Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Not So Simple Question

Someone asked me the other day: What do you do besides train?

The question, seemingly innocuous enough, really struck me. What do I do?

Amber and I both still work full-time jobs, hang out with our friends and family, watch movies, read, hike, and go out to dinner as well as travel quite a bit. Just in the last two years, we have gone to: Texas where we were able the Galveston Island that Eric Larson depicted in his non-fiction book "Isaac's Storm"; explored cheese factories in Upstate Wisconsin; hiked in Zion National Park; gambled in Las Vegas; ate soft shell crabs in Annapolis; shrimp gumbo in New Orleans; nearly raw steak in Quebec; toured coffee plantations, walked in a crater, climbed a 13,000 foot peak and tried unsuccessfully to stand-up paddle board in Hawaii; and most recently finally made our way to Southern California where we may have had the best Mexican food in our lives. In addition, I went to Portugal, China, and Germany with my family, made a road trip to Atlanta with my brother, Andrew, sister, Marilyn, and cousin, Joey, and consistently loss at the annual Gold Jacket Tournament; and Amber snuck in a trip to Arizona. We watched our friends and siblings get married, achieve great success and suffer hardships.

We just happen to also run, and in Amber's case, bike and swim. And besides a long bike ride Amber may have on a weekend, very rarely does the training interfere with other aspects of our lives. I wouldn't take back my memory of running and swimming with my late cousin, Kevin, for anything.

The question quickly lead me to: What do other people do?

 What did I do five years ago before I started running?

That's a bit tricky because I was in college so a lot of time was devoted to studying, projects etc. Free time was dedicated to pick-up basketball games, $6 pitchers at Connor Larkins, or rock climbing at Quincy Quarry. However, I can honestly say that I probably spent less time "doing things" then than I do now.

What if instead of running, I continued to rock climb? What that be considered "training"?

That may be trickiest part of the whole question. Aside from a few runs that I force myself to go out on, I usually run where and when I want with my friends. I don't even necessarily view them as training as much as a fun(usually) outing.

If all I did was drink beer, would I be training for a beer chugging contest? Maybe I should after my humiliating defeat to my new friend Andrew in Shanghai.

Still, it still doesn't really explain why someone would ask the question in the first place. I feel like I'm missing something.

What am I not able to do because I'm spending(a very small portion) time running?

I can't think of anything. It is true, I don't watch television or play video games and besides this blog, spend very little time on the internet, but other than that can't really think of many things that I'd like to be doing but am not(around the obvious constraints of a full-time job). There are certainly people who let running(or triathlon) consume their entire being let all aspects of their lives fall by the wayside. But this is can be seen in any hobby. Look no further than the movie "A Big Year" and you can see Owen Wilson's character be consumed by bird watching! Whether it's running, bird watching, dancing, beer drinking, watching television, or even volunteering, if  there ceases to be a balance in your life only then does it become a problem.

However, while it is a ever-moving target, I think I've got a good amount of balance in my life. Now if only I can think of a witty retort to that person's question?

Does simply:  What do YOU do? suffice?

Knowing our time on this planet is limited, what will you do to live your life to the fullest and fittest?

Hug your loved ones, laugh with your friends, watch a movie, knit, snuggle up with a good book, or maybe even go for a run.

Up Next: New Orleans 70.3(4/22)

1 comment:

  1. That's a funny question because I always ask myself, "what did I do BEFORE I started training?" My life was limp, static, unadventurous. In training, I've created some of the best memories, had some of the most wonderful, rewarding experiences and met some of the most sincere, happy, loving, energetic, determined, full-of-life people since introduced to the wonderful world of triathlon.