Friday, May 18, 2012

“This is Fun for Me”

Sometime back I posted a link to the XtraNormal video in which a man is telling a co-worker about why he’s training for an Ironman. After explaining to her what an Ironman is, she replies by asking “What the f--- is wrong with you?!”

Part of what makes these videos so hysterical is the deadpan monotone generated by the computer voices. Taking no offense at all to the question, the would-be Ironman answer by saying “Nothing…this is fun for me.”

When it comes to my own racing, I think that’s the point. It’s good to have lost so much weight. It’s fantastic to have a body that looks and is more toned than it was during much of my twenties. It’s meaningful to have a set of goals and a sense of purpose outside my professional life. But it’s best of all to have fun doing this.

When I was 8 years old I started playing recreation-league soccer. My coach was a tyrant. I’m sure he meant well, but his Vince Lombardi style was probably a little too intense for a group of little boys. Sure, we all learned about competing and succeeding early on, but I think that came at the expense of having fun and feeling rewarded by what we were doing. I played six seasons on his teams, but that was mostly to be with my friends.

This week, I began to feel a little nervous and stressed over my first race of the season, the Summer Open Sprint. I’m not a rookie this year, I’ve been training hard all off season and I want to perform well. What if I don’t? I’m a year older and more likely to slow down than speed up with each passing year? Will I struggle on the bike? Will my legs feel like lead on the run?

Somewhere in this reverie, I snapped out of it and thought, this is supposed to be fun! I don’t have to I get to swim, bike and run all in a single race alongside hundreds of others and my guess is that for nearly all of us, enjoyment is a major factor if not the factor that compels us to be out there.

So rain or shine, cold water or warm, tri or du (remember last year) fast or slow, I’m going to enjoy getting back into triathlon season. It’s been over eight months since my last race and I’m excited to get back to it! 

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