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Who's In Charge? You or Time?

There is an entire cottage industry devoted to the topic of time management.  Who has the time to even research time management?  Search up the term (best time management books" and more than one hundred ten million (yes) links return.

Some learn by reading.  Others learn by doing.  Take up triathlon and you will learn by doing.  Your life will necessarily (certainly for Olympic or greater distance triathlons) become ruled by schedules:  Weekly training schedules, daily planning schedules that account for workouts within the rubric of all of the other priorities of the day.

Daily workouts--much less their entourage of logistical planning for gym clothes and the trip to the gym + work/family, laundry, eating, drinking (a lot of water, in addition to any other beverages of choice)--do not just happen automatically.  And they certainly cannot happen in a consistent manner just because the sun always rises. 

In choosing to pursue any endurance sport--or any long-term goal--the workout and supporting activities become a center point in your daily routine around which you will work other priorities.  They must be planned, or you will not be able to sustain their demands within a balanced life.  But done right, the triathlon training--the workouts, the nutritional emphasis, proper rest--enhances all of your other life priorities.

Novice and seasoned triathletes value moments and micromoments of time.  Triathletes are acutely aware of the advantages of saving precious minutes be it from a faster transition, or as a recent post in my home triathlon club inquired--time advantages and tradeoff of wearing a wetsuit, using aerobars, and wearing certain running shoes.

While I would argue that short of professional athletes, the poster would save more than the cumulative advantages of all those items through adherence to disciplined training, there is no question triathlon introduced me to an entirely new relationship with the concept of time.  This has undoubtedly enriched my race strategy.  But more importantly, this appreciation has enriched the rest of my life immensely. 

In race environments, I become palpably aware of time ticking and making every moment count.  This awareness has permeated my life and most cherished relationships.  In the training environment, I have had the experience of "time flying," and (in interval training) time crawling, mere seconds can feel eternal.  I am no longer late to anything, and I am attentive in new ways in my life to the emotional resonance behind the experience of time flying, time seeming to pass unbearably slowly, and time stopping.

A shaman friend of mine once mused that there is no such thing as time management (of course this friend does not believe "time" exists).  Rather, she speaks in terms of energy management.  "We do not "manage" time, April.  We manage our energy," she would say. 

Triathlon training forces you to become extremely judicious and careful in where you expend your precious life energy.  Very quickly 'energy' wasters fall away in life, leaving you with more purposeful, conscious and enriching uses of your life force, your chi.

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