Monday, June 14, 2010

It suddenly occurred to me (after all these years?) last weekend when we went on a bike outing with a group from my club. Not knowing what to expect, but mainly expecting to be bringing up the rear as usual, I told Don he at least might have some more challenging people to ride with. While there were a few faster people, the majority ended up being leisure or recreational riders; in fact, only half of the attendees even had helmets! So for once, I was not bringing up the rear but managed to ride just slightly behind the lead group. My odometer said 24.4 miles, and it was a challenging as well as beautiful course that took us through a few small suburbs of the Grand Rapids area, an area I have never ridden in, out in dairy farm country, then along the Thornapple River, through a swan sancuary, a beautiful bike path along the river, and even along a highway. And no helmets for these people. Not too smart! But we had a great time after at a cookout and had use of the host's lake, which included swimming and boating.
Afterward, talking with some of the leisure people, it soon occurred to me that this was a whole new concept to them; most had never ridden that far and none did it on a regular basis. Just the idea of regular biking was so foreign to them, one woman even said "well I won't have to do any spinning for a month now!" And she's in good shape otherwise.
When I said, "oh we do this every weekend," people were impressed, but at least they didn't say we were crazy. It occurred to me then that this is what I do on weekends. I don't go to garage sales, camping, flea markets, or the other things people do or don't do on weekends. I do triathlons or running races. This is how I pick most of my friends; this is where most of my social life (other than family) revolves around. My kids and other family members finally realize this. I have been doing this stuff for over 20 years. It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that this is who I am. Yet, until just recently, I didn't fully think this way myself.
Yes, I admitted I did triathlons. Yes, I admitted I ran some races. But I never fully admitted that this is my hobby as well as a part of my life.
My fairly new daughter-in-law has had a difficult time understanding this. Last year, while they prepared for their wedding, and while I trained for my IM at the same time (they were a week apart), every weekend I had to spend training long hours. So many weekends she wanted me to do things for/with her and I was not available. Even after the race was over, and I was on vacation, the great part of vacations for me was being able to run/bike/swim every day, or as much as I wanted. When she heard this, she said "but you were on vacation. You were supposed to be relaxing." But I was relaxing, was what I tried to convey to her. She still doesn't get it fully, but she is starting to realize this is what I do; this is who I am.



It's a way of life this tri thing. Outsiders don't get it, nor should they. Funny, I've done 3 IMs with two more this year and I love watching the CD of the 2009 World Championships and the inspirational stories. I get teary eyed watching (everytime) and I've done the damn things.... That means we are alive, I've finally figured out.

RockStarTri said...

Great post.

Sometimes the obvious is so hard to see especially when it is so much a part of you. Fortunately, you are not alone with this "issue." :)

Lily on the Road said...

Yup, and I'm thankful because we've had the chance to run together and become long distance friends.

Doesn't it make you feel great that at our age we can still kick butt? While on an 85K cycle on Sunday we passed through a tourist town where there were nothing but fat "old" people window shopping, then I took a good look many were younger than me.

Keep on keeping on Vickie!!!

Like I alwasy say, life's fun if you don't weaken!

Anne said...

Yes, devoting so much time and sacrifice to claim a new T-shirt or a medal can be a hard concept for some to fathom. That's why we hang out with like-minded people.