My Triathlon Story
18 Hours Later…
So it’s been about 18 hours since I registered for IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga and I’m still excited: still motivated. That’s a good sign.
By the way, IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga is a lot to write and if I’m going to keep blogging about my journey there, I need something shorter. Some people call it “Chatty“. That might work. How’s IM703Chatty? (Don’t answer that. I’m not really asking you).
What’s In A Story?
Artists and marketers make a big deal about stories. Artists are interested in the human aspects of stories and what we can learn from them. Marketers are interested in telling stories so you’ll feel good about spending money. Good leaders also tell stories. Either way, it’s a good idea to know your triathlon story. If you’ve ever signed up for an IRONMAN race, you’ve been asked to provide a short “story.” In fact, it’s a requirement for registration (along with the waivers and insurance stuff). They are looking for marketable stories to inspire other would be athletes.
Even if you are never asked for your story, I encourage you to write down why you take the journey you do. It provides motivation in times of self doubt. And it reminds you of that “one thing” that will carry you through the toughest days.
Triathlon is an amazing journey and I often say that it is a microcosm of life itself. If that sounds like hyperbole, then consider the first noble truth of Buddhism:
“To live you must suffer.”
I’m no Buddhist. But I do know that a right amount of suffering is needed to grow in all aspects of life. Grass grows thicker when you mow it, muscles get bigger when you stress them and people learn things after failures. Triathlon embodies all of that, yet my story is simple. I have no debilitating diseases. I am not a challenged athlete. I have not overcome obesity. I am not a celebrity.
Outside of family, there are two passions I follow. The first is training and racing in triathlon and the second is telling stories of triathlon through video. The seed of both those passions came from my father which is interesting, because he never participated in a triathlon. He did, however, tell stories of running down the Pacific Coast Highway on quiet mornings or running up the hills of Pacific Palisades. Dad could tell a story like no one else and, even though I hated running at the time, I loved his stories. At his memorial I confessed that he could outrun me when I was 16 and he was 56.
I raced my second IRONMAN on the first anniversary of Dad’s death and although he never saw me race when he was alive, it made him so happy that I got out there and did it. He knew the transformative power of the sport. He knew the temporary suffering on the field of athletics would ease the greater suffering of one’s own inner deamons.
Suffering the loss of a loved one is never easy. It’s not pretty. It’s not newsworthy. Yet every one of us will suffer that loss. Triathlon keeps alive in me, the dream that one day I might look in the mirror and see the person I saw in my father.