26 August 2009

So, why do YOU do triathlon?

I read an interesting article recently in Triathlete Magazine. The topic up for discussion was what motivated people to train for and race triathlons. Training, especially for the long stuff, can be time consuming. Any time that you're not at work or sleeping is often spent swimming, biking, or running. Trips to the bar with friends and sleeping in on weekends are usually non-occurrences during triathlon season. So - what would motivate people to devote so much of their time to the sport? Like the article said, there are the artificial reasons - look good in a bathing suit, gives you carte blanche to eat whatever you want in huge quantities (hooray!), and gives you a feeling of satisfaction, etc. The usual reasons any normal person would give when asked that question. But the article was convinced that there were deeper motivations underlying the aforementioned surface ones; and after reading the article and thinking about the question in relation to myself and my life, I tend to agree. These underlying motivations aren't usually something that's admitted, even to oneself - in fact, you may not even be aware of it. There's something bigger than just looking good and feeling satisfied that makes me train and race. I love the feeling of accomplishment, yes, but I think I love it so much because, it's one of the places I feel like I actually excel in my life. I don't feel inadequate, like I do in other things that I do. Growing up, I was never one of those kids that stood out, I was always average. And maybe I'm average when compared to other triathletes and their accomplishments - but I feel above average because I'm doing stuff that the vast majority of America can't/chooses not to do - swim, bike, and run for inordinately long periods of time over and over and over again. Here's a secret - it's really not that hard to swim, bike, and run - you just have to have something that motivates you!

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