This is the first in a series of articles that start with the letters of the alphabet as they pertain to Triathlon Training. The first of these articles is entitled “A is for Athlete.”
One of the most amazing things about the title Athlete is you often think about professional athletes as being the only ones who are really due the this title. I know that when I see someone who is a professional athlete do an amazing play or shot, I marvel at their skill and silently acknowledge that I could never do that. When I first began into triathlon, it was a way to conjure up those old feelings of competitiveness, but I did not consider myself an athlete per se. I mean how in the world could I walk around with the title of Athlete with a “tire” around my belly and no trophies to really show for it.
When I was high school, I played sports such as football and golf. I considered myself an athlete of some sort. I felt like I was strong, young, and athletic. As I got older and I put on the weight I put on, I felt nothing like an athlete. I did not have the same feelings of competition or drive. I ultimately saw myself as getting old and further and further away from the picture I had in my mind of an athlete.
I was reminded while watching this year’s season of The Biggest Loser that in fact I can be an athlete at any age. If I am pursuing an athletic endeavor then surely I am an athlete. If I am going about my business to train and compete then I am an athlete. I may be an amateur athlete, but I am an athlete nonetheless. I may be an old athlete at age 40, but I am an athlete. I think this is one area of triathlon that needs to be emphasized more. If you compete in a triathlon and you come in first or last you have competed in an athletic endeavor and are to be considered an athlete. I think if more people realized that they were an athlete that they might feel better about their pursuit of their competitive goals. NIL
I know that I have really focused myself this year to competing in my upcoming races by getting in the top of my age group. I realize that this goal is difficult and not everyone can do it. I also realize that I have to train effectively, eat right, and mentally have my game right to really compete. I feel better about all of this action while saying I am an athlete.