Befitting the questions, I started to ponder them on my run tonight. Am I running from something? If I asked myself that question three years ago, the answer would have been yes.
I was running to escape the hurt and anger of a betrayal. Had I not run I am sure my head and heart would have exploded trying to deal with all the emotion. Running helped me survive. I would run so hard that all I could think about was the burning in my lungs and my legs. There was no room for other thought. For many months it was the only activity that allowed my brain to focus on something other than the never answered question 'why?'. Thankfully, I no longer run from anything.
Nowadays I not only run, but I swim and bike. So what am I swimming, biking and running towards? That's easy - I move towards challenge.
Many moons ago I struggled with self esteem and confidence. People who know me now have a hard time believing that, but it's true. It was taking on challenges, big and small, that lead to gaining self esteem and confidence. Rather than cower from a challenge, I become like a rabid, frothing linebacker going in for the quarterback sack. Of course, the biggest mental and physical challenge was Ironman. Not just the race itself, but every day of training leading up to that momentos day.
So I was also asked why do you do it? Well now, that's easy. I do it because I am rewarded by attaining the goals I set out for myself. The question was then asked, do you do it for approval?
At first I scoffed at that, what a silly question. No way! Of course, that's when the wee gerbil in my brain started spinning. Huh. Do I do this for approval? This was a very hard question to ask myself. I don't want to do this for anyone. I want to do this for me. If I need to seek approval, isn't that the wrong reason to be in this sport?
It seems a can of worms was opened with that one simple initial question.
I like to be honest with myself, so after much thought I finally had to admit that there was a part of me that did this for approval. Look world! Look at what I did! Remember that little girl who would rather quit than fail at a task?? Well look at her now! I can do anything I set my mind to! I'm a frigging Ironman for crying out loud!
The good thing about being honest with yourself is that if you don't like the answer to the question - you have the power to change it. I would prefer to do things for myself. So maybe the whole triathlon/Ironman thing started out so I could prove something to the world, but it's not the reason I continue on.
Seriously, if I was competing in triathlon JUST for the approval of others, I wouldn't continue to do it. It's really hard work!! Not to mention it takes up a lot of time, and it can hurt. LOL.
So the other answers to the question 'why do you do it' would be as follows.
- The constant challenge of the sport - even the pros haven't mastered it. Once you finally figure something out, like your swim technique, then you get to figure out how to go farther, faster. I love that.
- The people invovled in the sport are truly like family. They encourage you, challenge you, share your laughter, your accomplishments, your tears and your fears. They are there with you every lap, pedal stroke and step.
- The zen moments, where you think you've found Nirvana, are addicting. Once you've experienced it you want more. Droool.
- The big accomplishments, like finishing your first triathlon, as well as all the wee ones make it so much fun. Swimming 1000 m under 20 minutes. Riding 60 km, 90 km, 210 km for the first time! Seeing your running pace get faster and faster.
- The funny moments. Let's not forget those! Having a Nuun volcano in your car. Swimming into a bright blue paddle boat - that's docked! Dodging prairie dogs on your bike. Having your friend do a farmer blow on her bike in front of you, and feeling the spray. Getting caught on video shaking your booty to 'Baby Got Back' at the start of your very first Ironman run.
I think those are some pretty damn good answers. So now it's your turn to answer, 'Why Do You Do It?!'
Peace out my friends.