Waking up at 4 AM to drive 25 miles to meet your training group, so you can then bike 25-50 miles, and then, “since you’re there”, run 10 to get some road miles in.
Because it’s fun?
Yes. I have had those days.
I have also had the days when the lactic acid hits my legs after three pumps on the bike. Those days when you are driving those pedals as hard as you can and only going 13 mph. Those runs when your back tightens up within three steps, and becomes so bad that lifting your legs to run becomes almost impossible. When your normal running pace of 12:30 hit 15:30 and no matter how hard you push you cannot go any faster. Those swims where you are barging your way down the lanes, gasping for air on each stroke, sinking even with a pull buoy.
Yes. I have had those days.
So why do you keep going back for more? What drives you to punish your body? To invoke such pain on it that you are dry heaving after the workout on the side of the road?
Every one has their own motivation. It could be weight loss. It could be for overall health. It could be that drive to win. It could be the desire to “show them all”. It could be for fame. It could be for glory. It could be for self worth and for pride. But something in you drives the desire to pull yourself out of bed when most of the world is three or four hours away from rising, slathering your sensitive areas with chamois cream, coating your feet in Vaseline, pulling on uncomfortably tight clothing, layers of them if cold, loading your bike in the car, grabbing a bag of gear and nutrition, and heading out into the darkness.
Why do I do it?
Knowing and believing that others are seeing my activities and are finding strength from it. It’s the old adage of “Hell, if he can do why can’t I?”. It’s one of the things that got me going, seeing guys my size, and bigger, competing and finishing. It told me that I could do this if I gave the effort. I am still not the thin, muscular guy I envisioned I’d be by this point, but I am better than I was in 2010, and I am not as good as I will be in the future. I write down everything in the hopes that others will read this while sitting on their couch eating a bag of chips … that they will see the pictures of my in 2010 and in 2012 and think “wow…maybe it is time I did something about my life”.
I have met people that have made me a different person, that without this training and racing I may have never met. KC, Megan, Summer, Beth, Kate, Genna Beth, Teresa, Lyle, Adam, Gene, Kelly Ann, Jim, Tom, Tracey, John, Dustin, Dave, Bruce, Kirsten, Brian, etc. etc. etc. Each of these people have affected me in this journey. I may have never met any of them without it, and that is something I could never replace. If I even think about it, I connected with Jenny because of this. Our offices were next to each other at Moffitt, and we had spoken, but it was the connection over the biking that brought us together … her asking me one day to “come riding with them” one weekend. I didn’t even own a bike. I borrowed one from her nurse. A heavy LaMonde. And rode at the breakneck pace of 7 mph. So if it wasn’t for triathlon training, and TNT, she and I may have never had more than a passing familiarity.
As I said, the reasons are varied by person, and we all have our reasons, but I am betting that everyone can relate to at least two of the three things I listed. We swim. We bike. We run. We train in the cold, the heat, the rain, some of you the snow, We train with injuries. Some of us race with broken appendages (Summer). We gain strength from knowing we can do this, and we gain strength from each other. We have lost friends and alienated family members who do not understand this drive, but we have found others on the way.