Triathlon, Fad or Something Else?

About a year before I started racing triathlons in May 2002 (with Team in Training), triathlon racing was already on the upswing especially in the Bay Area.
Why did this happen? My thought was that there were so many people out of work post-internet bubble and when you get a whole bunch of competitive, motivated people with nothing to do, you need to funnel that energy somewhere. At least, they picked something healthy to do like triathlons, versus drinking or partying all day and night. And then, once your friends start doing it, you naturally want to do whatever your friends are doing.
So here’s the kicker. Why do people really train triathlons? Probably the most ridiculous reason I found where some of these women who were only hanging out with the tri-clubs to get a boyfriend.
OK so finding a mate ain’t the easiest thing to do. At least a triathlon racing boyfriend or girlfriend would have an awesome bod so that’s cool. Not many fat people racing that’s for sure! But it also reminds me of so many instances that I’ve seen in the past where people used to work out intensely while they were single. This was an attempt to make themselves as attractive physically as possible so that the opposite sex would like what they saw. As soon as they met someone, the working out slacked off and stopped completely when marriage hit.
Shouldn’t we workout for the betterment of ourselves and to keep and lead healthy lifestyles? In satisfying externalities like “my girlfriend will leave me if I’m fat” is not a good way to go. In fact, driving a lot of your life by what other people think isn’t necessarily that healthy. You’ll always be trying to please someone else when the only person you should be pleasing is yourself. Driving by internal evaluation means you have a consistent person to please and that’s yourself. Trying to please others all the time is a moving target and might not be the best thing in the world for you.
So why do I race triathlons? I’d like to say I have tons of women jupming on me but I’m afraid that hasn’t happened yet… Actually, I train and race because:
1. It keeps me sane. I’ve been through a lot of things in my personal and professional life in recent years. The exercise, focus, and achievement has kept me motivated and not depressed. It is the one area of my life where I have been consistently growing and improving over the last few years.
2. It keeps me healthy. I used to lift weights but never seemed to be able to get those last pounds off. Training for Ironman basically wicked off the last bits of fat off my body like nothing else. Although, now I am a skinny little runt!
3. It keeps me learning. Swimming, biking, and running were more technical than I thought. There are so many details to each of these three disciplines that revamping and learning new actions has been a real joy. I love learning and definitely as I improve in each of these 3 areas, I feel that I am changing and growing as an individual.
These 3 reasons keep me training – I intend for it to become a lifelong pursuit…