Usually in a hard race, which, let's face it, most races are hard, I always have a moment when my mind says to me, "Why am I doing this?" It's usually during the run, and I've learned that if I don't have an answer at the ready that voice begins to take over. It usually says something like, "This is ridiculous! Why in the world would you want to make yourself feel this way? And you actually paid money for this? You are never going to win anyway, why are you trying so hard?"
Yep, my brain is like a very, very mean "friend." You know what I'm talking about.
I have found that in these moments it is very convenient to have an answer or two at the ready. This is what I call "Remembering the Whys."
Everyone's "whys" are a little bit different. You might be racing to celebrate a milestone in your life like turning 40, or losing a big amount of weight. It could be the start of a new journey of health and fitness in your life. You might be racing to honor a loved one who has passed or to rejoice in the health of someone who has not. You might be racing to raise money for a cause that is near to your heart. You could be racing to celebrate friendship, which is actually a way of saying, "My friend made me do this." You could be racing to set an example for your kids or to prove to yourself that you are capable of more than you thought.
My "whys" for this race on Saturday are:
- This race will be a celebration of being a cancer survivor for 12 years. You can read my story here. I will celebrate my health and the health of all cancer survivors I know. I will also honor the fight of those who haven't survived. If they can fight for their life with courage and strength, I will race with courage and strength for them.
- I love triathlon, and this is my hometown race. I will race with a smile no matter how bad it hurts. I will bring my best game for all the people who will cheer for us all.
- I will race my best for all of my athletes who are also racing this race. They will give their all, and so will I.
- I am a runner, and I will prove this to myself tomorrow.
No matter what your "whys" are, if you know them you can answer that question when your brain asks it during the hardest part of the race. For some the hardest part is starting, setting foot in that water, or toeing the start line.
So when that ugly voice asks the question, be ready. Remember the whys.