Why I race

I did an indoor triathlon this weekend. It’s a YMCA event that happens at Y’s around the state all on the same weekend and then the results are poured into one list for the final results. It was the third time I’ve done this event and since it’s an indoor tri, it’s all based on how far you can go within an allotted time. I didn’t train for this beyond making sure I kept a semi-regular schedule on the bike and in the pool – activities I like to do anyway unless I’m in heavy training for a long distance running race. My goal (as usual) was to beat my previous best and I’m excited to say that I did just that and hit a distance that I set for myself the first year as a goal to prove that I was getting good at this triathlon stuff. Now the bar has been inched up for next year.

In the past I’ve coerced my running friends to do this event with me. For various reasons none of them could or wanted to participate this year – which is fine. But it got me thinking during the final leg yesterday – why do I keep wanting to do it? When I did my first half marathon, I did it with a group of women. I don’t know that I ever would have signed up and trained all on my own for that race. I couldn’t have done it without those friends. BUT…

I didn’t race it for those friends. I didn’t race because I wanted to be like them. I didn’t race because I thought I could do better than anyone else. I didn’t race it to impress anyone. I raced for me.

I race for the personal challenge.

I race for the example it sets for my children.

I race for me.

Goodness knows I’m not racing for any medals. I’ll never place. I’ll certainly never win. In some races I can’t even compete in my age group. And that’s okay – because the only person I need to impress out there is myself. I have a desire to push my limits, to be healthy and active, to show myself that I can not just hit a goal but that next time I can improve on that goal. I pay race fees for the experience and the personal accomplishment.

Sometimes as a bonus I see that my drive and determination rubs off on those young people I’m trying so hard to imbue with their own sense of drive and determination. Look who did her first triathlon this weekend:

And she totally rocked it.

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