Sandbagging

“I don’t know…

I feel like shit, I have shin splints, I have a hangover, I just traveled to Ghana and back, I had an allergic reaction to my cat, I ate gluten, I just got back from President Obama’s Dreamworks tour…

I’m just going to take it easy.”

Then they PR.
By 30 minutes.
Sandbagging SOB.

You’ve seen them. Heard of them. And perhaps, maybe much like myself, been called one. You know, those “sandbaggers” who make excuses, playing down their true strengths and abilities in preparation to have excuses for a possibly less than stellar race performance. And it’s not just runners or triathletes; according to Wikipedia, there is all different types of sandbagging depending on your sport. Regardless, it’s vicious and I’m guilty as charged.

I could make another excuse (My ankle! My training! My recovery!), but instead, I’d be back at it, sandbagging with the best of them. So instead, I’d like to issue a personal apology for any hint of sandbagging that may have come across in this training cycle or throughout the entire lifespan of this little blog. So here goes…

<PLEASE HIT PLAY TO THIS SONG WHILE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING>

Dear Gracious Reader,

Hey. It’s me, Page. If you’re new to my blog or have been reading my rambling over the past few years, hopefully you know that what you see is what you get. Cursing, typos, glorious iPhone photos, good training cycles and bad…it’s all been displayed on the blog. And if you’re still coming back, thank you!

However, it has come to my attention that at times, I may have displayed some “sandbagging” qualities. I may have played down my training cycles, dismissed the highs and focused the lows. Sad, but true.

I wanted to confide in you and tell you what’s really happening. Those qualities aren’t to secretly demolish the competition, shock and awe, or break the ribbon in any grand manner. But rather, deep down, it was to shield the shadows of doubt and fear that come along with every race experience. Or in other words, a lack of confidence.

At times, I take leaps of faith and declare my true goals (e.g. running a 3:15), but as the training cycle goes on and I start to break down, the excuses become more prevalent. It’s true, an ankle injury IS a reason to be concerned, but rather than wanting to “throw in the towel” as I so eloquently proclaimed in my last blog post, I should readjust perspective and the plan, but never the end goal. 

Perhaps it’s because blogging creates this hidden pressure among us all and I/we feel pressured to perform, or fear writing a “DNS, DNF, excuse, excuse, excuse” race recap. Why do we fear this? Because it’s a proclamation to the world that we tried and failed?

Well, I’m pretty sure that’s the meaning of life.

And if anyone is judging you because you tried and failed, well then, they’re not worth your energy. This sport isn’t about them or their opinions, but it’s about YOU. Working, trying, pushing, sucking, failing and trying again because we love it. Nothing else.

sucking

It’s not sandbagging, it’s the secret doubt that sits within me.

I have a healthy, albeit sometimes injured, body that I should be thankful for.
I’m going to relish the places it takes me, even if it’s not on the path I had planned.
I’m going to once again try my best to keep trying, keep failing, and keep enjoying the journey along the way, regardless of what race recap I write. Why?

Because that’s life.

Happy Running,
Page

 

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5 Responses to Sandbagging

  1. MILF Runner says:

    Fucking sandbagging cherry-picker! I’m onto you! I think the answer is: BOYCOTT BLOGS!

    Now I ‘m feeling all this pressure to defend my cherry-picked turkey trot title but I have this cane…

    Happy Thanksgiving and hope your ankle stops messing with you :)

  2. em says:

    Page, I love your blog. I’m the first one to eye roll at the more obvious examples of sandbagging in running blogs, but to me there’s a huge difference between posting your fears and doubts and insecurities while you’re training (pretty much what you describe), and posting a race report in which someone describes a race filled with broken legs and staggering hangovers before expressing disappointment in their super fast finish time. I think the former is so relatable and part of the mental training process, while the latter is just obnoxious!

    I actually really appreciated reading about your first IM training cycle, and your massive disappointment in your ankle injury, your comeback, second training cycle and finally your awesome IM. To my reckoning you bring a lot of reality and the benefit of your own hard lessons learned into the running & tri blog world. (I also notice that some pretty harsh blog critics seem to dig you, too! :) )

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Adam says:

    Today I learned what Sandbagging means

  4. Amanda says:

    Loved this!

  5. To be honest, I think it’s pretty crappy that you had to write this post. I’ve seen very obvious examples of other people sandbagging but have never gotten that impression from you at all. I think there is a difference between sandbagging and just not having a lot of confidence. My paces have gotten faster since I started running but my mind still has a hard time believing I can run those paces. I don’t even think hiding some things about your training equates to sandbagging. I know of professionals that have doubts and fears. Keep doing what you’re doing. You are an amazing runner and triathlete and I think your blog is one of the most real ones out there. I never feel like you are hiding things or anything like that.

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving :)

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