Friday, September 5, 2014

A lifestyle...not a bucket list

The weeks following Norseman have been interesting.  The post race high is gone, but so is the fatigue.  I am back in the routine of career and day to day obligations, and it is almost like the adventure was a dream.  My heart beats, and my legs are coming back to life.  

What has been most interesting to me in the many conversations I have had about the race is the common thread of "aren't you glad it is over", "now you can have fun", and "now you don't have to train".

Wait, what?

It is easiest to reply to this with a simple analogy.  This IS my fun.  If I were I dog, I would not be a lap dog.  I'm an active dog - a retriever or a border collie.  One that needs to move, to run.  Starve me of exercise and I wilt.  

Though there is certainly a little bit of post-epic-race letdown, the finish line at Norseman was not the end of anything at all.  Getting to a finish line is about the process, and all of the ups, downs and sideways that it delivered.  But it does not end with the medal (or as the case would be, a t-shirt).  There was no bucket, there was no list.  To me, there is a continuation of a lifetime of dreaming, goal setting, processing and execution.

It is a cliché:  have fun when you train and it will not be work.  As anyone who has trained for anything will attest, this is not always true...there are many days where starting is a challenge.  Some days you glow, some days less so.  But on balance, I train because I love it.  There are choices in life that, to me, are simply not choices at all - eating well, exercising, sleeping.  I don't want it any other way.  I chase start lines because it is inextricably part of me and it empowers me to approach the rest of my life - the serious part with deadlines and clients and demands - with a level head and a happy heart.  

Every race is not an A race, nor is every event epic.  It is not always about reaching limits or challenging the impossible...the Norseman's of this lifetime are well worth chasing, but it is a means rather than an end. Certainly that adrenaline rush is part of it, but the other very real motivation is to embrace athleticism, at whatever level, as a way of life:  it is the comfort of consistency, routine and endorphins.  It is being able to move, to breathe and to love how it sometimes hurts.

So no, it's not over. I know that the adventures ahead will evolve and challenge me, but where they will lead are for the most part still a delicious mystery.  Training goes on with boundless possibility.   What I do know, however, is that every single drop of sweat I expend adds up to a lifetime of awesomeness.

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