Why Do You Tri?

Today at dinner, hubby asked me what was wrong. He said I seemed subdued.

I just mumbled it was Monday, and went back to my Adobo chicken fajitas.

On the drive home I said, “I guess I am just bummed that I am not into this race.”

And then he asked the question that I didn’t have the guts to say out loud, “Maybe you shouldn’t do the race.”

Because it has been a million years since I last posted, that race I am referring to is the Santa Cruz 70.3 Ironman. I signed up for it for a couple reasons. One is that Ironman bought the Big Kahuna race, and I was curious about how they would “Ironman” it. Also, unlike Oceanside, I would be able to train on the course. Plus, since I have done the race in the past, it would be a great opportunity to try and PR on the course. I signed up in May, I think. And some stuff has happened since then.

The big event was I got a new job. I started full time in June, and it is amazing. The organization does fantastic things for the community.

But, for some reason I feel like my heart hasn’t been into training. I was trying to replicate the drive I had for Oceanside, because I was soooo driven in my training. I loved that feeling. I hated agonizing over the race, but it also felt good to know that I had done the work to get me there for race day.

But, I really don’t have that fire. You can’t force the fire.

I immediately sent a Facebook message to Coach Gina asking for insight and we both agreed it would be good for me to start writing about it, find a way to sort my feelings out and what was really going on. I told her I needed help getting started, so if she could just ask me a question to answer that would be great.

So she asked me, “Why do you tri?”
“Oooh, good one.” I responded. Then I realized, crap, I have to start thinking about why.

There are the obvious reasons –setting a goal, challenging yourself, bragging rights…blah blah blah blah.

The main reason is…I want to be a better me when I finish.

When a race is good, when I put my all in the training and cross that finish line strong…it feels good. I wish I could articulate this better. Basically, when I was training for Oceanside I found my groove, I talked about it a lot, I logged my workouts…thinking about the race took up a lot of mental real estate, but in the end it was a great day and I had the wonderful support of my tribe.

This race—which is in 5 weeks—is fighting for mental real estate with other life things. And the mental real estate being used is not being used in a positive way. I am thinking about how I am not fast, how my bike rides are not awesome…and that there are too many sharks in the water right now.

Brains are weird.

Last week I ran a half marathon put on by Love to Move productions. Most of the people signed up for the 5k and 10k, and about 20 of us were doing the half marathon. I was so excited that they added the half because I had a 13 mile training run on the calendar.

We were the first racers to start—and it was pretty cool that it was such a small group. With some races (rhymes with “bikey smarathon”) it can take 20 minutes after the race starts before you even cross the start line. I was approaching it as a training run and my goal was to finish. Sometimes I feel like I may take the half marathon distance for granted…I have done 25 half marathons in the past 9 years. They are always hard, but some faster and slower than others. I have gotten to the point where I feel like, yeah that distance is not crazy.

But, it kind of is crazy, right? As I was waiting for that race to start, I overheard a woman say, “Wow. I can’t imagine doing a half marathon. That’s incredible.”

I wanted to find her and say, ‘Oh my gosh you can TOTALLY do a half marathon! If I can do it YOU certainly can—you are awesome!”

But then the race started. Plus, that would probably be kind of weird for a stranger to yell at you out of the blue.

So I started running. It immediately started with a hill, which was challenging. I was still wrapping my head around running 13 miles. Granted, I have done the distance plenty of times, was I prepared today?

The course was gorgeous—in the forest. But with a small group doing the half marathon, about 4 miles in I was by myself. No music. Just me, alone with my thoughts. Yikes.

I took more walk breaks than anticipated. I was losing my motivation, Maybe I should just turn around.

I kept going and finally hit the first turn around. I ran another mile and a half and then something incredible happened. The 10k people were on the course. People!

And then it turned into a big old love fest. People were cheering me on and I was cheering them on. I ran past a bunch of my friends and they were high=fiving me. My energy came back. I was racing. I turned around again and was super excited because I would get to see everyone again!
It was a long day out there. Though because I took so many walk breaks and wasn’t doing my race pace, I noticed that I did not have the pain I usually get at miles 8 and 11. Once I saw the finish line I decided to go for it and I sprinted as fast as I could. A strong finish felt good.

My friends cheered me on as I came in. I was ecstatic for the support and It felt great to be a part of this TOGETHER.

Hmmmm…maybe THAT is the reason I tri.

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