For the last few weeks I had a few people tell me what I am doing is an obsession. This couldn’t be further from the truth. For those that haven’t trained for a Marathon, a century bike ride, a long swim race, or any type of triathlon (Sprint, Olympic, 1/2, or full distance) I can see how one would think this way. To train for any type of multi-sport distance event takes time. Sometimes it’s significant time. The secret is balancing it. It’s a myth that all we do is train and are selfish.
While some of us are competitive the majority of us aren’t. I am in the latter. I compete against myself and the desire to improve. My competitiveness is very much exaggerated. Sure I want to do well in a race but unless I put in way more time it’s really not possible. How much time do I need? I honestly don’t know. During the training season (April- September) I normally put in 8-15 hours a week of training. From research I hear you need several years at 15-20 hours. But everyone is different and that’s not the point of this post.
What I do is a lifestyle! It’s something I truly enjoy. It’s not selfish and racing doesn’t make one competitive. It makes me want to push my limits. Doing this type of exercise actually has made me more relaxed in life. In my 20’s when I wasn’t working out I didn’t know it at the time but I had all this pent up energy and would have mood swings. I would take it out on people and later would feel bad about it. Now I channel that energy while I am working out or during a race.
You have to want to do this type of lifestyle. It’s not something I would recommend to people. It really is in your blood. I didn’t find this out until about 5 years ago or so. Now I get criticized by some people taking this over the top. Why? I have no idea. I am not someone who can workout a few days a week and stay fit and in shape. Sure at the end of the season while I am recovering I can but if I take off a few weeks I start to put on weight. In my opinion the majority of us get into this because we are trying to lose weight and then we turn it into a lifestyle. Not an obsession!
What’s the difference between an obsession and a lifestyle? If I was obsessed I wouldn’t adjust my workout schedule, see my son, or spend time with a friend. In my previous life I was obsessed with the Dallas Cowboys. This is not the same at all. A lifestyle is finding out what your plans are for the week and finding time to workout in it. It’s about being flexible. It’s keeping everyone happy.
Doing 8-12 races a year isn’t an obsession or over-the-top. It’s doing something you enjoy with other people and pushing your limits. Most of these events are for charity. For the most part I do a few early season races to see where my fitness is, then spread out a few races over the spring time, and finally do a handful in late summer and into the fall. If a family obligation comes up I won’t race. It’s about balance as I mentioned above.
I got feedback from a few people in passing saying I couldn’t date someone with that lifestyle. Why? People who exercise have way more energy, they live longer, and are much happier in life. People who sit on the couch and watch several hours of TV may be around more now but won’t be later in life. People who exercise are much better at balancing their lives. I built two sheds, finished off a basement, a home office, & a laundry room. Go find a lazy person to do that!
The bottom line is this is a lifestyle. So I am sorry if this comes across as me being a bit annoyed but the ones who have questioned me don’t know what I do on a day-to-day basis. They just assume I workout non-stop. The truth is I think about my son non-stop. I want to make him proud of me. I am hoping at some point I will find someone who either shares similar goals or understands why we do this.