An innate need for understanding is human. Since the dawn of man we have continually asked many types of questions. “I am” therefore “I exist” and there must be a purpose for my existence. Ok, so maybe I am not really digging that deep, this is a triathlon blog not a debate on the meaning of life, stay with me. I get asked, “Why do I Tri?”, far too frequently to not take some time to evaluate a deep response. It just so happens, I contend with this question at the greatest frequency during the off-season, but here we are on the verge of a brand new season and I am still pondering. After extensive reflection of my many years in athletic pursuit I have been able to break down my response into four parts.
As triathletes we are constantly challenged physically. The inherent discipline required for success has no bounds and your body reaps the benefits. Its that simple.
Part II-Well being
Prior to my annual “A” race I physically feel tip-top. This benefit not only pours into my physique, but also mental form. The human body was meant to move and with movement the rewards are numerous. I find myself approaching work and life’s challenges with ease and a calm mind. Good training sessions become Zen moments where I am able to escape the heavy weight of life responsibilities and step outside myself for realignment. Exercise is powerful medicine that should be doled out like water and available to every community. In fact, the sweet and immediate benefits from the neurochemical release of serotonin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine and endorphins lace each session with happiness and cheer. Consistency in our training also improves aerobic capacity, metabolism, vascular health and body fat percentages. This is just the tip of the iceberg of all the health benefits that come along with your training.
Part III-The people
People from all walks of life toe the line at triathlons. Many of these triathletes have overcome a plethora of personal and physical battles. It is an environment free of discrimination. Triathletes pursue the same distance of the same course regardless of your experience, gender, age, race, ethnicity, religious preference and/or sexual preference. In fact, chances are your fellow competitors and spectators will be cheering everyone with a smile, funny signs and more cowbell (please more cowbell).
Beyond the support, triathlons also give a unique scenario that allows recreational athletes to compete on the same course and the same time as the professionals. Being able to cheer on your favorite pro’s as you race or snag a photo for your Facebook page at the finish is quite cool.
Part IV-Experience the world
Triathlons are a global phenomenon. You can plan your race season with your adventure cap on. The courses allow you to explore a unique world perspective. You are able to spend time swimming in the oceans, lakes or rivers; then head out on your bike blazing a PR on a flat prairie course, rolling hills or battle the mountains peaks; finally, finish it off in glorious pain as you run through trails, rural and urban landscapes. Now doesn’t that sound delightful.
So take some time and reflect on your favorite perks of triathlons and ask yourself,
“Why do I Tri?”