Fancy a threesome?

Posted on November 30, 2012

3


3someI write this from Phuket, a mere 36 hours before the start of the Ironman 70.3.  There’s an excitement in the air and a nervous anticipation all round.  I, however, observe with complete and utter race envy. You see, this is my first experience of travelling to a race strictly as a supporter and not a competitor. After two very mountainous 100k’s this month, my legs still feel heavy but still, the lure of a race, regardless of your sport, is all-encompassing and I feel half tempted to source a bike and beg for a late entry.

Today we registered and then took to the roads to drive the bike course … a chance to experience first hand the twists and turns, the ups and downs and the ditches and glitches to watch out for. I feel like I’ve been inundating the boys … those being the ab fab David Hunt and my very own sweetheart Simon … with endless questions. Strategy, times, nutrition, hydration, kit … you name it, I’m fascinated to learn more about the world of triathlon. Besides, you never know if I might turn a hand to it myself one day.

I’ve also been thinking much about why it’s become such a phenomenally massive sport. Why triathlon? And I’ve come to the simple yet sweet conclusion that it’s down to the lure of having a big, hairy and audacious goal.

People love big goals. BIG goals. Most New Years resolutions fail not because people make them with an intention to fail but rather because they set them too small. Choose little goals and they don’t matter, they seem unimportant and not worth the hassle to achieve. Losing a little bit of weight, for example, seems less alluring than devouring a tub of strawberry cheesecake Haagen Dazs.

But set yourself a BIG challenge and the will to win becomes worth committing to. You stir up motivation and determination from deep within.

As for the three disciplines involved in triathlon?  We all learn to swim when little. Most of us had swimming lessons growing up but then we often quit.  Returning to swimming then … perfecting your stroke and refining your technique … makes it a very different experience as an adult. Same with cycling. What kid didn’t have a BMX as a child but then picking it up again, years later, with all the technical trials and trails, brings with it wonderful challenge. As for running, we all ran instinctively as kids. As teens, amongst girls anyway, we all ran to fit into our size zeros.  For most, it’s only years later that running becomes this incredible endorphin-pumping, stress-relieving, confidence-boosting, life-enhancing activity.

Combine all three then and perhaps in the mind of a triathlete they add up to five or ten.

Big races also bring with them social status. Think back to school days. The coolest kids were not those who aced the math tests or the spelling bees. Rather those with an athletic prowess ruled the playground. Likewise, anyone can get a degree these days.  And we can all save up for the latest gizmo or gadget. Few though have the strength of mind or the determination to reach beyond their comfort zone and achieve something great through their own blood, sweat and tears.

These events change those who take part too. They become addictive by nature.  I’ve found myself on more than one occasion swearing during a low moment of a race that I’ll never do another but within days of crossing the finishing line, I’m researching my next fix.

Such is the lure of the endurance high.

Finally, is the love of winning. Everyone loves to win and when it comes to the likes of triathlon, tough races both physically and mentally, everyone is a winner. You need not podium, pb or qualify. Simply crossing the finish line renders you a star, capable of withstanding the pressures that got you to the end and capable of then achieving so much more in other areas of your life.

Triathlon is a journey and the rewards I imagine are priceless … which takes me back to where it all began as despite my current race envy, I know that I shall enjoy every moment of race day as if it were my own. I shall be standing at the side, full of excitement, butterflies galore and rooting for results. And whatever happens, the boy I’m here to watch is a winner.

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