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…Why?

I was just reading over Lance’s ‘race report’ on the 3 Stories blog. He raced a half-marathon about 6 weeks (?) out from his Olympic Trials marathon. While he was somewhat bummed about his result (albeit a tough course and I am guessing in the midst of a heavy training load), he found himself wondering the infamous question, ‘Why do I do this’? I wrote a nice comment to him and then well, it disappeared. I found it interesting he was talking about this because this past weekend, on a long run I was doing, I began thinking the same thing.

I have often been asked, “Why do you do it?” Which is a completely understandable question…often days I do 2 workouts, often weekend days I am up by 8:00 or so to spend 3-4 hours riding or 1.5 hours running. Not that it ‘really’ seems all that amazing or impressive to me, it is just ‘what I do’. But Sunday I was feeling particularly good and I got to thinking, the reason I do it is for that ever-so-rare moment that you cross the finish line, smiling, and raise up your arm, thinking, “Finally! I KNEW I had that in me!”, usually followed by stopping, resting the hands on the knees, and then walking, with that elated and ‘everything is good’ feeling. Now this does not happen often. As a matter of fact, at least for me, this happens very rarely. Usually it is a ‘solid effort on the day, decent race, not perfect and a lot to improve upon.’

But that is precisely what makes these moments so unique, so sought after. They shouldn’t come easily. And I know I may not always say this, but, I don’t WANT them to come easily. I’d rather work my tail off and see the results than just breeze through it, never appreciating any victory. And since these ‘zone’ days do not occur often, yes, we work hard to achieve them but in the process, all of the expriences, the day in/day out dedication, the ups and downs of what we go through, this is all what makes us who we are. It gives us character. So even though we never know the end outcome, while I hope it is that elated feeling that I work so hard for, well…even if it isn’t I know that I put it all on the line, did so honestly and I am a better person for what I have endured. As cliche as it sounds, ultimately it really is all about the journey.

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