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