Sunday, January 9, 2011
A new year and I have been seeing a theme out there. Why. Why do we chose to be triathletes? Why do we put 10-14 hour weeks in even though it isn't very realistic that we will ever find our way to the podium (OK I'm talking for me is this case). In a 2nd place is the first looser world, why do triathletes seem to have a different take on things?
There isn't a great reason. I am a typical performance driven person in almost every other aspect of my life. If my boss has something negitive to say about my performance I burn inside and make sure I find a way to fix the problem and crank that performance back up. I played college Basketball, Volleyball, and WaterPolo at Cal Maritime and ran Track and Cross Country at a high level in High School. But taking 15 years effectively off, I had to accept I wasn't going to be competeing for the win anymore.
But I found that working hard had its own rewards. Rising to meet the challenge gave me a sense of pride that was in many ways even greater than what I experienced earlier in life when i was vying for a win. But after 15 years and 100 pounds, everything was a challenge. So I started with a goal to lost 25 pound in 90 days-Done, then another 10 in 60 days-Done. Then it was to Run a 5 mile race-Done. Next a friend of mine challenged me to tri the Carpenteria Triathlon. That first race was an eye opener, I swam just fine, but found bicycling on rolling hills killed me (2nd slowest bike leg and I had to walk) and it carried over to the run 29 min 5k. But the goal was to finish and I had to work my tail off to do it (and so many folks who seemed to know what I was going through and encouraged me to stick with it). The feeling of pride and accomplishment was amazing. That became my why. The goal changed My first Marathon, my first Olympic, my first HIM, and my first Ironman. Then it was Kona (I won the lottery), then it was an International Ironman, then it was a pair of Hilly HIMs on back to back weekends, then it was do back to back races (Oly and HIM at Quazzy-the Revolution) and to complete the entire REV 3 Series. For each of those crazy goals the why was the same, recapture that feeling.
The Why is a very important reason I find my way to the finish line. Occassionally the Why had nothing to do with a finish line. At Boston, in 2008 it was about coming full circle. In 1982, my 6th grade math teacher convinced me to try running and later brought us out to watch the race and cheer him on on Heartbreak Hill (just below the firehouse). In 2008, when I reached that spot and was on the other side of the tape being cheered on by a bunch of kids.. it was amazing! That feeling, the feeling at mile marker 25 of my first Ironman (OMG, I'm about to finish something I though was impossible), the electric feeling of hope and tension floating in the water just before the gun and the out of body experience of trotting down Alli Dr at Kona (my feet never touch the ground that last 1/2 mile). Moments like those last a lifelime and you never know when the next one will come.
So remember, no matter where you go, there you are! Stay in the moment, keep you eyes open and enjoy the ride. Amazing happens, whether we are there to experience it or to witness it the reward is the same.