It’s funny. I have a running/tri friend, who I have now known for over 7 years. She cracks me up with her witty, sarcastic humor. We are both training for this crazy 70.3 and one day our conversation turned to why we do triathlons. I mean, WTH? Waking up at insane hours only to run or ride for hours on end?
We joked, why couldn’t we be the women who play bunco? Why not give up tri and join a book club? You know, women sitting around someone’s living room or dining room? Sipping wine and snacking on the new Tastefully Simple dip? Gossiping and sharing stories about the kids? Those types of activities seem far more sane than the early hours, the sore muscles, the sweat, the tears, the gels, the muscle cramps, GI issues.
But wait! I realized something...
I realized I’d miss out on riding 40 hilly miles with an awesome group of athletes, then commiserating afterwards about how slow we went up that final, shitty hill. I’d miss the feel of speeding downhill at 30 mph with the wind in my face and the feeling of freedom that comes along with it. I’d miss cracking up laughing as my friends and I step into a freaking cold lake, squealing like a bunch of school girls. Or, cracking up laughing as we hit a nasty patch of Hydrilla in the lake and freak out mid-stroke. I’d miss out on the gory details of someone’s GI issue during a 22-mile run…because trust me, when you run with a group of women for 5 months, you cover pretty much every topic during those hours and miles. I’d miss the sense of satisfaction that comes along with accomplishing a new goal – that longest run, the most miles ever on a bike, the calm open water swim. I’d miss the confidence and the feeling of “Hey! If I can do that, I can do pretty much anything!” after running a marathon (I can only imagine how much more amazing it would feel after an Ironman or Ultra). I’d miss out on the nutrition discussions - what is better pre-race, a bagel and almond butter, steel cut oats or Pop-Tarts? And I’d miss out on the fashion discussions centering around the best compression socks, instead of Jimmy-Choos.
And sure, I’d miss out on the lack of sleep, the sore muscles, the nagging aches, the Gu-induced tummy issues.
I’d miss out on feeling tough. Strong.
I don’t mean to be critical of women who are in book clubs or have bunco groups, I’ve actually wanted to attend the ones in my neighborhood. I love any kind of girl time! (Of course, a workout of some kind always gets in the way.) But then I realized something else - I am exactly where I want to be.
Challenging myself to be a little faster, to go a little farther, to be a little stronger.
I love it.