Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Wildflower Jewel... Lasting Thoughts

It doesn't matter if you've been training for triathlons for a month or for years know it can be a solitary sport. This is especially so when running. For some the solitude is an attraction but that's not the case for me. Just like any other triathlete, I find myself alone for many a run and I'd rather train with a friend or a team. The social connection and inclusion of the sport is a large part of why I enjoy racing and going to events. It's what I call "social facilitation." And it's that same connection why I blog and read the blogs of other triathletes. The community, both virtual and real, is a place I want to belong. Traveling to Wildflower gave me the chance to connect with many in the TriBlogger Alliance and search for the elusive sense of inclusion.

I wanted to feel like I was welcome and belonged with this rare group of athletes.

The race is the focal point of what is Wildflower but the real jewel of the race is in the people. An extraordinary fortune is not on the race course but is found in the camaraderie.

I had so many conversations with my mates in the camp and so many greetings from visiting bloggers it's hard to recount them all. However, these are a few that will last within me:

While sitting in the stands beside Bolder watching athletes finish he turned to me and said, "This is what makes the sport worthwhile. Just sitting here with your buddies soaking it all up." I patted him on the back and said, "You're right. It's a cool group of people. You're on a great team."

... and, it felt good to be a part of his sport.

The hard packed trail hugged the ridgeline high above the lake and showcased the water below. As we walked JetPack and I spoke about the race and our camp mates. I told him that when asked why I want to be a part of the TriBlogger Alliance I direct them to his website and his story. I'll say, "Check out this guy. After reading about him who wouldn't want to associate themselves someone like this?" We nodded our heads in agreement and continued down the trail.

... and, it felt good to be a part of his camp.

As any long-time reader of my blog will tell you, there are many well written triathlon blogs in the Alliance... and mine, well, not so much. I admire those bloggers who can express themselves well with their words and I try to do the same. So, whenever I get a compliment from a reader it feels very good.

The night before the long course race Michael of NeopreneWedgie.com introduced himself to me. As a reader of his blog, and after hearing so many good things about him from the Get Your Geek On podcast, it was a pleasure to meet him. He told me that he's a reader of my blog and had very kind words to say. He said, "Your posts about the Boston Marathon are very well written and inspiring. If you decide to make a book from your blog you MUST include them." Wow! I mean WOW!

... and, it felt good to be a part of his blogging alliance.

The night after the race I was lamenting to Brett from Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcast about my bike equipment trouble and slow run. I shrugged my shoulders in surrender about the reasons why my legs were toasted on the race. He said, "Dude, two weeks ago you ran the Boston Marathon and rode the MS 150 in one day. Those are two of the biggest events in North America and you did them both. Then, today, you finished the toughest half-Ironman there is. No wonder you're spent. You accomplished a lot."

... and, it felt good to call him a friend.

While sitting around the campfire Roman Mica pulled up a chair next to me. We spoke about how good it was to see all of Team raceAthlete together in one place and how much I've enjoyed following the athletes and their training through their blogs and podcasts. He excused himself for a couple of minutes. When he returned he handed me a Team raceAthlete race jersey, still in the plastic bag, and said, "Welcome to the team, Brian," and shook my hand.

... and, it felt good to belong.

Stay tuned...

15 comments:

Donald said...

Don't sell yourself short. You've written some of the best things I've seen on tri-blogs, and this post is a great example. You belong with that group as much as anybody else.

Bigun said...

Great post - you got Roman to give up a rA shirt? Wow! That's like 10 times better than buying one. You da Man! Really, I enjoy your writing too, and look foward to meeting you at Woodlands...

Rural Girl said...

I am new to blog and podcast land. I first heard you and heard of you through Get Your Geek On. It was great to meet you in person at Wildflower. Now hopefully I'll get to know you better through your blog. BTW your radio voice is great.

Brent Buckner said...

As you're thinking those things, others are thinking similar things about you!

greyhound said...

**singing**

"sometimes you wanna go
where everybody knows your name
and they're always glad you came . . ."

Isn't this so much better than a bar stool on a sitcom or a pretend community that gathers around TV shows?

21stCenturyMom said...

And let's not forget the relay hug from Shelly. How often do you get a Canadian Hug in California via a total stranger?

Your writing is just awesome - you can cut that 'mine, not so much' stuff out right now.

Laurie said...

Great post Boomer!

It is a great feeling to belong to something bigger than you. This is a great community of hard working and supportive people. You are definitely one of the group.

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

I loved your post. You articulated very well just how much heart all of the folks in The Land of Blog truly have. Can't wait to meet you at Woodlands!

Wendy said...

"not so much"????

Boomer, do you read your own blog??

Your posts are well crafted and articulate; often moving and resonant. Just as this one was.

Shelley said...

Just like you..beautiful post boomer...you I like..:-)

Charles said...

I love reading your blog and as a fellow TNTer have always felt connected to your journey. Thanks for letting share it through your blog

Fe-lady said...

I was on the fringes...but still felt part of it all!

Cliff Tam said...

TriBoomer,

Seeing how all you guys went to race Wildflower reminds me of how this is a great team sport.

I for one love to train alone. But I also love the social aspect through the blogs and seeing each other on race day.

As Bold said, this is what's all about, sitting with your buddy and soaking it up....

Some day we gotta race together :)..

ironjenny said...

You're my peeps, Boomer!!!

Anonymous said...

It is remarkable, very amusing piece