Monday, November 10, 2014

Triathletes Are...

"How do you know someone is a triathlete?"
"Just wait a minute or two, they'll tell you!"

"You know you're a triathlete when you become an expert at bringing up the subject at any conversation."

It is true. We love to talk about our sport. I guess it's no different than any other endeavor. When you're proud about your passion you want to talk about it. Often. But do we do it to brag, impress, inform or delight?

And why is the world all of the sudden fascinated with this endurance sport? Why the larger than life numbers of people taking up a sport that hurts? Hurts bad. Triathlon, if you're not careful, will take over your life. Your weekends will be spend mostly in Lycra and your days will tend to start and finish much earlier than you ever imagined, you will rise before any one to get that early run or ride and you will be collapsing into bed from exhaustion, and any day that this does not happen, you think was not a good day.

Could also be the new "fitness is cool culture" and a more positive attitude towards exercise. You can join a Tri Club where the "anything is possible" climate is promoted and individual accomplishments are celebrated. You train and race at your pace against folks your own age and the only pressure placed upon you is that which you place upon yourself.  This is not so in other organized sports where they are more set in their ways.

There's a physical, emotional and psychological transformation that all triathletes go through. Everyone takes up the swim, bike, run, eat, sleep, repeat challenge for a different reason; everyone's goals are unique and this is a sport that allows you to chase your dreams at your own pace, because really and truly, age is of no consequence.

But what kind of person is a triathlete? And because we love to talk about this sort of thing, I asked this question on the TriTalk facebook page: "Using three (3) words, describe a triathlete" and I was not disappointed in responses received.

The top words used by triathletes to describe themselves are: Determined, Dedicated, Obsessed, Crazy, Strong, Hungry, Motivated, Broke, Driven, Tired, Focused and Insane.

Determined: Having made a decision and being resolved not to change it.
Dedicated: Devoted to a task or purpose; having single-minded loyalty and integrity.
Obsessed: Preoccupy or fill the mind continually, intrusively, and to a troubling extent.
Crazy: Extremely enthusiastic.
Strong: Able to withstand great force or pressure.
Hungry: Having the desire, craving or need for something.
Motivated: Highly stimulated with a reason for doing something.
Broke: What happens when you register for your races and purchase all the gear necessary.
Driven: Very determined to succeed.
Tired: How we always feel, but we ignore and repeat what made us tired in the first place.
Focused: A clear and defined reason or objective.
Insane: A state of mind that prevents normal perception.

Being that most triathletes enjoy a Type A personality, one adjective that I thought for sure would come up, and come up often, but it did not, not even once, was: "Competitive". This was a surprise to me.

Competitive: Having a strong desire to win or be the best at something.

I have met a multitude of triathletes over the past few years. I don't know that the above list does not fit in one way or another to each one of them. Maybe not all of them, but most would. Additionally, I'd like to add a few descriptions of my own.

Most every triathlete I have met has a positive mental attitude and outlook on life and their surroundings.
Most every triathlete I have met has a unique sense of humor.
Most every triathlete hates the idea of ordinary more than he or she hates the idea of discomfort and sacrifice.
Most every triathlete exercises some degree of vanity.
Most every triathlete never settles for "enough".
Most every triathlete not only thinks "outside the box" but lives "outside the box"

And regarding that "sense of humor" characteristic I mentioned above, two responses that merit mention are:

"Self-Loathing Sadist" and "Not 'Yet' Divorced"

Now an interesting project would be to find out what our family, friends and coworkers think of us; what words would they use to describe us. Do you think that their perception of us would be the same as the perception we have of ourselves?

Thank you everyone who participated in my extremely informal survey.


I invite you to come over and "like" my facebook page "Mauricio's Journey Beyond Ironman". Click here to go there.

Also invited you are to join the Tri Talk. Click here to do so.