Aug 20, 2007

I'm not the only nut!

I've been meaning to write about why I do some of the stuff I do... related to triathlon anyway. I happened to see this article today Thank God, This Will Only Get Worse , linked by someone on the TRI-DRS newsgroup. My family occasionally asks how I can do such long swims or bike rides or runs or even why I would choose to.

The truth is that you don't really think about how long it is until afterwards when you are contemplating what you've accomplished, and even then it doesn't feel so impressive as they make it sound. During the Ironman, I never really felt like I was doing something incredible, as it's been described by some. I just kept going... Just keep going, although it doesn't sound very interesting or impressive, it's how you finish and in fact how you enjoy yourself. Riding around on my bike is fun, the scenery is beautiful, and when you're in a race you see a lot of people around you that feel the same way. It's a great way to enjoy the weather and the world around you when you can just spend time in the country under your own power.

Triathlons have also bought me a lot of family time. I grew up in a busy, athletic extended family. There wasn't a lot of organized sports or time in leagues or formal competitions, we were just really active. An enduring memory for me is a Sunday afternoon at my grandparents house playing softball or football or volleyball. These were the cherished times of my childhood where I could build a bond with my uncles, cousins and brothers.

As I grew older, got married and moved away a bit those times started to disappear. It was never really a conscious decision, and we still played whenever we got together, it's just the occasions didn't seem to happen. They've come back now, a result of an effort to spend more time and to involve more of my family in training and racing events that I enjoy. I've gotten my uncle and brother and cousin involved in triathlons, and it's a weekly occurrence to go for a swim or a bike ride with them. Other cousins have started mountain biking with me, and although there isn't a strict competition involved it's re-energized both my life and the relationships with my family.

We had a sort of family reunion this weekend, the first large group gathering of my extended-extended family since my grandmother died. It felt a lot like some of the great memories of my childhood, and emphasized for me the importance of family in my life. I've been lucky over the last few months to get a little bit of that feeling every time I swim, bike or run with the people I care about.


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