Swim, bike, run, write.

Why I Tri

"Wait, what? All in one day? And you do that for fun?"

Throughout my Ironman 70.3 training, and even more so now I've decided to step up to the full Iron distance, a question I've been asked a lot is: "but... why?" Granted, I can see that from the outside this triathlon malarkey probably seems a little bit mad. Splashing around in a freezing, murky lake at 6am. Spending Sunday mornings riding around in slightly lurid lycra that makes you look a bit like a naff superhero. Obsessively muttering about threshold power and Strava segments. I guess it's not surprising that I've had my sanity questioned a few times over the last year. Triathlon can be such a tough and relentless sport, but it's also incredibly rewarding. It's given me more than just fitness. It's given me confidence, purpose and self-belief. It's given me focus, passion and strength. Despite it's quirks, I'm head over heels with triathlon and here's why

'The race is long and in the end, it's only with yourself.'

I guess part 1 of the 'why' is that triathlon appeals to my perfectionist streak. It's all about working hard to achieve your best. And when you think you've done that, figuring out what you can do next to make your best even better. I'm definitely a little bit competitive, but at the heart of it all you could come last and as long as you've given it your all you've still won. With three disciplines to master, there's always something that can be improved, a new goal to chase. And that's exciting. I love the process of training and racing, celebrating the improvements and working out ways to tackle the weaknesses. There's always something to aim for and that's a little bit addictive. I love it.

'Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.'

Part 2 of why I tri comes down to never wanting to take my body for granted. I do triathlon because I can, and that's a privilege. It's so easy to go through life hating your body. Being ashamed of it. Viewing it as a sack of flesh and bones that doesn't fit in with some arbitrary standard. But actually our bodies are pretty amazing things which allow us to experience so much. I'm lucky that, right now, I'm fit and I'm healthy. For me triathlon is about giving my body the opportunity to show me what it can do. And to appreciate that. One day whether it's through age, illness or an accident, I might not be able to do these things anymore. The thought of reaching that stage and not knowing what my body is capable of scares me. I do triathlon because I'm incredibly lucky that I can - not everyone has the choice of 'shall I go for a run today' - it's important to me that I don't take my ability to do so for granted. Of course, like so many others, I still struggle with body confidence and I can sling insults at myself in the mirror with the best of them. But triathlon has helped me to view my body as much more than just a series of measurements and a body fat percentage. I've learnt to try and appreciate my body for the awesome things it allows me to go and experience, rather than just obsessively critiquing it for how it looks. And that's improved my confidence, my happiness and my wellbeing.

I love Triathlon because it challenges me. It makes me strong, it keeps me thankful and it gives me purpose. The permanent chlorine perfume and quads of steel are just a happy bonus!

I'd love to hear your 'why I tri' stories - if anyone is up for sharing theirs with me to publish on here please do get in touch: jennifersophiefitness@gmail.com

*quotes are from Baz Luhrmann's 'sunscreen'*

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