Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why we (I) do triathlons

I originally had some kind of canned response. But your comments made me think a little bit deeper. Why do I do triathlons? It is a good question. We commit a lot of time, money and resources to this sport.

I did my first triathlon on my 35th birthday. It was because I wanted to do something that I was not sure I could do. I just found a triathlon that was not too far away and it being on my birthday sealed the deal. When I signed up I had never swam laps in a pool. That first time in the pool opened the door t so many doubts. I was scared. I knew that if I put recourses towards the goal then I would be successful. So I got in the pool and on the bike and on the track and started to rack up mileage.

When I got to the race I did not know anyone. I did not know how to set up a transition. I did not know what to do. But by the end of it I had some new friends and some new experiences. I was hooked.

Buy why? After that first commitment I started to see all of the other aspects of the sport. It is the lifestyle that is the sport. It is the camaraderie, the tactics, the improvement, the community, the gear - if it was just the races then I don’t think it would have become a passion.

Triathlon is a sport that does not seem to have the pretence of other sports. The pro’s are not signing the hundred million dollar contracts – in fact, although I love the pro aspect, it is not what makes the sport. The sport exists because of you and me – the age groupers, the middle and the back of the pack.

Triathlon also allows you to diversify. Cross training is the sport. This aspect of the sport allows longevity. We get to do the sport longer. We get to make lifelong friends. We see improvement over time. The sport becomes our lifestyle. Triathlon starts to define us. We like to push ourselves to higher limits. It allows us to achieve, to succeed. To reach goals that were once impossible.

Triathlon makes us walk past that piece of cake. Triathlon makes us get up at 4:30 in the morning to ride our bikes to Master’s Swim. Triathlon makes us get on the trainer with the music turned up loud and suffer like no tomorrow. Triathlon makes us do these things for one reason – to be better.

Triathlon makes me better.


Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

...It is the lifestyle that is the sport.

This one little sentence really sums it up nicely!

Matty O said...

Love it. You caught it in your response.

Longevity is what I like. I like being able to train all summer and not feel burnt out.

Runners Fuel said...

I would love to do a Tri sometime. I just don't have time for that kind of training right now.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I have to agree, its a lifestyle

Ron said...

I like the performance aspect of the whole thing. I like training my body and other peoples body to do something they couldnt do before. I like the rewards of that behavior. Its the best way to live life to the fullest. Challenge, nature, camaraderie, fun, and sun.

Kathleen said...

So many of the things you noted in your post ring true to me. The only one I can't relate to yet is the 4:30 am ride to Master's swim. Maybe one day :)

Jeanne said...

Very nice article. Your first race description brought back so many memories of my own. And you nailed the reasons so many of us continue to do tris. I ask myself the "why" question every year, and I call it my "yearly recommitment" to the sport. In addition to reasons you cite, I race because it's the one thing in which my performance depends entirely on my hard work, unlike a job or relationships which depend on other people's assessments. And there's always room for improvement which keeps many of us coming back.