While taking on the challenge of completing an endurance event we all get to a place and time when we question our motivation to train and compete. For some it's to earn a living and for others it's the accomplishment. There are some of you that do it for the sheer joy of the activity while some do it for the health or social benefits. No matter what your reasons may be, we all must have them and they must be strong convictions to continue when the winds are hot, the water freezing, and muscles ache. Otherwise, those that go on to finish a race would give up short of the starting line.
This morning a colleague asked me about my reasons. He couldn't understand why anyone would put themselves through such pain, in his words, at "my age."
After a few minutes of telling him about all of the good stuff that comes along with keeping fit and associating myself with scores of the finest every-day athletes in the region and around the world through the blogesphere I could tell I wasn't changing his opinion that training for triathlons isn't absurd for somebody ... "my age."
Then I told him my overriding reason to race is to raise money to support those in the fight with cancer. His response: "Brian, just write the check and get over yourself."
So, for a while I questioned my motivations. Perhaps he had a good point. After all, I'm not winning any races. I don't have the name notoriety, like Armstrong or Komen, to enlist thousands to get behind me in a cause. Nobody's throwing their logos or gear my way. Not once has anyone asked me wear the name of their business on my shirt. Why don't I just write the check, go the gym just enough to keep fit, and quietly get over myself?
It's not a bad way to go for somebody... "my age." Right?
Well, just about the time I think here's a bit of credence in his philosophy I receive a phone call from a father of a twelve year old girl. I'll call him Jim and I'll call the girl Sally. I've known Jim and Sally for about two years. Sally is a survivor of leukemia and I carried her name with me for the entire Ironman Wisconsin. She is one of my many heroes and an inspiration for those around her.
Jim called me at lunch to report that Sally was in the hospital. She has cerebellar astrocytoma. A brain tumor. Jim said Sally wants me and her friends not to worry about her because she will be fine. Sally is confident but, Jim and her doctors are cautiously optimistic... at best.
Jim will join me for part of the swim on February 9th during my attempt to complete the four mile swim of theRaceAthlete B-Fit B-Day Challenge. He says he's honored to help me finish. But Jim's got it all wrong. I'm the one that's honored to be with him and to do what I do for Sally and those like her.
At that moment my unfocused reasons for training for triathlons became crystal clear.
What are your reasons?
To help me reach my current fundraising goal in the fight against blood cancers please go to http://www.triathloncares.com/