It’s a very good question. It’s one I’ve been asked many times over, and have also asked myself. Why all this training? Is it worth it? Am I being selfish? Crazy? A combination?
As I contemplate my fitness situation, on the brink of Spain and the biggest (and arguably most important) race of my life this far, I find myself thinking – why? How did I get here? The only way to answer it, is to go back. Way back. Further. A little further. Ok, there.
As Lady Gaga loves to sing – baby, I was born this way. That is truly the only explanation. I didn’t come from competitive, sports-oriented parents. My mom battled being overweight her entire life and never participated in sports, unless you count Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons workouts. As for my dad, he literally cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. For real. I haven’t a clue why my parents put me in gymnastics when I was four years-old, but they did, and in turn created a competitive monster of sorts.
Basically, ever since I can remember, I’ve been active and competitive. Now, let me clarify that I’m competitive with myself. Yes, I love to win and beat other people out of the top spot but, I have no rivalries and my eyes and mind are only focused inward.
So, if you read my workouts or weekly rundowns and think “why?” you’re not alone. To the best of my ability, this is what I came up with:
1. Because I can. I like to see just how far I can push myself and how my mind and body will react. Plus, I was inspired by reading this post about the 25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing For Yourself, and it reminded me that there are people everywhere sick, in hospitals, like my own mom was for so long, who can’t do all of the things they want to do. I can. And, I’m a big believer in living every day to the fullest. I like to practice what I preach.
2. Because it’s fun. If you’ve ever seen me out running or biking, you’re likely to see my smiling. I love it. I truly do. Now, I don’t wake up every morning just waiting to go for a run or bike and, there have been many times I’ve wanted to give up during a workout or race or never even start for that matter! But, most of the time (and most mornings) I can’t wait to hit the road or gym and start sweating. I can’t explain it. I just love it. And, I have yet to come back from a workout and wish I hadn’t done it. That just doesn’t happen.
3. Because of the friendships. I have fitness friends, or women I have met in a gym or at a race, among my closest, life-long friends. I’ve shared personal things with some, on a run, that I normally wouldn’t tell a soul. Something changes between women when they go though years of running and racing together. There’s some serious bonding in that sweat and I wouldn’t be doing what I am without the support and inspiration they provide me. Not too mention all those snot rockets and emergency potty breaks in the woods. I didn’t say it was pretty.
4. Because of the example. My kids see my focus and discipline. They see me racing and sweating and being passionate about something. These are all very, very good things. And, because of my racing, they are getting an opportunity to travel to Spain at 5 years-old. It only leads me to wonder what other doors I can open for them just by doing what I love.
5. Because of the Gear. Like any woman, I love buying new stuff (or getting it for free!). I happen to enjoy Athleta, Oiselle and Lorna Jane as opposed to Tory Burch, J. Crew and Calvin Klien but you get what I’m saying. My sneaker collection rivals any elite and have I told you lately how much I love my bike? It’s like the boys lost triplet.
Do I have days when I question if all the time and money and sweat are worth it? Of course I do. Do I feel guilty about all the time I spend away from my family when I’m out biking or running or the ways we need to shift our priorities because of my training? Everyday. But then I think of all the reasons I listed above, (well, maybe except for the gear) and I also know that this intensity of training is only for a short time and will (hopefully) reap some amazing rewards for all of us.
I remember listening an interview with Justin Timberlake a while ago. Obviously he’s an amazing, well adjusted, stay-out-of-jail and the tabloids kind of superstar who is hilarious, can sing the hell out of a song and isn’t too bad on a guitar, piano or probably any other instrument. He said that his mom told him something once, that keeps his focus – “Singing isn’t who you are, it’s what you do.” That has always stayed with me. I’m no superstar but, to keep myself grounded and balanced, I always think that running and racing is not who I am, but just what I do. And I love what I do.
Why do you train/run/swim/bike?
Do you ever question things you love to do?
Do you have an inspirational quote that keeps you focused?