Poking around the DC Tri page I ran across some “articles” written by some of the other members of the club with a handful of the recent one’s being “Why I Tri” presumably to offer motivation through the difficult cold winter. Reading through the most recent one (effectively getting me motivated and excited about my first tri coming up) I started to think about why it was I am so interested in them. None of my friends around here are into triathlons and aside from my fathers running for health purposes no one else in my family is even all that active.
So what is it that makes me want to do all of these things? Why do I keep jumping in head first to all of this new stuff? What is that draw that is pulling me in? Better yet, where do I start on this? Sure I want to be in shape and I really like doing things outdoors, but I think there is so much more to this then that. There is a deeper meaning and feeling behind the sort of soul searching that I think these events help me with; they can tell me so much about myself that I never knew and bring a tremendous feeling of accomplishment that can not be found anywhere else.
I guess it all really started back in college during a race I’ve probably mentioned here before. With a team of about 12 guys we raced very few 8 races and when we did we never really expected too much against some of the larger teams we’d be up against that could field two or more 8’s with their numbers. At one fall head race (5-6K instead of a 2K for spring races) everything in the boat just clicked right out of the shoot and we fired on all 8 cylinders through the entire race watching all of the other boats die far, far behind us. My parents were at that race and I can remember our coxswain using that to motivate me specifically and running through everyone in the boat with specific words of encouragement that sent shockwaves through our bodies. (I’m getting an adrenaline rush just thinking about and writing about this).
It’s not everyday that everyone in the boat just clicks and when that happens it is obvious to everyone involved that there is something special going on. That was the first day I had ever felt those feelings, the run in the boat, the perfect catch and release throughout and watching the boats all fall further and further away behind us; it was the most spiritual feeling I have ever had in my life. I was near tears coming down the course passing the shore where everyone was cheering us on and finishing the race all knowing that we had won and completely dominated our usual equals like they’d never been in a boat before.
While my current endeavors may never amount to the level of teamwork involved in rowing, the feelings of personal satisfaction from them can be as great if not greater. Just a year ago I never would have thought I could get out and run more then maybe a dozen or so miles. But I got out there and did it and the feeling of personal pride I got from that was incredible. Also with that sense of accomplishment came that same spiritual feeling I felt during that race; a complete and utter satisfaction upon the completion of a goal that could very well have been unattainable. When I crossed the finish line after my run, those tears of joy and satisfaction were back glistening in my eyes.
Now that I’ve done one though I can’t stop there, I’ve got to do more; more miles, more races, more workouts and naturally more events. I want to challenge myself with something that I don’t know if I can complete and then see what happens. If I complete it, then it is that much more special while if I don’t I’ll keep going back for more until I do, working harder and training longer then I did before. This is my religion and the outdoors are my sanctuary; my spirituality comes when I truly get in touch with my self and learn what I’m really made of. My next step is the Pittsburgh Triathlon and after that there will be more.