. Understand that if you ask, and they say “I’d love to but I have a 3 hour bike that day,” that they don’t mean to be rude and it’s not that they don’t want to see you but they have a commitment that is very important to them.

I have made the commitment to improve my time at Sylvan Lake half iron. I want to do better than last year. I want to feel like I’ve finally accomplished something in my life – winning over my demons to do something spectacular for me. I have spent half my year bending over backwards for everyone in my life so – yes – I have the right to be selfish. I have the right to have a personal goal and work towards it. It isn’t an unhealthy goal and it means something to me. By showing disrespect for that, the people in my life have basically told me that they don’t care about my needs and aspirations. To me, THAT’s selfish.

A triathlete has a right to pursue their goal – first place finisher or just to finish. In order to do so, sacrifices need to be made. Just remember they’re temporary.


  1. I find this sport so fascinating.. I love reading all the training as I am looking to eventually complete one of these myself.. cheers

  2. I have the same problem, and I need to learn to just say no to those people who make demands of me. Sometimes I feel like my friends are trying to subconsciously sabotage my goals because they can’t see how it could be important to me to train instead going for dinner. I have even tried to incorporate social activities into my training, ie) going for a run/bikeswim with friends, but then after an hour they’re done, and I need to keep going….doesn’t work well either…I feel your pain 😦

    • It’s tough to do without coming across as being rude or anti-social. I’ve been working out on occasion with a friend of mine but once the runs and bikes start getting longer, that will be tough to do. I think all of this is teaching me to be a little thick skinned when I have to. Important thing is that if this is your goal, you have to do what’s right for yourself.

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