That is the Question….

A new friend of mine, and fellow triathlete asked a question on one of our group pages and I thought I share it, as well as my answer to her and encourage any comments you have that she might also learn from for her new blog coming soon (which I will share when it is ready)

She wanted to know how different endurance athletes view their experience (why they do it, what they get out of it, etc). from Lindsay- after a heated debate with her significant other:-), “I’m definitely on the side of “enjoying the journey” while he’s solidly on the side of “the only goal is to win.” I’d love to hear from any endurance athletes on the topic: Is the journey the fundamental point, or is the end result the main reason you train so hard – and why?”

My Response- (edited a touch for clarity)

The journey is part of the daily fix I need to feel healthy and motivated and strong and on the path to a better me. If I didn’t have events I was signed up for waiting for me in the future, I’m not sure how I would stick to or get SO much satisfaction in the daily training.  I enjoy testing myself in training, as well as just “being” in the moment, and am aware of having great days, or not great days, feel a great pride in good efforts.  However, once I got a taste of doing well in an event, time and placing wise, well….. Then I found a new level to push for in my daily goals.  I found I DO like winning or placing well in my age group, and certain events I reallly go for overall placing.  At my age – now 39, there are not many things that you can satisfy the urge to compete and get recognition for it coming together.  So while I love my daily training, it has much more value to me when I know the effort is going towards a certain level of performance on race day.  With that said, I also am satisfied (mostly) when I have done as good or better than I hoped, regardless of my actual “placing”, because the only person I can control is me, and goodness knows there are some amazing gifted tough athletes out there.  I love competing because I also can see what is possible, I never would have thought Kona was an option for me, until I met people who started where I did and ended up making it, & proven to myself that I was qualified to even shoot for it through pushing my limits in races with results that showed me the possibilities. It is not about “beating” people either so much, though friendly rivalries are fun and a great challenge:-)  The process of training, tapering, eating well, planning schedules etc is part of my life now, and when I come to the start to race, it is my best I hope to beat, if it means I take home hardware, that’s a great bonus-if I do not, as long as I was bested by others hard work and talent, and not beaten by myself, I am happy.

I thought it fitting to post this today, since I just PR’d my half marathon time by 5 min on a way tougher course than my original PR, after a winter of work towards it… Very happy- and I was 17th out of  3,649 girls, 5th age group of 524.  That’s a nice boost to keep working and reward for what I’ve been doing, but if I didn’t love it anyway, no results would matter, good or bad.

Would love to get your thoughts and share with Lindsey!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Numberz Runner
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 17:45:39

    What an intriguing question.

    I know I’ll never be on a podium after a race. But I also can’t train for months on end for a half marathon or marathon…just because. Or just to “be” healthy. There’s not enough satisfaction in that for me.

    I’ve been a competitor in various sports my entire life (and even now in business) and I need to compete. In running, while I’m in the middle of the race, I do get competitive with the folks around me. But the real sense of satisfaction comes from bettering my PR’s, from pushing myself farther, from pushing myself faster. I need goals to break…

    That’s part of the reason I broke down in uncontrollable sobs after breaking the 4-hour mark in my second marathon. That had been my sole goal for a year…and I finally achieved it. I beat myself.



    • roadtoironmom
      Mar 17, 2012 @ 20:08:49

      This is great! I really love the emotion endurance brings out in everyone. Sometimes I cry FOR people, how awesome their accomplishment is in the moment. Someday I want to be a catcher at finish lines:-)



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