I wonder exactly when that switch takes place, when we expect kids to transition from childhood pursuits to more grown-up interests. An 8-year-old says that she likes to play on the playground, climb trees and ride a bike? Perfectly normal. A 38 year old says those things, on the other hand, and people glance askance at her. Who is she to think that she has that sort of time? Why isn’t she doing something more worthwhile? Why is she wasting her life doing such silly things? Why is it okay for kids to do what feels good, when most of these things are actually good and healthy, but when an adult does those same things they are considered immature or frivolous? Which is healthier for an adult-swinging on the swing at a park or drinking, gambling, spending money they do not have?
When I talk to people about triathlons I typically hear a variation on the same statement, “Oh, wow, that is impressive/sounds hard/too big of a goal”. First, I don’t think that they realize that I am talking about a Sprint distance triathlon. A 400 meter swim followed by a 12 mile bike ride then a 3.2 mile run is well within the scope of accomplishment of most moderately or even minimally fit individuals. But, more important than that is this fact, the recurring theme of my training: It’s what I loved to do as a kid.
When I was a child I never said to my mom, “I’m going to go swim laps, practice cycling/run”. I said things like, “I’m going swimming, Joel & I are gonna go ride bikes, we were running all over town”. When kids play they don’t usually talk about ‘working out/exercising’, they just play; they just do what is fun and if it stops being fun then they do something else that IS fun. So, today as I finally get back to it, after a too-long hiatus, I make this pledge: All I’m gonna do is go have fun. When race day hits I’m just gonna go swimming, then ride my bike, then go run. Then, at the finish line I’m gonna have a popsicle and probably run back into the lake. Maybe not in that order. I can almost guarantee you that I won’t win the race, but that was never the point, anyway.