I've been thinking about athletes, triathletes in particular, and the overwhelming drive to race. Years ago my boyfriend asked me why I felt the need to race rather than just enjoy the activity of the sport. He's an avid cyclist, often logging far more time on the road than I, but doesn't race. My answer (or excuse) at the time was that triathlon doesn't technically exist outside of races. How often do you head out to open water and swim, jump out and immediately bike, then go for a run? But now that I find myself in the "Year of 0.0" I still have this burning desire deep down to race, even though I'm not training.
So it has me wondering, are we in this sport for the lifestyle? Because we love to swim, bike, or run? Or are we in it because we have a competitive "race gene" and thrive on the thrill of racing? I'm not likely to be winning my age group anytime soon, but at each race I compete against myself, against my last PR with hopes of setting another. Even when grossly undertrained, I go in thinking I might just have a great day and pull off a miracle. Having missed 4 of the races I signed up for this year and withdrawing from Ironman Mont Tremblant, I find myself missing the race experience and can't wait to be back in the game.
For the remainder of this season I'm going back to my roots and focusing mostly on running. I'm aiming to finally use the New York City Marathon entry I've been deferring for three years due to injury and will try to add a few more races before. I'm also thinking about a late season half Ironman. And of course, I'm already planning my return to 140.6 next year, I just need to decide which one. Lake Tahoe anyone?