How time flies when you are having fun beating your body to a pulp! After five years of participating in endurance sports, I used to wonder why I get strange looks from my peers when we discuss what we did on vacations.
While most people go to the beach or search for posh luxury resort with an emphasis on relaxation, May and I don’t consider it a good vacation unless we have reached a new max heart rate and can’t walk well for a week due to a triathlon, marathon or both!
While I thought my peers were giving me strange looks on our idea of “vacation”, I like to think maybe some of their looks are in response to my wrinkled face when being told about the complete waste of time they spent on relaxation! Oh the travesty!
I often think back on what attracted me to the sport of triathlon and endurance sports in general. I was never a stand out athlete in school and I never participated in cross-country, track or any other sport that took longer than six minutes. Ah, good old wrestling. Six minutes and that was that…the good old days as some would say.
As an adult facing a receding hair line (well OK no hair line), a growing belly and general state of constant fatigue, a visit to a doctor was in order. After the exam my doctor told me I was in OK shape for a man my age of 65! I said “excuse me but I’m 43!” to which he responded “well then you are in awful shape!”
My idea of a wakeup call had been the gentle sound of gentle ocean waves emanating from my phone at 6:00 am. It certainly was not having a doctor tell you your body is ready for retirement, a jump suit and recliner with a built in refrigerator. It was time to make a serious change in lifestyle. Hey, how about running a marathon or competing in an Ironman?
Through sacrifice, discipline and hard work, I gradually got back to my biological age and even moved the clock back a few years! But the rewards of adopting a lifestyle of physical fitness were so much greater. Not only was I able to call myself an endurance athlete and experience numerous health benefits, the friendships I have made are priceless. I feel better about myself and have met some wonderful new friends in the process.
Speaking of vacations, we need to start planning our adventures for this year. Hmm, should we have a relaxing week on the beach or compete in a half IRONMAN? Be careful, I can see you shaking your head with that furrowed brow!
HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast. He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.