Monday, September 21, 2009

Why I Tri

Today I was reading some old blogs from a fellow Tri Club of San Diego (TCSD) member Rachel; when I came across one that talked about Speed vs. Fun on race day. She quoted Chris McCormack saying that if you didn’t line up on race day expecting to win then what other reason did you have to be there. Of course if you are familiar with Triathlon you will know that Macca is an amazing triathlete who has most of his life been a front of the pack type of person, and while I am sure that when he is racing Ironman distance races he must ask himself why he is out there, that he has never really had to ask himself that question pre-race as age groupers do.

As an age group triathlete you get the pleasure of many things; like having to pay to enter races, or not getting a free bike, shoes or nutrition and having to come up with a reason to swim bike a run everyday with knowing that you may never see a podium let alone a dollar for winning a race. This got me wondering; why do I tri?

For me triathlon is, of course, more than about winning. I am a Clydesdale, which means I weigh in at more than 200lbs. Many triathletes don’t even believe that there should be a Clydesdale category, let alone give them medals for finishing first among the “fat” people; many believe that there should only be the Elite and the Age Group racers and that those two groups alone level the playing field enough. If you aren’t fast enough, then you just aren’t fast enough, right? So for me, as a Clydesdale, I race to run down as many “normal” age groupers as I can. I want to show the world that some one over 200lbs can still be quick. But for me simply as a triathlete I race only to see how hard I can push and still survive. Yes, I want to know how I stack up against the world but more than that I want to know how I stack up against myself.

I train seven days a week most weeks with one or two light days for recovery and I find that it is in training that I truly ask “Why am I out here?” It’s easy to pay your 80-525 dollars and step up to the water and dive in but it is the brave who know that the race starts well before the start of the race. So here is what I have found gets me up and moving over the last year. I keep training for the joy of it, I constantly am searching for the feeling that I get when I go out and put in a hard 6-10 mile run, just go with it, finishing, so strong and fresh, that it brings tears to my eyes. I train for the solitude; it has been in those moments when left alone in the middle of nowhere when I am at my lowest that I have been able to find how hard I am willing to climb to carry on. While many train for social aspect of triathlon and train solo for the opposite reason, I love the elusiveness that training on my own brings. The world has become so small that sometimes it is impossible to find a moment alone, even when you are in an empty room, so I walk out the door to find the quiet places in the world.

Each and every triathlete must find their own reasons to train and race, I am sure that many are similar to mine, in the end though it doesn’t matter why we are out there but it is more important that we have all come together for the one reason we all share; the love for Triathlon

Sunday, September 6, 2009

100 Things About Me (part one)

So it has come to my attention, through some other very cool people, that there is a lot that you don't know about me yet. So here is the beginning of the 100 things you may not know about me.

1. I am Buddhist. It's a long story but yes. I firmly believe in Buddhism but I am pretty bad at it. I eat meat, and I kill things; bugs mostly (especially spiders).

2. I bicycle every where I go. Well any where that I can't walk or run to.

3. My diet never really changes. On any given day you could ask me if I had chicken, oatmeal and tuna and 99 out of 100 times I would say yes to all three.

4. I love to swim in the ocean. If I don't do it at least once a week I feel like I have missed out on something.

5. I served in the United States Navy for 9 years and loved every minute of it.

6. I have been to more countries around the world than I have been states.

7. I have two cats that I love to death, Sinatra and Critter. By the way... I hate cats.

8. I may live in San Diego, but I hate being hot. I would rather freeze than break a sweat while relaxing. Good thing it doesn't often get about 75 at my apartment.

9. I used to train in MMA, but after I found endurance sports I was afraid to get hurt so I stopped doing it.

10. At one point in my life I weighed in at 285lbs.

11. I grew up in a very small town in Maryland but it was good country living.

12. I don't have cable TV and I don't really miss it.

13. I do have and love netflix!

14. I will call you to see if you want to hang out but I will never invite myself over. I will never invite myself to anything. I believe that if you want me some where or want my company you will ask.

15. Screaming kids drive me crazy. They make me never want to have sex again.

16. I don't like making choices unless it's what bike course to ride or which run I want to do.

17. I am a great cook but recently I have been eating a lot of microwave dinners

18. I love washing clothes but hate to put them away.

19. I drink 6 cups of coffee every morning.

20. I rarely partake in adult beverages. I just don't find the appeal any more.

21. I own more clothes to train in then I do to wear in normal life.

22. I think my cats are insanely funny even if no one else does.

23. I have no self control when it comes to food that is bad for me. Give me a large pizza or a half gallon of ice cream and I promise you it will be gone in less than one hour.

24. Other than coffee, water is pretty much the only thing I drink.

25. I used to be a manager at a popular night club, that is no more, here in San Diego. While I don't miss working until the wee hours of the morning, I do miss how social it was and how there were no politics.

26. I love photography. I can look at photo's all day.

27. I don't have a favorite color but I wear blue and black all the time.

28. Every day I train I am still amazed that at one point in my life I thought that running a mile and a half was far, and that I now won't even put on running shoes for less than 4 miles (unless my coach tells me too)

29. I have a Triathlon coach, while I know I will never be a pro I do want to be the best athlete I can become, and my coach is amazing.

30. Until last year I didn't know how to swim, I knew how not to drown but not how to swim.

31. Nap time is my favorite time of day!

32. For some reason I don't name things. I have never named a car, or my tri bike... or anything else that isn't alive.

33. I am a cancer survivor but TNT'ers annoy me. I think what they are doing is great but it annoys me.

34. I think Ansel Adams is amazing.

35. I have one sister and three nieces.

An introduction to me.

I have debated for some time if I was ever going to post a blog. I wasn’t sure if I would have anything to say and if I did have something to say to the world would I be able to write in a manner that would express what I wanted to say, the way I wanted to say it. Not to mention, of course, do I really want to put my thoughts, life and emotions on display for the world to see.

At this point, since it’s obvious that I have decided that I would try this whole blogging thing, I should introduce myself and tell you a little about myself. For the purpose of this blog I’ll be going by Tri-Buddha. I am, among many other things, a triathlete. On most days I eat, sleep, and breathe triathlon. I am no professional, I have never won a race, or age group or even the larger than life Clydesdale category but I have come close. Maybe one day soon I will even get on the podium. I love the sport. It gives back to me just as much as I put into it. You may wonder what I get back from doing triathlons, after all it’s just a sport, right? This is true, triathlon is just a sport but it’s a sport in which I can crawl with in myself; not to hide but to explore. Triathlon allows me hours of time weekly that I can spend in self reflection which would normally be filled with the white noise of modern life.

I am a Buddhist and have been for several years. I am Buddhist but far from a good one. I don’t go to temple or spend time in traditional meditation; long ride, runs and swims are my meditation. Often when I am in the pool I find myself swimming with my eyes closed with only the thought of my breath in my mind. Removing desire from my life, I have found, to be the hardest thing about Buddhism. I want to be happy. I want to be successful. These like any other desire cause me suffering and I deal with that everyday.

I am a reclusive member of society. The older I get and the longer I am Buddhist the less I feel connected with society. I have friends, I go out for drinks and dates just like the rest of the world but I don’t crave the human interaction as much as most of the people that I know. I work as a Lean Facilitator which, if you know anything about Lean, is a very social job. All day everyday I am up in front of people, helping them figure out how to make their lives and jobs more efficient.

And one other thing that I have never been. I have never been good at ending anything. Not relationships and certainly not this blog. So I will leave this now... how it is and come back again soon to tell you more about me.