Q+A: Why Tri?

The other day, a friend of mine asked me — “Why triathlon?”

Good question…and deserving of a blog post.

The simple and short of it all is that I’m trying to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Training for a triathlon takes a lot of time and dedication. It takes a certain amount of willpower to commit to a training and nutrition plan. It cuts into things like lazy weekends, roadtrips home, going to dinners and sometimes going to happy hour…and I’ve learned from first-hand experience that even your closest friends and family won’t be okay with this. (Most friends and family feel threatened by newfound willpower/commitment and actually try to sabotage your efforts.) In this case, being comfortable with change means that you’ll learn to back off at the appropriate times and do what’s best for you, no matter who is barking up your tree.

Most of my training is done alone, which is conducive to a lot of self-reflection, pushing, and thinking. About 10% of conscious thought is focused on technique. Another 10% is focused on intention. The rest of it is really in a state of meditation. It doesn’t mean that my mind is empty, but I’m generally concentrating on something that’s been bothering me, a problem I want to solve, or some uncomfortable part of my day that I’m trying to dissect. I spend anywhere between 5 and 10+ hours a week training, so admittedly that’s been a lot of time for me to work through those issues. In that time I’ve been able to make difficult decisions and come to terms with a lot of things that have happened to me in my life.

I’m fairly young but have lived through a lot of difficult instances — some that should have killed me, some that should’ve scarred me for life, and some that should have left me questioning my existence. Living through those experiences really just means that I’ve managed to survive and thrive despite them. I think that focusing my energy and efforts on something that requires more commitment than I’ve ever really put forth towards anything else will help me build character and gives me the chance to help others along the way. (I truly believe that the best way to improve yourself or your condition is to focus on helping other people.) I don’t think I’ve ever done anything this consistently for this long, but I’m very motivated.

If that answer didn’t suffice, here are some that I usually blurt out depending on my mood:

  • I want to prove to myself that I could achieve what I used to think was impossible.
  • I want to show other people that they can commit and achieve their goals too.
  • I want to eat as many burritos, pizzas, and hot dogs as I feel like and never feel guilty.
  • I need an energy outlet that doesn’t require me to think (too much).
  • I don’t want to die a fat, unhealthy, technological sloth.
  • I decided I needed a hobby outside of my career.
  • It was something new that I haven’t tried before.
  • I wanted to travel to different places, but with a purpose.
  • I wanted to stop worrying about how I looked and focus more on how I feel.
  • I wanted to save money on “lazy” entertainment, like booze and movies.
  • I’m taking a break from grad school and needed something worthwhile to do.

Everyone has different motivations. It doesn’t make you any more or less an athlete…but it sure will effect how sustainable your goals and methodologies really are.

Only 92 days to go until the LA Triathlon!

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