The Sweet Stench of Success
TNT’s first triathlon swim training was this past Tuesday and our first bike run training will be on Sunday. This new beginning takes me back a year in time to my first triathlon training sessions, my nerves and my excitement. I remember how excited I was when I came home from my first bike – run workout, having biked 10+ miles followed by a 3+ mile run, which I never in my life thought I could do. I remember how I was bursting to tell my wife and kids about the mental and physical challenges I overcame, how I was sure that they would be just as excited as I would by the success that I had met on my first day of real training.
I put my bike, helmet and other gear in their rightful place in the garage, I took off my sneakers, walked in the door to my house, full of energy, ready to share my news. “You won’t believe what I did today!” I yelled out to my wife and family. As my wife and kids entered the same room as me, my wife’s face contorted, her nose wrinkled and she said, “Apparently, you jumped into a pool and then rolled around in a pile of garbage… you stink! Go take a shower and you can tell me about everything, AFTERWARDS.”
What I learned very quickly is that a successful triathlon workout will result in buckets of sweat, buckets of sweat that no amount of deodorant (not even AXE) can cover up. Economists, business people and lawyers will call the smell that results from a successful workout an “externality” or an unintended consequence; scientists will call it a byproduct. Call it what you want, but the stench that is generated by a good workout is something that a triathlete, beginner or expert needs to be aware of and needs to address.
The point is, like in life, success has its costs. Unfortunately, when involved in a task, people are often not as aware of the ramifications of their actions because they are focused on the goal that they are working towards. We need to be aware of the byproducts of our efforts, and, whenever possible, we need to try to minimize the negative impact that these byproducts have on others (apply metaphor to life as you see fit). However, in the triathon context, my recommendations are: (i) bring a towel and at least a change of shirt for after a workout – eliminating some sweat will be appreciated; (ii) though deoderant will be overcome by your sweat, it is still essential– if not before, then after a workout; (iii) bathe often and as soon as possible, post-workout; (iv) do your best to be considerate of others – they may have signed up for your early morning workouts, your new focus and lifestyle, but they did not sign up to hang around the not-so-loveable Peanuts character, Pig-Pen; and (v) remember, the stench is just the byproduct – success is the REAL product; so keep working, keep sweating and have fun!