Last week I finally discovered my mantra (I KNOW, late to the party) and that, along with the realization that my big race is less than nine weeks away and I’ve been training hard since January, got me thinking about why I do all this crazy stuff. Sure, I love it, and spent a lot of money on it, but what keeps me engaged?
– I love to compete. Duh. I have big goals and high expectations and I like meeting/exceeding them. You don’t get there without hard work. I recently had this explained to me as “race karma,” meaning you get what you earn. Also, the high I get from racing reminds me why I spend six hours on a Saturday climbing hills on River Rd. or running intervals on the track attempting to stay on AJ’s speedy shoulder. And that’s not easy, folks.
– It’s a distraction. Training has nothing whatsoever to do with my job. It’s separate from a lot of other parts of my life. When I need to clear my head and avoid thinking about anything and everything, a solid workout usually does the trick.
– It’s a distraction from other distractions. On the flipside, sometimes I use training to get my head back in the game. When I signed up for the DC Tri last year and got on my bike for the first time since my freshman year of college, I threw myself full force into the sport because I wanted to do well and I loved it. But beyond that, I had a few things going on in my life that had me way out of sorts. Spending my spare time working off my excess thoughts/energy and reaching for a goal that was about me and only me helped me get back on track at work, with my friends and in daily adult life.
– It’s a social outlet. I’ve met some amazing people in DC through all this triathlon/running nonsense. When you spend most of your waking hours outside of work or school training, you have to learn to multitask. Group workouts become social events. You quickly get acquainted with the swimmers sharing your lane every morning at Wilson or the runners working alongside you at track practice. The good news is that many of the people I’ve gotten to know, particularly in the last six months, are not just my training partners, but also my friends. We hang out in real-person clothes and talk about things unrelated to triathlon. And I’m so grateful to them for making this experience as great as it’s been.
– It’s my alone time. When I’m not training with friends — and, while I love them all, sometimes a break is okay — I don’t have to talk to anyone. I don’t have to think about what someone else wants or needs. I can write blog posts in my head or ponder my life plan (yes, this happens) or sing along with my iPod or just wander the streets and trails of DC on a long run rather than having a defined route or pace.
– It keeps me healthy. Exercise, diet, yada yada. I want to be running marathons easily when I’m 80 years old and still look like I’m way younger. [Note: The latter is possible. I’m regularly mistaken for being in high school.]
– I like having visible abs. Yeah. I said it. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in and it shows and that works for me. It keeps me motivated to do those core exercises I avoided for so long and just stick with my training plan in general. Don’t act like you disagree.
Why do you train?