In light of my current struggle with injury, I feel the need to address a question I’ve been asked more than once recently. I’m sure most, if not all, triathletes have come across this same burning question.
“Is all of this really worth the sacrifice?”
In short, yes.
What is the sacrifice? Time? Money? Yes, both of those are being “sacrificed”. Family? Is my family really being sacrificed? I may be gone for an hour or two longer on some days due to training, yes, but is that SACRIFICE?
At what expense do I decide that triathlon is worth the SACRIFICE?
Well, I’ll tell you…
It’s worth it because of me. Call me selfish. Call me entitled. But, I deserve triathlon. And, guess what else? My family deserves it, too.
No, my family is not made of fellow triathletes. So, how do they deserve triathlon? Because they deserve my happiness. They deserve my sanity. They deserve my health.
Let’s talk about that for a moment.
Health. It’s kind of a loose term, right? In a country where a “balanced” meal served to school children includes nothing resembling real food, but rather processed versions, I think we have some work to do to define “health”. We live in a world chock full of willful ignorance. The big food companies rely on this to sell their products. The vast majority DO NOT CARE what is in their food. And, they TRUST that companies would not put harmful things into their food. People don’t want to KNOW where their food comes from. Is THAT worth the sacrifice?
What is health? Of course this definition will vary greatly from one person to the next. One person’s view of health could be simply waking up that day while another would attribute it to being able to run 10 miles. Everyone has a different level of health. Our job? Live up to our own level. What does that mean? Well, it means that ONE DAY, you will not be able to physically do the things you can do today.
One day you won’t be able to take the health you have for granted. One day your lifestyle choices will DEFINE you.
What will YOUR definition be?
I looked in the mirror last October and saw a definition that I did not like. My lifestyle choices had begun to define me. I was 50 pounds overweight. I was tired. I was unhappy with what I had let myself become. This is where ACCOUNTABILITY comes in. Who was going to change me? Me. Only I could do that. And, only you can change you.
So, when someone asks me “Is all of this really worth the sacrifice?”, my answer will always be yes. I’ve sacrificed the unhealthy version of me. I’ve put her to rest. The only thing I’ve sacrificed, the only thing I’ve said goodbye to, is the old me. I’m okay with that.
So when you see a triathlete and you think “oh my gosh, I can’t believe they do all of that” and you want to ask them if it’s worth the sacrifice, don’t. They know it is.