Finding Your Motivator On FitOldDog’s List Is Not Always Easy But It’s Worth The Trouble – Can You Find Yours?

“Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster.” by Robert M. Pirsig, from The Painter’s Keys.

Hi folks! Thanks for stopping by!

You meet some really neat people at these races, this guy for example.

You meet some really neat people at these races, this guy for example. We had a great chat for the last half-mile as we pushed each other along.

From time to time people ask what motivates me to compete in Ironman races, which many consider bad for my health. I reply that, (a) Ironman saved my life in 2010, and (2) I just enjoy them. But is that really why I like to continue with this strange, and apparently pointless, sport of swimming 2.4 miles from point A to point B, followed by cycling 112 miles from B to C, and running 26.2 miles from C to D? If you want to start, and consistently continue, a program of safe exercise for better health, especially as you age, exploring your motivators, and finding one that works, can be critical for success.

So why do endurance athletes, especially older age-groupers, put themselves through such rigorous training? It involves quite a bit of expense, lots of pain, time juggling, and even expensive visits to a health professional if you screw up and make that one disastrous little mistake.

Endurance races involve quite a lot of pain, and you must learn to distinguish between good pain and bad pain.

Endurance races involve quite a lot of pain, and you must learn to distinguish between good pain and bad pain.

I can only speak for myself, so here is my list of thoughts on why I continue to undertake endurance sports as I approach my 70th birthday (29th of June!):

  1. For better health? – Yep!
  2. To look my best and attract a mate? – Sure!
  3. To brag to my friends? – Don’t think so, they’d just crack on me.
  4. For fear of death, a different angle on ‘1’ above? – Maybe!
  5. Because it’s there? – Nope, there’s plenty of other things that are there!
  6. To get me out into nature? – Yep!
  7. Because I can compete in the same races as my son, Nigel? – Most certainly! What a treat!
  8. Because the tapes running in my head implanted by my mother say that I should? – Nope! She didn’t seem to approve of such exercise, though Mom did value education highly.
  9. To feel the water on my skin during a great swim? – Yep!
  10. To feel the pleasure of running or cycling in the rain? – Yep!
  11. To enjoy a challenging bike ride with a friend? – Yep!
  12. To be part of a group? – Nope, I do much of it alone!
  13. To meet great people? – Yep!
  14. So I can admire my muscles in the mirror? – Nope, never did get into that, oddly enough. I prefer to look at women.
  15. So Deb (a nurse) can continue to say she would love to take blood from me because I have such great veins? – No! I wish she would stop doing that!
  16. To create an identity for myself? – I hope not, but it could be the case!
  17. To inspire and motivate other people with a health challenge to get out there and live? – Most certainly!

But at the end of the day, for me, the reason is simple. It’s about training not racing, and experiencing life now; I do it so that I can enjoy my 7-mile run in the rain this evening.

-k @FitOldDog


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.