Hello. My name is Paul, and I … am a triathlete.
I know that may be hard for some of you to hear, and so many questions are buzzing into and out of your minds like, “Wait, so you run… for fun?” and “But why would you do that to yourself?”
The answer to those and so many other similar type questions is simple. I am a triathlete. I don’t really know if it is something in our DNA or a switch that gets flipped in our brains, but endurance athletes are certainly cut from a different cloth. We seek out new ways to challenge ourselves, and embrace the pain and suffering of months and months of hard training. For most of us, we will never win a race, we might get onto an Age Group podium one day (especially as we get into our (very) later years when if you finish the race you’re on the podium simply as a result of how many entrants there were in your age group.
I have heard people ask if triathlon is a sport…. No, triathlon is not A sport, it’s 3 sports each of which require different strengths and abilities. If you think triathletes are recreational athletes, think again. Even the back-of-the-packers are looking to better themselves from one year to the next and are keeping their eyes on the clock as much as the person leading the race. Yes, it is true that we are all out there for fun and because we love it, but find me a person on the course not trying to push themselves a little bit harder than is comfortable.
We spend hours in the pool and have unconditionally accepted the fact that we will have goggle rings around our eyes and smell like chlorine for hours after we finish up a session. We look forward to the fatigue we feel in our legs after a long run or ride when walking up the stairs because thats what tells us our training is working. Being comfortable is great, but we can’t grow as athletes (physically or mentally) by training in our comfortable zones. As my coach tells me, we need to get comfortable with being UN-comfortable, push past our limits, and come through on the other side a little stronger and a little faster, be able to go a little longer.
So for those of you out there reading this…push yourselves to get outside your comfort zone! How doesn’t matter… maybe read a book instead of watch TV at night, add an extra 5 pounds to your bench press, run an extra mile, take 15 seconds off your mile time, or call that guy/girl you’ve been wanting to call. Taking chances and pushing ourselves past our limits can only serve to make us all better.