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Motivation on a cold February morning

This is the type of week that makes quitting look a viable option.

OK, maybe not quitting entirely, but certainly cheating.

It is so tempting to find that couch coma position and convince myself that indeed no one will know or care if I skip that spin class today.

There are plenty of reasons: The 17 degrees outside, the new car shopping, the pile of laundry to be done, the endless to-do list for work.

Then there's the practical excuse I make up, which goes along the lines that running in the Shamrock Run on Saturday means that my swim and spin workouts really aren't all that important right now.

Yes, this is a week where excuses are readily available and even justifiable to a certain extent.

Which makes fighting the urge to use one all the more important.

When I've discussed racing with triathletes they say how much fun the actual race is. All the hard work, preparation and suffering are about to pay off. Training, they told me, is the hard part. Racing is the fun part.

These are the weeks that build that base that will get me through my first triathlon. Heck, the chaos will probably get me through Saturday's run since I haven't had the time or energy to obsess much about the 8K this week. (Although I have found time to whine about not being able to use my iPod per my coach's rule.)

So as I take my time with an extra cup of coffee this morning, I go through a bit of a mental check list. First, I see how my body feels. Is my lack of motivation a stress signal from my body? It would like a bit more sleep, but I don't feel sick or overworked. If I'm still a bit fatigued by the time spin class rolls around, my plan is to decrease the intensity a bit and make it more of a recovery ride than an aggressive training ride.

Then, I see how my mind feels. In a way, this week is a gut-check time. How much do I want it? How much do I want to be prepared for my first triathlon? How much do I want to succeed at this endeavor?

That's usually enough to push me through those first few minutes of a workout when the justifiable reasons for stopping come flooding to my mind. After I get started, it's much easier to keep going, especially when I hear my friend's voice say, "Why would you want to stop now?"

And I don't want to stop. I want to achieve my goal. I want to put in the work to get there. I want to remember this cold, crazy, stressful week when I'm at Keuka Lake in June, basking in the glory of my first completed triathlon.

Sometimes that end goal is the best motivation for days like today.

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