Mortar shop in a very large geographical area – a situation that seems ideal on the surface but not without it challenges. A handful of teams have dissolved over the years too, and coaching businesses have folded up or found other ways to supplement their income.
Hang on – is Triathlon in trouble? Is our sport sliding down the slippery slope created by a lack of enthusiasm and excitement? Are we being left behind in the mud left behind by Tough Mudder and extreme adventure events? I’m going to go out on a very wide, sturdy limb here and say NO WAY.
RTB data geeks have looked at participation numbers over the last 5-6 years and while many races have indeed fallen away, most that remain grew in 2016. Our own RTB events saw great growth, as did Budu’s Bonney Lake and Lake Stevens, and the Lake Wilderness Tri. Seafair exploded with an impressive increase of 18%! And what about the incredible phenomenon of the Coeur d’Alene 70.3?? The finishers of this first-time event numbered around 2500 – including an army of our own RTB athletes.
While I raced in San Francisco and a few other spots this year, I was a little overwhelmed – again – of how blessed I am to be able to participate. And how blessed we are at RTB to be part of the journey of so many local triathletes. If you’re a member of our team or have participated in our training programs or events as an athlete or volunteer this year – here's to you and Thanks!
Triathlon is indeed strong and well - and while we make plans at Raise the Bar for our 2017 team and events, I find myself thinking ahead to what events I’ll squeeze in. Maybe you're doing the same. Or maybe you’re asking yourself the question for the first time, “Could I be a triathlete?” I hope you find that answer to be ‘Yes’ and if you do, our paths will cross.
Athlete & Event Wrangler at Raise the Bar & Happy Triathlete
My take on Triathlon, and why I think Raise the Bar is so Awesome.
First off, thank you Kathy Morrison for the honor and privilege for writing such an article. I was a little intimidated at the prospect. I mean a whole team reading something I wrote; what might they think? How long might they stay awake? Eric, shut up and type…..(one of the conversations in my head).
I have always known what a triathlon was, but didn’t get serious until I met my wife Pamela and listened to her stories of her triathlon journey to Ironman Canada 2012. It seemed confusing at first, a sport where Swim, Bike, Run meant Fun, Fun, Fun; and at the same time also epitomized a famous Josh Adams quote of “Make friends with suffering because you’ll be spending a lot of time together.”
Now having been a triathlete for two years I understand the connection and have never had so much fun in the required training, and the actual events. I have only done 9 events in the past two years, but all that has done is to make me hungry for more, turning 9 into 90 and keep climbing from there.
Of the questions Kathy posed, about greatest accomplishment, most challenging thing, scariest thing, and the last of am I glad I did it? The answer to the last question is of course I’m glad I did it, yet the answer to the first is “getting over myself.” Wait, is he gonna say he thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips? Nope, its realizing I’m worth it. I’ve been a cop for over 25 years where I like running (when I can’t ride of course) towards shootings, and fires, and bad car crashes because that’s where people need help. In contrast, in my previous marriage, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship where I was made to feel worthless and was always wrong. I finally said “No I’m not” and ended it. I was not broken. It was a place I had got stuck in, and was leaving, but it was not me. I was 80 pounds heavier and my overall health was a wreck. That began my journey to health, healing, and independence, and after walking that blessed road I met Pamela.
Einstein stated, “Adversity introduces us to ourselves.” A perfect statement of triathlon. It doesn’t matter where you start, just that you do and keep going. Every experience holds a lesson. If you start an event but don’t finish it, no matter, you have learned something invaluable about YOU. So now apply that forward and keep going. My one goal in training and competing is to be a better version of myself. Like starting with one of these signs and working your way from right to left. The fun is the constant striving, the reward of beating a previous version of YOU. Let alone the company of a truly fantastic team like RTB.
I haven’t done a Sprint; shortest event has been an Olympic. The longer the event, the greater the adversity and the greater the test of me and what I can do to keep going with a plan. I have had many favorite sayings, but part of the journey is always learning more. The phrase that I had become glued to is the Ironman motto, “Anything is possible, keep moving forward.” Life, like triathlon, is full of adversity and challenge, learning I CAN do anything if I put my mind to it and DO it consistently. It’s easy to contemplate the accomplishment of anything from the comfort of a couch, but until you get up and start…just begin somewhere, nothing will happen. Hey Microsoft started in a garage, so that meant they had to at least walk out there.
Working on a better version of me alone is fun, but add a large exponent to that (doing some math here) and you get the experience of being with a club like RTB. So many wonderful people that are on their own journey, and yet we’re all going in the same general direction. A club with age-group-a-saurus-rex people like me and super smart, super-fast, super personable members as well.
People who inspire me to get faster, and not to try and beat them (haha yeah right) but, rather to be faster to be able to keep up. It’s hard to enjoy their awesome company when they are fading away in the distance. So I plan to keep moving forward, now into the off season with eager eyes on 2017, and the promise of more trial and growth, and the camaraderie of exceptional people.
Raise the Bar
Race reports, upcoming events, news, and more, from RTB.