Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Secret Identity Revealed

Several bloggers have talked about their secret alter ego as they train for Ironman races, or just train for triathlon period. I agree sometimes with the notion that beneath the calm exterior of the mild mannered: university professor, lawyer, teacher, mother, father, accountant, banker or business owner, there lies a triathlete waiting for the next early morning workout to begin under the cover of darkness. A person dedicated to the triathlon lifestyle. "Little do my neighbors know that I just rode 60 miles on my bike", says the resting triathlete with a smirk on his face.

But why do we keep it under wraps until race day, when we put on our lycra racing gear and swim/bike/run with 50-2000 of our closest friends for the day? Why not expose ourselves, not just our feet, to those we know and see on a daily basis and say, "Hey, I'm a triathlete and I Swim, Bike and Run because I think it's fun." I know, I have neighbors that don't get it either. They would rather drink beer, play poker, refurbish a car, tend the garden, watch NASCAR; and I have no problem with that. Different strokes for different folks, we just happen to love triathlon.

Okay, back to the secret identity. I admit that I am modest when talking about triathlon. Get me started and I can go for quite some time. But I don't go around tauting I'm a triathlete. If someone asks I will tell them. I also gauge the persons true interest. I have had several ask and then the eyes gloss over after I mention the three sports. And other times people have questions that I love to answer. So my secret identity is slowly revealed. And I use my secret identity to hopefully inspire someone to start walking, join the Y, quit smoking, dust off that old bike in the garage. Maybe they will say, "If he can do it, so can I." I have a dream. Not as eloquent as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's dream, but a healthy one for those around me.

Well, today the outer covering of my secret identity was torn off. My fund raising for the Komen Foundation is moving forward and has gained momentum. More people are asking about my training and fund raising. I joined the Janus Charity Challenge because of the added challenge and the benefit I felt that I could bring to triathlon and the battle against breast cancer. I was working today at a customer that I enjoy going to. The people there are genuinely nice and good people to work with. Kelly provided me with one of my first donations. Mary Ann called me and wanted to give me a check for my fund raising. This was the first personal check handed to me. All of the other donations have been through the web site. That check in my hand made this fund raising thing even more real. Then Ron started asking questions about the fundraising and my training. A feeling of great personal satisfaction hit me today. I guess we all need that in our lives every now and then. But, I'm just a normal guy doing my best to help those around me. I'm no superman. I don't hide my identity, I'm a triathlete who has to work to support my love of the sport. Some people may never get "it", but even if just one person starts their day differently by deciding to do something to improve their health, maybe I was superman for a day (even though I may not know it).

Game On.


Joseph Vinciquerra said...

Ya know, I think this is a great topic... I'm *extremely* modest when it comes to discussing triathlon (or swimming, biking, or running on their own) with people outside of sport (e.g., every one I work with on a daily basis).

I feel like there's no way to even mention the slightest bit of participation in the sport without making it sound like bragging.

What do other people think about this?

trifrog said...

What a great way to witness your love of the sport - by telling people it's fun! You are an inspiration and encouragement to many around you.

I think too often people don't make it sound appealing to others. Some like to complain about their grueling training and how hard it is and how much time it takes up and sound like they're saying, "I'm better than you" do turn people off. That's not appealing or encouraging to others to get out there and do the same.