Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Why do I do this?

As one is training for an endurance event, many might ask themselves "why do I do this?"

And why do I do this? Why do I get up before the crack of dawn to go run 18 miles, bike 40, swim a mile or two? Why do I pay all this money for equipment and race fees? Why do I dedicate so much of my time to training for an endurance race and then when it is over wonder what's next?

A couple years ago I was in a rut. I would go to work, come home, watch tv, maybe go out with some friends and then repeat the process the next day. I had joined a gym, went for a while, then stopped. It was boring!!

I decided I needed to get out there more and get my body moving. I joined a softball league and that helped. But I still needed more.

One day I was perusing through the local Leisure Learning catalog looking for classes that I might enjoy taking and saw a class for marathon training. That sounded interesting. I then received a brochure in the mail from Team in Training and decided to check it out.

After the information meeting I signed up for my first half-marathon (which was later changed to a marathon). I diligently did my weekly training runs and made it to most of my long Saturday runs. And in January 2005 I completed my first marathon - Houston. And then I turned right around and signed up for my next - Austin in February 2005.

Then I signed up with TNT again, this time for an Olympic distance triathlon. I trained diligently again. And again I completed what I set out to do - the CapTexTri in May 2005.

Then I signed up with TNT again (do you see a pattern here?!). I was planning on the Marine Corps Marathon in October 2005. But injuries happen, so that was a no go.

But even before the doctor had given me the okay I had signed up for my next event. This time it was the MS150 - Houston to Austin. And while I was training for that I was already signed up for the Shiner BASH and America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride.

And now I am training for the Chicago Marathon and the Route 66 Marathon. And then when those are complete I will probably sign up for the Houston full or half marathon and then the Mardis Gras Marathon. And I just might sign up to do the MS150 again and I would very much like to do the Gulfman Half Iron Triathlon. And you just know that a Ironman is on my list of things to accomplish!

So I ask myself - why? I especially asked myself this question these past two Saturdays as I was nearing the end of my runs and all I wanted to do was sit down and take off my shoes.

Last week another participant asked our coach "Remind me again, why I am doing this?" But before she could answer, Desie (our honored team mates mother) responded "because the research money raised by LLS saved my son's life."

This would be true for me during other seasons, but this season I am not raising money. I am mentoring and cheering on everyone who is. But this season I am taking a break from fundraising. This season I am running just for me. And I am asking myself "WHY?"

There are all the obvious answers -

So I can eat what I want.
So I can lose weight. (hmmm...the first answer doesn't really go with the second!!)
So I can tighten up those abs.
So I can enjoy the outdoors.
So I can meet new people.
Because I can.
To make people proud of me.

The list can go on and on.

But you know what?

I think I do all this training and sign up for all these events for the challenge.

The challenge of pushing my body to the limits and then beyond.
The challenge of a new PR.
The challenge of doing something no one thought I could (even myself).
The challenge of overcoming all my mental hangups and all my physical limitations.

That is why I do this.

For the challenge.


Vic said...

Nice post! Thanks.

Keith said...

I have the same reasons, thanks for the nice post.

And now that I'm hooked on training, the alternative is unthinkable.

Sarah said...

When is Gulfman? Maybe I'll train for that. I've been thinking of trying a Half Ironman...

Cagey said...

I understand why. I've also noticed that usually when people ask why they don't understand even after you explain it to them.

Erin said...

Great post. :) As you know, I joined TNT for personal reasons & that still remains a reason why I still do this (well, when I'm healthy again) but now another big part of it for me is the challenge. Nobody thought I'd ever be able to do a marathon & I proved them all wrong. I've always been a bit competative & this is a way for me to compete against myself. I can't wait to get back into it. :)