Why do You Tri?

Type: Easy Ride/Steady State
Distance: 20.0 miles
Time: 1:00:30
Average Watts: 165 watts
Normative Power: 168 watts
Average Heart Rate: 151 bpm
Total Work: 625 kJ
Average Speed: 20.0 mph

This ride was to set me up for my long run tomorrow. My legs were a little worked from my 5.0 miler yesterday, but they ended up spinning well in the end. I was able to keep a decent cadence. I kept my rpm’s right at or above 90 rpm for the entire ride. I really love that cadence — that is my sweet spot.

I started watching Bicycling Dreams again. I Googled “RAAM results” to find out if some of the competitors who had not finished in 2005 have ever finished — you really want them to achieve their dreams and find what they are looking for. And then I read that the 2005 winner, Jure Robic, died in September 2010 when he was hit by a car while training on his bike outside of his hometown in Slovenia. Just like Dr. Breedlove, you hate to see someone go out like that. RIP Jure Robic.

Why Do I Tri?

I get asked the question all the time by people in my life — friends and family — why I spend so much time training for endurance sports. Swimming, biking, and running have a way of getting under your skin to where you improve and reach your potential.

But once you reach your potential, where do you go from there? You need another reason to spend countless hours in the pool or on the road. Why do you compete in triathlons? Why do your cycle? Why do you run? How do you answer this question?

Me, I will tell people the generic answer of I want to be in good shape and I want to be able to run with my son when he is older. I think this answer is a valid one and if it is what you use, then keep on using it. Everyone typically will take the “I want to be healthy” motivation as a good enough reason.


But I don’t share the real motivation with everyone. I just use that answer because it is convenient, easy. Lance Armstrong (bless his heart) once said that all endurance athletes are running from something. I disagree with that. If you spend hours in the pool staring at the black line or biking or running you spend a lot of time, and I mean a lot inside of yourself. If you don’t like what you see when you look in the mirror, you should pick a team sport because when you are on the road alone, you aren’t truly alone. You and your inner voices have a lot to talk about.

While I was training and racing for Ironman St. George I found myself in the deepest parts of my soul a couple of times. In those moments you have to dig really deep and find another gear when there is no gear to be found. There is little room for hesitation because when you do, you find out that the race has passed you by. You may have missed your opportunity to perform to your potential.

For me, cycling and running represent freedom. I am a religious man and my family and I attend church on Sundays. But when I am cycling or running I feel most in tune with the divine. I have had gentle conversations with the divine, especially while cycling. Those are some of the most important moments that I have ever experienced.

This is why I swim, bike, and run. Every once in a while — when I am lucky — I can access my deepest self. There are other places and situations in my life where I am fulfilled, but very few that will expose my “self” for what it is with such honesty. So if you want to strip your ego and really find out who you are, sign up for and train for a race distance in 2011 that you don’t think you could do right now. Be it a 10K or an Ironman, the process will expose you for what you are, even if it is just to you. Through the process if you don’t like what you see, that is the right time to make the changes required to reach your full potential, physically and spiritually.

Only you can make that happen.

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...