Saturday, August 13, 2005


Okay, so Wil tagged me to talk about my triathlon inspiration. Hm... That's honestly something I don't think much about, and maybe I should.

I got into this whole business by accident. I was left spinning my wheels after grad school, unable and unwilling to focus on anything remotely intellectual and in need of something to do. I started running with my husband in the evenings and when his cousin encouraged us to join his marathon training group, we figured why not?

Triathlon came later, after Dan participated in a sprint relay. I went to watch and thought, I can do that! No matter that I didn't have a bike, hadn't been on a bike in years and had never learned to swim. After doing a marathon in spite of an injury that cost me my last two months of training, anything seemed possible.

That was a few years ago and now here I am wondering which Ironman or Iron-distance race to sign up for!

So what inspires me to do all this? Being able to eat as much Indian food as I want, for starters. Oh, wait-- that's motivation, inspiration's close cousin. Sorry 'bout that...

So what inspires me?

The ordinary people.

The people like you and me-- flawed, fallible, not particulary gifted, not likely to ever win a major award, much less be able to earn a living at all this running, biking and swimming. It's the people who will never be great but do it anyway. And if you want to see my eyes really mist up, tell me a story about someone who has struggled with major obstacles and who still finds a way to make their dreams happen.

How about Louie Bonpua, who finished Ironman Canada, even though he was dying of leukemia? Wow. That kinda puts things in perspective, doesn't it? Here I wonder if I should skip a run because my legs are a little tight or the bed just feels sooooo comfy, and this guy trained through a terminal illness!

Or how about Christian Sadowski, who got hit by a motorcycle on the Kona course last year and walked, carrying his bike the last 7 miles of the course before changing into running shoes, doing the marathon and finishing before the 17 hour cutoff? That's a demonstration of will that makes any other excuses pale by comparison.

Of course, it doesn't take such spectacular stories to get me inspired. Just about any of the accounts in Karen Douglass Thom's Becoming an Ironman can get me going. Whenever I read this book I don't know whether to cry or lace up my running shoes. (Hint: I usually go with the latter. I hate to be caught crying.)

In all honesty though, it doesn't even require an Ironman effort to inspire me. Just reading about an ordinary person's ordinary struggles to learn to run a mile or overcome a fear of swimming is inspirational to me. It's the struggle against one's own fears and doubts that I love to hear about.

Gifted people amaze me. But it's the fat guy down the block who has the courage to get out there on his bike and make change happen in his life who is really my hero. He inspires me, he gives me the courage to go try things I didn't think I could do. And sometimes, when all goes well, I end up inspiring myself.

Recent Workouts
Wednesday: 45 minute core and upper body workout, 4 mile run
Thursday: 1000 meter swim, lats and ab workout, 30 minute bike - Cyclerobx video
Friday: 45 minute core and upper body workout
Saturday: 15 mile run


Wil said...

Oh, I hear you on the Indian food thing...LOL!

This was an awesome post! Amazing what people can do, how far they can push themselves. If that's not inspiring, I can't imagine much else being so.

TriFeist said...

That's quite a bit of inspiration you've written for the rest of us. Cool perspective. Thanks.

Chris said...

+1 for Indian food here! :)

I totally hear you about the normal Joe being inspiring, though. Those folks that really take the sport to heart and for whom triathlon has had a permanent lifestyle impact to them are the stories that I just love hearing about!

Bearette24 said...

I love Indian food too :)

I was wondering about your core workout. What are some of the things you do to strengthen your core? Soon I will be getting certified as a yoga teacher, and I would like to grow stronger in this area.


nancytoby said...

I love those stories!!! There's always that thought ... if THEY can do it, then maybe, just maybe.... I CAN TOO!