In the lead up to my 6th ironman (2 more sleeps!), I've thought a lot about what I'm doing and why. This season has been filled with solid training and many happy, character-building memories. It's also been filled with more work, more challenges and more obstacles - enough so that I've asked myself WHAT ARE YOU DOING? so many times that it's been worth answering it in as many ways possible to remind myself of who I am and why I'm here.
Why spend all my time and all my money and all my energy on sports?
Why spend all Saturday biking in to the triple digits? (Why go for a long run right after?)
Why get in my local swimming pool before the sunrises when my bed is so warm and cozy?
Why keep doing it when it feels like I'm not really getting anywhere?
Why daydream about coffee and naps in the afternoons to keep myself awake for my second or possibly third workout of the day when I leave the office?
Why pass up designer shoes for countless pairs of runners with... less tread, more tread, higher instep, lower instep, less weight, more weight, no laces, cooler laces?
Why give up on a great hair day to sport a signature air-dried-down-do or a I-just-put-my-hair-in-a-bun-and-it-dried-this-way-up-do?
Because the world doesn't need another person who wishes they had more time to do what they love, to try something new or to do that thing they always wanted to do.
Because every time I participate in sports, I am part of the women in the world that have the privilege and choice to participate, and every woman on a start line makes a difference.
Because I like all day sports and when I do anything in moderation, I quickly wonder if there is a more extreme version I could try.
Because I don't actually know what a normal thing to do with a Saturday is.
Because I love the pain and discomfort of attempting something that seems ridiculous, long, and hard.
Because asking a ton of my body, my mind and my soul, day in and day out is oddly the thing that has taught me the most about how to listen and take care of myself.
Because after I've done something difficult even before I start a work day, I gain confidence that I can handle just about anything.
Because sweat, trying, failing and achieving all make my time feel meaningful.
Because sports give me deep gratitude for what it means to be human: our squishy, fleshy fragility, our incredible ability to suffer and persevere, and the unthinkable things we can accomplish beyond what we believed were even possible.
Because when I see a middle-aged man shuffling along an Ironman race course in a unitard, or the last finisher of an ultramarathon, I see someone who is up to something, who is after something, who is asking more of themselves and is putting themselves out there.
Because It's one thing to say "oh I could do a ...30 day yoga challenge, marathon, crossfit competition..." and it's a completely other thing to actually try. Because trying puts skin in the game.
Because the more I do hard things, the easier it is to believe that their possible.
Because potential is inert and the only way you can make good on that potential is to be in action.
Because I like that I can say yes to more invitations that involve getting outside, mountains, lakes, oceans and trails.
Because when I am fit, my soul is fit.