Many of my friends and family think I am absolutely f****** crazy. I “exercise too much,” “get up way too early,” and “belong in an insane asylum” (which may be true). However, when my alarm goes off well before 4am I know why I do it–I am motivated. Motivation is a strong state, causing us to act a certain way…it is why we do the things that we do. As triathletes we are all motivated by one or a few things that make us who we are.
These are a few of the things that motivate athletes: staying healthy, being physically fit, being mentally “fit”, being able to eat what ever you want, or simply to challenge your limits and be the best you can be. I can relate to all of those reasons, but the real motivation for me comes from the thrill of competition. The thought of losing scares the shit out of me…I cannot even let my three year-old son beat me at Connect Four, a run, or a swim…and he cannot even swim yet. When we are playing outside he will say to me “you will never beat me”, and I always reply with “I am already winning”. His typical response to that is “you have a tattoo.”
For Christmas, a friend of mine was given The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman. “The Oatmeal” begins with how he began running, how he evolved, and why he continues to do it. His main motivation is to silence his inner demons or the “Blerch,” as he refers to them. The Blerch is his former self, a fat kid who acts as a dumpster, filling his body with all sorts of shit. Outrunning the Blerch is the only way he can feel good about himself, reflect on his day, eat more without guilt, reach the ultimate nirvana of a runner’s high, and feel like he is in control of his life.
Since this book is written at the 4th grade reading level, and is filled with pictures, it is one of the few reads that has totally held my attention. So I picked it up and do what I rarely do–read it cover to cover. The book made total sense. My “Blerch” motivates me as well. Putting the competitiveness in me aside, I too have the inner demons that drive me to get up before 4am and exercise for hours every week. I want to feel in control of my life after a good brick workout, I want to reach the ultimate nirvana, and I too want to outrun the fat pregnant lady inside of me.
Triathletes are a driven, focused, and of course motivated group of people…maybe even a little crazy. The motivation that we get comes from somewhere deep inside of us, and we all have specific reasons that keep us going whether it be feeling good, staying healthy, or outrunning our demons. Although we are all different, we all have our own Blerches. Now I have to get motivated to out-do the damned Blerch and get on the trainer…