Why triathlon changed my life.


Last week I trained a full length triathlon for the first time of this year. It was very hot and the perfect day for a chilled out bbq at the lake with some cold beers and a refreshing swim in the water. I was actually passing a lot of people doing this while suffering in the heat.

So maybe you wonder why I do this to me? Why do I push myself to the limit until all my pores sweat like hell and my lungs grasp for air? The answer to these questions is very simple.

Mastering a triathlon taught me my weakness.

This is maybe not the answer that you would have expected from somebody doing a sport that is overrated with superlatives like ironman or titan woman. But yes it is true. Doing triathlons made me realise that I am weak. Let me be more clear.

Doing a triathlon seems to be very simple. You jump into water and swim for half an hour. Then you make a long round on your bike to finish with an hour of running. Very simple, but not easy. As so many things in life. For example loosing weight is very simple. You just have to eat every time a carrot when you feel like eating chocolate. Very simple. But not easy.

As doing a triathlon. Very simple, but not easy. Not easy because you have to carefully use your energy. If you just jump into the water and swim like hell you probably not gonna finish it. You have to know that the race is long and not finished after the first round. (Like so many things in life).

Me for example, I am not a good runner, but I love to bike. This is a suboptimal combination for a triathlon race, because the biking comes before the running. In my first race I went too fast on the bike track and I paid the bill in the running. Oh yes, I was suffering cause I had no energy left. In my second race I was aware of my weak running performance and took it easier on the bike. A tactic that payed out well and improved my overall time a lot.  So it is kind of ironic that knowing my weakness made me a faster triathlete.

We all want to be strong, happy and successful.

With a smiling face in the sun, some cool sunglasses on and a hang-loose surfer pose. Yeah! Cool, no?

No. Because life is often not cool. Actually sometimes it really sucks and we are overwhelmed by it. Like the running part of my first triathlon. I hit the wall and it felt like shit. I had no power left or any idea how to avoid the crash.

We all hit the wall sometimes. This is a fact. But nobody talks about it. Because everybody just wants to be strong, happy and successful. Of course. Because it satisfies us to be strong, happy and successful. It is an amazing feeling to cross this finish line after a long struggle and post the impressive finisher photo on Facebook. Exhausted. But happy. But that is not the point.

The point is that you can only reach this finish line in honour if you aware of your weakness. In my second race I was aware of my weak running and more important, I included it into the planing of my race. I did not try to ignore it as we do so often with other weaknesses. Knowing my weakness not only made it easier to reach the finish line, it also made me a faster triathlete.

What is true for sports is true for real life.

Knowing my weakness made me see who I am.

And not only the virtual happy representation on my Facebook wall. This epiphany not only helps me to finish triathlons, but to overcome other obstacles I am confronted with.

This is why triathlon changed my life.

Martin Inderbitzin