Biting Off More than You Can Chew

author : tmwelshy
comments : 18

Extoling the virtues of going for more than you should. It's an odd way to get satisfaction from life, and it’s often painful, but it's my way.

Beginnertriathlete has it all: logs, forums, articles, races, nutrition, product reviews and more. Now, in The World According to Welshy, Performance Members will have a peek into the mind of one of triathlon's preeminent (yet always verbose) slackers. Enjoy!

As most of the Performance Members out there know, I'm not the very model of a modern Triathlete. I'm not aerodynamic, I don't train as rigorously as I should, and I'm prone to "stealth logs" to chastise certain BT members who look in on my workouts. I'm not the average duck or bird, but I'm froggy. I was sitting on my mountain top, considering the not-so-comfortable way I go about setting and achieving goals and the bad rap Biting Off More Than You Can Chew has gotten.

It's an odd way to get satisfaction from life, and it’s often painful, but it's my way. Sort of like Inspector Clueso having Kato attack him at every opportunity, only I attack myself. The best example of this (other than the women in my life, but you don't have that kind of time) is how I got into triathlon. Here is a quote from my first race report last year that sums it up nicely:

"I did it. My first tri. For those of you who might remember, I was asking for advice for a 265 pound 34 year old who was considering [for the first time] doing a tri in 32 days. I had never combined any of the sports in any way and hadn't been in the pool for distance, ever. Well, here is the scoop:

Today I completed an Olympic distance tri in 3:30...."

Now why would I do that? The race was painful. It hurt. The water was 55 degrees. I didn't have a wet suit. I was unprepared and had cramps and stitches the entire race - my cramps had stitches and my stitches had cramps. Several times I considered quitting. What a nightmare. The thing is, it felt great. My panties were in a knot...and I liked it. I was on cloud ten, flicking beer caps and cigarette buts at the suckers on cloud nine....

With all this spinning around in my mental top, so to speak, I began to consider the other types of goal setters out there, and which ways were best.

Now I know I could have saved some time, been real professional, whipped out one of the many psychology books I've inherited from my father and sister (why have they given me all these self analysis/understanding personality books...?), and probably given you a list of "The ten most common mindsets from individuals with or without or bordering on OCD to ADD and beyond" or some such. But that would be too easy, not to mention the fact that I completely distrust anyone who spends all their time studying others (dad and sis included, now that I think about all those "fix your life and make things easier for your dad and sis" books...).

Ok, where was I?

Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: consistently picks goals that may or may not be achieved. The difficult way, grasshoppa!

Type A and his cousin Test Myself: always driving to succeed, to improve, to win. You all know Type A.

Social Racer: making no bones about the fact that triathlon is a way to meet really cool people and network extensively.

Getting In Shaper: dropping the lbs, the shaper eventually falls into one of the other categories once the cross from BOPer to MOPer occurs.

Self Improvement/New Experience Chaser: these folks are most likely to do a few tris and move on to something else.

My Friend Is Making Me Do It Racer: 'nuff said.

All have some overlap and traits in common, and you can travel from one road to the next with a few right turns and some subtle merging, but Bite Off More Than You Can Chew (the BOMTYCC) stands alone.

BOMTYCC is just a little different than the rest.

An odd duck swimming with fish, flying with sparrows and pedaling despite its webbed feet. The Manic Depressive mentality of tri, if you will... if you won't, well, at least humor me. The big 265 dude smiling at the back of the pre-race meeting waiting for the pain to start with a wolfy grin.

Delusional? Perhaps. Overconfident? Certainly. Scared of failing? Not really. Failure is as vital as success, perhaps more so.

How to spot the BOMTYCC?

It's not always easy to tell who is a true BOMTYCC, and who is just dipping their little toes in the pool. Everyone bites off more than he can chew once in a while. Where do you cross the line from an occasional error in judgment into the masochistic never-land of Biting Off More Than You Can Chew, the place I inhabit?


Here are some clues:

  1. You insist on bringing all 10 bags of groceries in at once to save time, then spend 10 minutes at the door trying to find and manipulate your house-keys without setting down the bags. Then you have to set them down anyway because you can't get the key in the lock. This happens on a weekly basis.

  2. You look at your sliding back door and decide it would look a lot better as French doors and say... how hard can it be to do myself? You start that day.

  3. You have ever stayed up until four in the morning when you have to be at work at 8.

  4. You look at a full IM and think, it's only twice as long as the half... how hard could it really be?

Don't fret if you fall in this category. Embrace it. Celebrate it. In my mind, if you don't BOMTYCC, then you'll never know who much you CAN chew. There is nothing quite like accomplishing something you and everyone else considered too much.

The big gulp of pride and self-confidence that comes from pushing far beyond your perceived limits is a delicious and stout drink. Don't get me wrong: the sense of accomplishment you get from training, planning and achieving a goal through measured and controlled preparation is nice, I'm sure; but Biting Off More Than You Can Chew has the capability of exposing what you were already capable of and achieving what you didn't know you could. It takes off your suit of preconceptions and conformity and exposes your true capabilities for the world--and yourself--to see.

So give Bite Off More Than You Can Chew a break, or better yet, give Bite Off More Than You Can Chew a try. It's where all the fun, and Welshy, is at.


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date: May 3, 2005