The Many Reasons to Race

Recently, I was talking with several athletes at a local sprint. I overheard one of them say, "Ya, I just got burned out... the sport got boring and the races were all the same.” I sat there and thought, how absurd- a sport that is designed for the ADD/ ADHD in mind... how does that get old- EVERY DAY/ RACE IS DIFFERENT. I even asked a couple teammates of mine that have been in the sport since the 'dark ages', meaning OVER 30years (yes, you read that right- 30+yrs as a triathlete/ active adult taking on insane challenges, motivated to stay healthy and have fun doing it). "Do you ever get bored???" They laughed in my face basically. Here are these highly successful: driven professionally, motivated personally, and many of them have incredible family commitments... Yet, they find the time, energy, and enthusiasm to wake up and hit the water or pavement, almost every day of their lives. So, I started thinking... besides the usual answers of why people train and race... Examples: training and racing to take off those extra LBS, having an outlet to manage life stress, stepping up into a new distance that 'scares' the hell out of them and into accountability, winning their AG, seeking that damn PR, moving up in rankings on a regional and/or national level, representing TEAM USA, qualifying for Kona ... really when you strip all this away... think about it... We are grown ass adults: waking up, moving some blood, maybe pushing some new limits... If you are getting bored, maybe you should start to rethink WHY am I doing this??? Here are just a few reasons, that might make you rethink your WHY and help you reconsider your motivation, when needed.

1. Race for something you believe in- Find a race that sets its proceeds aside for a local charity or non-profit. Your participation can and will make a difference. If you can't find one, help create something to support it with a local race director. Even your racing hobby can make an impact in others' lives!

2. Create new challenges- Yes Kona, IM 70.3 Worlds, Team USA- that’s all fine and well… but what else... Want to spend time outside, in a part of the country with like minded individuals, racing with folks you have never competed with= rent a bike and sign up. Don't over think or over complicate the day- go grassroots and enjoy the challenges ahead. What if you decided to compete at all your areas State and Regional Championship races- regardless of you are trying to qualify for Nationals or not... For example, USAT South Mid West Region: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana... there are over 10events: short course, long course, duathlon, aqua bike, etc... You get the opportunity of testing yourself on several types of courses, meet/ race with new friends, and I can promise you- you will learn something. What if you did back to back weekends and learned what you need to do: how you recover best, and prepare for the next weekend in order to conquer it all over again. Promise you will discover something new about your body, the science and response to the load, and you might surprise yourself- regardless part of all this hobby / life is the pure joy of learning. You have to continue to find a challenge to grow as both athlete and adult.  Still looking to win, what about stepping up the expectation- I have a teammate that set that bar pretty high; his goal: tackle all 3 IM 70.3's in Tx: Galveston, Lubbock, and Austin in 1yr. He nailed it and called it "His Triple Crown". - Mudgett. Get creative - there are way too many events and always so much to learn... Go back to the grass roots of the sport:  "Show up, put your stuff down, wait for the gun to go off, push hard, and see who gets to the finish line fastest. Guarantee you will have some stories to swap after and it just might lead to a new friend to catch a workout and beer with later."- Sears.

3. Do an event as a “guide”- If you are that experienced and are bored with all that time training by yourself... get out there and hit the course as a guide for a para-athlete in need of some assistance, to meet their goals. After so many years, you have an enormous base. BUT, if you are going to help another athlete, you want to be in the best condition and fitness as possible to ensure you are ready for whatever the race day demands. I have coached 'para-teams' and I am always up front with the 'aid/guide'- your job is to not get in his/her way... it is a privilege to be asked by the athlete- do your part to be in tip-top shape. No doubt you will experience the sport in a whole new light. How much more fulfilling can it be to be apart of another athlete's success?

4. Be a role model- So many of my clients talk about being a ‘role model’ for their children, family, or friends.  So I ask, why then you when you are putting on your shoes do you grumble under your breath or complain at the dinner table about how’ hard your workout was.’…  What if you approached your workouts as ‘recess’ from your everyday life. When you ask a kid what they did at recess, they light up. Do you light up when you workout? If you are motivated to influence- make sure you don't forget training and racing is your 'play date' that speaks loud and clear to others!

5. Remember: Being active and healthy is not a given in life- There have been weeks, months, almost entire race seasons that I wasn't given the choice- being truly injured or sick, you have no option but to wait.  There are no adjustments to made when life throws you personal injury/ illness, professional ups/ downs, family or friends' needing you by their side. Although training and racing may become mundane, I always have to ask, are we just making excuses and forgetting that health is a gift and responsibility to care of like any other relationship. It has been said, "Your lack of commitment, will lead to a lack in your motivation, and soon it will be your loss." So, you might say, training and racing still can get old... so what, you have a 'working relationship' with your health that you cannot cheat on- to maintain it, in the end, you have to take care of it. Training and racing is an easy way of to "show up" for your health. We are so very lucky in the DFW area to have a race almost every bloody weekend.  Take advantage of these events- race for something you believe in, get creative and be open to new self-made challenges, be apart of another's victory, remember that this is your time to play, and don't take anything for granted...

Bored, sit down with me... we can REDEFINE your WHY, otherwise... See you out at the races!" Questions/ Comments, Email: Amari@playtri.com