A lot of people hear about tris (esp about HIM and IMs) and ask why? ... why, on Earth, would anyone willingly put in 8, 10, 15, 18 hours a week, give up a social life, work out before and after work, long bike on Saturday, long run on Sunday, sore muscles, tired bodies, always hungry, life on hold --- to race for 7-16 hours at a time?
It's personal to each athlete, I think, so I can only answer why I do it:
the sense of accomplishment, meeting goals, having deadlines, following through a training program, doing what you set out to do, even when it isn't pretty and it isn't easy.
the high after a hard workout, mcdonalds after a hard workout, audiobooks on a long run, the views on a beautiful bike ride, streching out during an easy swim, discovering something new in my city -- ducklings, the trapeze school, Fifi the kinetic scupture race poodle, a 100 year old building that I've just now noticed. running in the rain, running in the snow. all workouts, even when they suck and are hard and boring because I did them and that is what matters.
race numbers, race metals, race tshirts. the sense of community, the kindness of strangers willing to lend a Body Glide or give a GU or advice.
spectators, who make you feel like you are a world class athlete, even when you are shuffling along at a snails pace. high fives from little kids. volunteers, who tell you that 'you look great' even though you don't, and wake up at 6:00 a.m. to pass out electrolyte pills and water to tired athletes --- sans pay. the volunteers who asked me my name at the bottom of a big climb and chanted TRI-CIA! TRI-CIA! while I struggled up the hill.
crossing the finish line.
I do it because I have to do it, because I could not and would not stop for any amount of money, because it's like being a wife, a daughter, a friend, an attorney: it's part of who I am.
the soreness fades and amazingly so do the memories of how painful it was, how badly you wanted to stop and the only thing you can think about after a race is