I'm often accused of being a cynic.
There is some truth to it. However, in my defense I would argue that it's not all cynicism. I also have a dark/dry sense of humor. But I am at least somewhat guilty. And besides, if you don't pick up on my sense of humor, you are going to call me a cynic, and they say perception is 9/10th's reality. By the way, who is "They" anyway? Is it the same "They" that decided to kick Pluto off the planetary roster of the solar system? Probably. Jerks.
But it's different with triathlon and endurance sports. It's been over a year since the sport has captured my attention and there hasn't been one nanosecond of pessimism. Every stroke, pedal, and stride has been great. And it's contagious. Maybe contagious isn't the right word, but here's an example of what I mean - my wife has become very supportive of my endeavors. I suspect she sees the difference it's making in me, likes it and approves of the investment. I'd like to think the time spent training and racing pays dividends in terms of the quality of the time I spend with my family. Scratch that, I know it does.
I was trading "inspire me's" with someone on beginertriathlete.com earlier this evening. For those of you who may not know, an "inspire me" is a way to leave short messages directly on another member's training log to let them know that you've noticed how much a** the are kicking in their training, or whatever else suits the situation. Now, I need to be careful with this next bit. Though I've never been an island unto myself or a pre-Nixon visit China unwilling to interact with others, I wouldn't say the concept of the "inspire me" was necessarily in my vernacular two years ago either. The cynicism mixed with shyness maybe.
But back to the "inspire me's". We where lamenting about how we both failed to register for the big local half marathon before it sold out. She said she had a plan, I said I would like to volunteer at an aid station or something if there was still a chance.
It's because we both want to be involved in some way or another, regardless of the circumstance.
Some say its better to be "in" something instead "of" something, and I think in a lot of cases that's sage advice. It's good for life balance. In the long term it's a great way to keep your sanity or your career fresh. But I don't feel that way about endurance sports. I am proud to be "of" this world.
Because that's what it's all about. Whether we want to rule our age group or just finish the race, at the end of the day we are simply competing against ourselves. We all travel different roads, but we are all creating standards, meeting those standards, and then raising the bar again. Set a goal. Reach a goal. Repeat. Each goal met is a victory in and of itself. It's freeing and liberating and becomes a special part of us, making us happy.
I'm still giddy about it all.