Posted by: thehungryrunner | June 17, 2009

Know thyself: Methinks I be always a runner, ne’er a triathlete

Over the weekend, Mr. TheHungryRunner and I attended the women’s triathlon, held in Naperville, Illinois.  A friend of mine was doing that race for the third time, and we wanted to cheer her on.  It was a unique experience right off the bat as it was the first time I’ve been to a race in which I was the spectator, not the athlete!  I quickly gained an appreciation for how the “other half” goes through; truth be told, I’ll be glad to be back to having the “easy job” of just showing up and running, and not to have to deal with all the standing around, shlepping all the stuff, finding various spots for viewing and photo-taking, etc.!

Now, I could consume an entire blog entry just talking about what a phenomenal inspiration the event was for me.  It really is true, you had all walks/phases of life, shapes and sizes, all ages and ranges of ability, all goals and levels of experience represented there.  These women amazed me, talk about a testimonial to the adage, “You’re capable of more than you think.”  And what a wonderful race organization, right down to the offer of having a “swimming buddy” accompany any athlete who suddenly felt scared at doing the swim.  That’s the kind of team spirit that makes my heart melt.

But there was one prevailing takeaway from the day that trumps even the above:  I am NOT good triathlete material.

You see, I tend to be one of these people that make things WAY more complicated than they need to be.  I love making packing lists, printing out maps and schedules, planning my strategy, checking things over numerous times, taking a dry run of the course if possible….it’s part of why I love racing, it’s part of the experience for me.  Especially when I do well and can somehow attribute the success to those activities!  But part of why running is so good for me is just the opposite:  it’s about as simple as simple gets.  Put on a pair of shoes and go outside and run.  That’s it.  At the end of the day, that’s all it is.  And while I still love to meticulously arrange my race day “kit” the night before and empty out my entire wardrobe on race day (“I don’t have anything to WEAR!!!!!”)…..I am also learning the art of turning off the alarm, grabbing a cup of coffee, picking out the first outfit in the drawer, lacing up my shoes and grabbing a bottle of water…..and just showing up for the race.  Get the packet, put on the bib, and away I go.

And given even the most SIMPLE of triathloning entails all that STUFF…the equipment and nutrition and transitions and carrying thingies and pre-race set up and post-race pack down and dedicated clothing for each purpose, etc…, no.  I fear I would be the first triathlete who had a SHERPA (pace sherpa?) accompanying her throughout the race!

So I’ll admire from afar, but I think I’ll stick to running for now.  And the world remains just a little less complicated.


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