I have been training and racing in endurance sports for nearly 15 years. As a matter of fact, it will have been 15 years ago on October 7th that I laced up my running shoes to race the Westchester Half-Marathon. I did that race in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. That singular event set off my future in endurance sports. Over time I have learned to embrace my endurance journey and the challenges.
Evolution of Endurance Sports
A lot has changed in that time frame. Running shoes now have carbon-plates and bikes are lighter and faster than ever. Somethings have not changed in those 15 years. One of those being my inability, or desire, to swim. I do it because it is great for building endurance and you cannot finish a triathlon without swimming first.
My Endurance Journey
Over those 15 years I have participated in the following:
- 5k, 10k, 15k Races
- Half-Marathon Races
- Marathon Races
- 50k Races
- 50 Mile Races
- 100k Races
- 100 Mile Races
- 250 Mile Races
- Sprint Triathlon
- Olympic Triathlon
- Half-Ironman Triathlon
- Ironman Triathlon
- 30 Mile Gravel Bike Races
- 100 Mile Gravel Bike Training Ride
From ‘I Would Never Do It’ To ‘I Did It’
The vast majority of these events started with the phrase: I would never do ___________. Along the way I found out that I would. Not only would I do them, but I’d come to love them as well. For me, the training is a great experience but racing is euphoric. Even on bad days (2022 Black Canyon DNF and 2019 Ironman Wisconsin DNF) the energy on race day is palpable.
As I get closer to 50 and have been running the Run Tri Bike business for nearly 1.5 years my definition of myself has changed. I used to be a ‘runner’ and then a triathlete. Today when people ask me about endurance sports participation I usually tell them I am an ultra-runner. None of these are false, but they also don’t tell the whole story.The reality is I am an endurance athlete. To that end, I have been eyeing various events to sign-up for. The ultra trail runs are still part of the schedule but I’ve recently thought about a Swim-Run Trail variation. I am considering a thru-hike as well as mountain bike races. Believe it or not, I am thinking about a 5k swim (remember the swimming comment above?)
Maybe the thought of having been there, done that is resonating. Or it could just be that I get inspired by the great stories that are shared with me via our How It All Started features. Either way, my world of endurance sports is opening and I recommend you open yours as well.
Embracing New Opportunities
Opening that world could be doing a race longer than you think you can. It may be that you take that step and start a new sport or multi-sport that sort of scares you. I think about this Maya Angelou quote often:
Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid. Having courage and showing courage means we face our fears. We are able to say, “I have fallen, but I will get up.”
Failure As A Building Block
I could enter a race and DNF or have an awful experience but that doesn’t mean that I stop. It just means that I learn from that ‘failure’ and continue to build toward success. I often say that failure is the building block of success because that is where we learn the most. It stings and hurts in the moment, but the future is brighter when you fail.
Join Me In The Endurance Journey and Challenges
So, as I have titled this article: I am an endurance athlete. I am going to find the next race that intrigues me. Not because I can win it or because I’ll set a PR. I’ll register for it because it excites and frightens me at the same time.
Join me in pressing the registration button on that event you’ve been eyeing but have been worried about entering. Embrace the endurance journey and challenges it presents. I’d love to hear what event you registered for and so that I can cheer you on. Email me at email@example.com.