The Joy of Sport

C26 athletes near lake

We all relish in the sport of triathlon. There is a special uniqueness to the experience not just on race day, but every day. Every day is an opportunity to improve and grow. This post will examine what brings us meaning and joy in triathlon.

The Meaning of Training

Friends, colleagues, and family often ask why we take on such endeavors. Why get up at 4:00am to swim in a cold pool? Why go on 100-mile bike rides that consume entire Saturdays? The best answer I’ve found is, to see if we can.

Training for an entire summer is not about your Ironman race day in September. It is about testing ourselves today, tomorrow, and this week. If we pass those tests, we move onto the next week. When a mason lays the first brick of a wall, it’s hard to notice. When the ten-thousandth brick is laid and the wall is complete, each brick adds up to something greater. Each workout is a brick added to your wall. Today may not appear meaningful, but today is one more brick. At the end of the season after the last race, reflecting upon the year’s complete book of work is a great source of pride. We don’t train for any single finish line. We train to look back, 365 days later, and smile at the progress.

Community’s Value

Triathlon is not a sport to be enjoyed alone. Whether you line up at a local sprint with eighty racers or your first Ironman with 2,000 others, there is a connection to your fellow athletes. If they train two hours/week or twenty, they put their best foot forward and share the same hopes and dreams you do. They share the dream of doing their best, making their family proud, and making themselves proud. We chase these dreams because there is joy in achieving them with a community of like-minded individuals. That joy comes from communities like C26, the local tri club, and even your running partner down the street. Training and racing with others make the outcomes sweeter. Sport is always better together. Having a strong workout is a good feeling. It’s even better with a friend.

Confidence in Self

Performance gains cannot simply be measured in heart rate, power data, or swim pace. Certainly these data points are of great value, yet what triathlon offers is more than metrics, movement, finish lines, and medals. It’s the opportunity to foster mental fortitude. Conjuring your best bike power or half marathon time is not a simple act. You must go beyond what you, and your legs, believe is possible. Doing so must be done with mental courage and with a confidence in self. You believe in yourself because you’ve spent countless hours in the pool, running neighborhoods, and spinning on country roads. You believe in yourself because your teammates, family, and coach believe in you, too. When the finish line is crossed, you get to see that they were right, and your confidence was not unfounded. You did something hard and can now bask in the joy of the outcome.

How it Comes Together

The opportunity to race in three sports is special. A rising tide lifts all boats. Seeing bike fitness improve is complementary to running and swimming. The interconnection of triathlon is a reflection of what we experience in life. Work, family, and responsibilities all intersect, too. If we can do the training across three sports, we can do hard things in our daily lives, too. There is no curveball, life challenge, or major obstacle we can’t overcome with the same virtues. With practicing adversity, with a supportive community, and with confidence, we can overcome life’s obstacles. Today’s training and tomorrow’s finish line bring us happiness because we learn that we can do hard things, we can improve, and we can grow. That is the joy of sport.

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