“I Could Never Run That Distance”
I can, and I do on a regular basis.
Comments or questions like that do make me think, “Hey, why is it again that I continue to wake up at 0500 to get in the pool or obsess about the food I am consuming or plan family vacations around ‘race season’ or stategically plan laundry so I never have to run in a sweatty t-shirt again?”
So why do I continue to do this thing?
By nature, I am competitive. Not typically with others (although how do you measure success?) but mostly with myself. Enjoying the challenge of pushing myself toward the unknown gives me the motivation to strive forward In any challenge. Give me a target, say last years time, and I will give every effort to beat that time; even if it was the fastest in the race. It never has been…..if you were wondering.
Play well with others? I don’t. I have been a bit of a lone wolf for most of my life. I realized once into my early teens that losing a team didn’t sit well with me, and pursued individual spors only once I was into my late twenties. In the triathlon world, at the end of the day, your result is due to you and no one else. Sure, people helped get you there. My family has been super supportive, the Tri-Club swim class has made me faster, but once it is all said and done, it was me that produced the result on the clock.
Comraderey, the triathlon world has it and it is better than any other sport I have been involved in. Competitive, sure, but every race I have participated I have had a blast meeting some fellow participants, voulenteers, and race organizers. At my first race, another racer blew a tire while preparing in transition. End of his race right? Wrong. There was three of us within a minute offering our spare tubes.
I am in the best shape of my life. I was never out of shape, but I now have all the energy in the world to play with my daughter at the park, soccer game, or swimming pool. Logging the amount of hours per week as I do, typically between 8 and 11, can run you down; but when all of the other dads are on the sidelines, I am the one continuing with the kids.
Stress relief? Try hitting hill repeats on 10 seconds rest and you will forget what was bugging you before you started. I always use my long runs, which typically take me along the Bow river, to take time to clear my mind and let my thoughts roll free. Christopher McDougall was right, if you can’t solve a problem after a long run, it is unsolvable.
Different, I have always felt the need to be. Not in the ‘I just painted my nails black’ kinda way, but the ‘I was part of the group who started this thing’ kinda way. The reason I tri is that a large number of the population does not. At any given coffee shop, meeting room, or street corner, there is probably a dozen runners. You can just sense them. Try to pick a triathlete out of a crowd, if there is one, good luck.
So with our transition bags meticulously packed the previous night then checked that morning, bikes on our vehicles, we head to our next race.
By the way, I finished my first Ironman 70.3 July 29, you can read my race report here 9 weeks after I broke my collar bone. Still trying to figure out why I had to, not wanted to, compete in that race.
Question: What motivates you to continue? Even step up to the next distance?