My dad said something intersesting: he said the training sounds gruesome, but I understand that you love the sport, which got me thinking. Is it really triathlon I love? What is it that gets so many of us hooked on this crazy sport? Why do we spend thousands and thousands of dollars on bikes, race fees, travel, nutrition, etc. Why do commit so much of something even more valuable, our time?
Is it for the fame and fortune? HAH - most people know virtually nothing about the sport and care even less; hell, even our family and friends think we're nuts. Is it so we can wake up at 5:30 in the morning to spend an hour or two suffering on the bike on a trainer, and then complaining about it afterwards? Certainly not - sleeping in sounds (and feels) SO much better. Is it so we can endure 5 hour rides and three hour runs in Florida's heat and humidity in the middle of summer? You've got to be kidding me.....Is it so we can wake up earlier on the weekends than we do during the week to avoid said humidity? Maybe it's the oh so attrective spandex tri shorts? Hang on a minute - I just made myself nauteous.....
Ok, I'm back....
So why is it we put ourselves, and those close to us, through this madness?
For me at least, it's more about the challenge than it is the sport. It's about turning something seemingly impossible into reality. It's about a massive change in perspective of what's possible. It's about taking a long term view of something in this short-term culture that we live in. And it's about doing something where commitment, consistency, determination and overcoming obstacles is the only way to the finish line.
No amount of money can get you across the finish line (although you may get there faster - nothing like a $2000 set of race wheels on a $4000 bike, which I don't have by the way). No help from family, friends, coaches, or anyone else gets you there, although you certainly don't have a chance in hell of getting there without their total support. Excuses? Try? Can't? Those words get left at the door. There is no try - you either do or don't do.
The only way you go 140.6 miles in under 17 hours on race day is with 100% commitment, focus and action, which brings me back to my question? Is it really the love of the sport?
No. It's about doing something that transcends the I want it now, fix it with a pill, distract ourselves with tv, food, drugs, I don't have the time, money, health, fill in the blank world in which we live. The fact is ironman has nothing to do with physical or athletic ability (come watch me swim sometime if you need proof) - anyone can do this sport, just ask Team Hoyt or Sister Madonna (the 76 year old nun).
It's about learning that what happens today doesn't really matter; instead, good or bad, you take it in stride, realizing that it's the cumulative effect of days stacked on days, weeks on weeks, month after month and year after year that makes the differece and gets you there.
It's not about any single race day, and it's not even about the swimming, biking and running. Lance Armstrong couldn't have been more accurate when he said it's not about the bike.
Instead, it's about who you become in the process, because that long-term perspective and the total commitment and focus needed for that perspective spills over into all the other areas of life: work, relationships, friends, finances, you name it.
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