THIS IS WHO I AM
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.