Monday, June 21, 2010

The unknown (but welcome) consequences of well intentioned ideas

 The 405 Freeway, today at 6:30.  On the way to swim coaching...

If you're like me, the decision to try a triathlon was pretty simply motivated.  Maybe it just sounded fun.  Maybe it was a way to put yourself to the test.  Maybe it was a dare.

And if you're like me, it didn't take long before the motivation became a little more complex.  By many measures, my first race was a disaster.  Except it wasn't, because I finished.  And by finishing, a switch went off inside me.  For the first time in a long time, I started down a very significant new road.

Many years ago someone told me to stop worrying all the time, because things have a way of working themselves out.  I liked the sentiment, but didn't trust the source.  This "sage" man was a guy who would go to the swap meet to buy a book, and pick a Danielle Steel novel over a Robert Ludlum novel just because it was a nickel cheaper.  There is no problem with being frugal, but this struck struck me as a little weird.  So I took his advice with a grain of salt.  More importantly, I wasn't ready listen.

But it turns out he was right.  Like how I now try to approach most things, I approach triathlon with an active passiveness.  Though I tend to be meticulous in training and educating myself about the sport, I also realize that life works best when I'm a leaf floating down a stream - I'm going somewhere, but I'm not sure where.  I'm just happy to be floating along.

The stream is getting wider.  I'm constantly amazed, perhaps daily, what a positive impact triathlon has.  It's easy to measure the direct impact that the 1, 2 or more hours we all train everyday.  Mileage increases.  Speed increases.  Fitness increases.  But what about the other 22 hours of the day?

Training logs don't address these hours.  But I would guess all of us have experienced benefits from this lifestyle that where never contemplated at the beginning of the journey.  For me it's being more engaged.  I'm excited about things again.  And if you don't mind me saying, I'm pretty darn proud of myself for getting my health back.  The best part?  I made out like a bandit, because it was fun.  Globally, the benefits are endless.  I think this is a sport where anyone can find what they are looking for if they work at it.

All of us come from different backgrounds and athletic abilities.  By reading your blogs, it's clear that many of your are much more gifted athletes that I am.  But hardly any of the blogs focus solely on training or racing.  Training and racing may be a key component, but it's always reported with a lot of depth.  I learn from that.  Also, we all share parts from the other "22 hours" of our day.  I learn even more from that.  In fact, I would suggest that this part of the equation is the great equalizer that makes this community so vibrant.

I welcome the opportunity to be in this community.  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that such a support system came standard with this lifestyle.  And it goes beyond the blogs - it's pretty much everywhere.  People helping people simply because we all know we are involved in something special.

I bought some swim goggles, a bike and a pair of running shoes because I thought it sounded pretty cool to see what it would be like to swim a quarter mile, bike 9 miles and run 3.  That was a well intentioned idea.  I had no idea how great the consequences would be.

17 comments:

Johann said...

Lovely post! I agree with you, the people I know through the blogs and other communities are awesome. I never thought I would get so much out of it. All normal people doing something special.

Caratunk Girl said...

It is funny how doing something on a whim or randomly or however it came along - turned into so much more for so many of us.

Love the leaf in a stream reference...

Jennifer said...

I love this post. Ha ha, I realize now you do have a warm and fuzzy side.... embrace it. You are very good at expressing the intricacies of how we live and breathe our athletic lives. The inspiration is killing me! Great job!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

What happened to Patrick the tri-gangsta? :) I agree, that the community is the best part - I waited a year and a half to start sharing my blog really and following others to share ideas. The only downside? The community is spread out all over the world. On the positive side, we learn a lot about each other's cultures.

misszippy said...

It is addicting, no doubt! Glad you found it.

skierz said...

great post! who would have ever thought that triathlon would begin to define some of our lives and we would enjoy and share it through the internet with people from around the world! WOW! this is one hell of a cool life we live!

DRog said...

Great great post!! Haven't yet done a Tri...but a couple years ago started training to lose weight and didn't anticipate the best part is when I train I am happier:)
"The stream gets wider" - love that
-D

Matty O said...

I have learned so much more from blogging than I have from my Tri Club... Its a positive community all around and there are very few people who are out to beat you. Its more or less, everyone has a story and everyone is competing for a different reason.

Nice post, very well spoken.

Big Clyde said...

This is a great post. I also entered my first race, just on a whim, hoping for a change in my life. That definitely happened.

Thanks for reminding me that we are all together in this.

Glenn Jones said...

Well said Patrick I started this all a couple years ago because I was getting winded when I changed the channels on the TV (well, not *quite* that bad). Like you, I am amazed at the community that we have out there!

Emz said...

AMAZING post.

I love this one. So - so - so true.

The story of my life, "stop worrying all the time". Thanks for writing about this.

Brandon said...

Nicely put dude! I agree 100% on the stop worrying and the consequences of trying tri's. Once you do one your hooked, and when you don't worry, you perform better at everything!

Barbie said...

I have to agree with every last word of this post. I never realised how supported I would be in my endeavours to get healthy and stay healthy. And along the way I found this wonderful sport which has given me ME.

Big Daddy Diesel said...

your right, really no one wants to read about splits, miles, time, swim sets, they want to read about what is in our mind when we are doing it, our feelings, the mindset, how we triumph when things got dark, how we stayed on a high. Thats what I love about blogging, the pure raw emotional we all feel, everyday of our life while living this lifestyle.

64 CLASSIC said...

One of the best things that I love about being part of the running community---What other sport or hobby can a person take up that makes you possibly look forward to birthdays??

Turning 50, who cares?!! I don't have to be listed in the same column as those fast 40 year old guys!! (Thats not for 4 years though!!)

Great post.

valen said...

"People helping people simply because we all know we are involved in something special"

How true that quote is!

great post!

Angie said...

perfectly put- this is exactly how I feel about distance running

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