Over the past 18 months the Noosa Aquatic Centre has almost become my second home. Between swimming, water running, strength and treadmill sessions I seem to spend a lot of time there. As I shuffled in at 5.30am this morning I was greeted with a friendly but concerned face, ‘why do you look so tired?’ I was asked.
Oh you know, just did a 180km ride yesterday, feeling a bit shattered… Understandably the conversation progressed to why do you put your body through that, then come back for more training the next day? What makes you even want to do a race that literally takes all day (up to 17 hours)? Lots of people ask this, and I usually just grin and say I love it. But today I realised there must be more. There must be a reason why I am willing to sacrifice the sleep, social life, friends and ultimately comfort. It’s one thing dragging yourself out of a warm bed on wintery morning, but then pushing your body to the limit hours on end. And I’m not just talking about on race day, race day is the reward part for the months of hard work. I’m talking every. Damn. Day. But what is the reason I do it, do I even have one?
In a couple of weeks I’m going to be toeing the start line at Ironman Malaysia, it’s set to be a hot, humid, tough and brutally challenging day. I have no doubt there will be moments when I’ll want to quit, I’m going to need to know why I’m there, when everything’s hurting and my blood feels like it’s boiling, why I should keep going. If I’m wondering that now, what am I going to be thinking on race day?
I’ve been thinking about it all day which brings me to writing this post, why am I doing this? I started triathlons for two primary reasons, firstly for health reasons and secondly to find my purpose in life. Surely there had to be more to life than eat, sleep, work, repeat. When I told someone this back in 2013 they scoffed, doing exercise isn’t going to give you purpose in life, you should have a baby or do charity work, do something meaningful was her response.
Now I’m the first to admit it, triathlon is a pretty selfish sport. It’s not a cheap sport and I swim, ride and run for hours upon end every week, sometimes to the detriment of other aspects of my life (sorry friends, I will catch up soon I promise!) I’m not feeding the poor, raising a child or building a more sustainable future but that’s not why I tri. When I started I was looking for something that gave me a purpose, made me want to jump out of bed every morning, a goal that challenged me, something that I could work towards, and that’s what I found.
Some people tri to make a living, some people tri for a loved one, to raise money for charity or in loving memory, some people tri to fight depression or to have time to themselves. Some people Tri to chase their dreams, inspire others or to make someone proud. Everyone has a reason, and each and every one is as valid as the next. Ironman recently ran a campaign getting women to answer #whywetri and I loved reading everyone’s reasons but I’ve spent all day thinking about it, there are hundreds of things I love about triathlon but to nail down one one reason ‘why I tri’… I couldn’t do it.
I’m not there to prove to anyone that I can, my nearest and dearest aren’t any more impressed with me completing an ironman compared to a 5k fun run. I’m not there to qualify for Kona or break any world records, and clearly not in it for the prize money, I actually paid $800+ to race! I’m literally there because I want to be, I’m there because I love the thrill of the chase, to see just how far I can push myself. I love almost every aspect of triathlon training and racing and can’t imagine life without it.
So there we have it, when I’m in Malaysia and I’m going through hell, I’ll have to keep going… Even if I want to quit I know I can’t, I’m there because I want to be. No one else really cares what happens, they’ll love me anyway, it all comes down to me.
I hope that wasn’t too much of an anti-climax! There’s no reason why I tri apart from because I love it, which I could’ve told you at the start of the day and saved myself a whole lot of over thinking. Feel free to remind me of this next time I’m tired and whinging 😉
Until next time, may you get all your wishes but one, so that you will always have something to strive for.