What Keeps You Coming Back to the Marathon (or Ironman)

I spent the weekend in Colorado for our Team Amazing Day Training camp, watching some of the TAD team swim, bike, and run many miles + yards, and often wondered how in the world anyone ever finds time for Ironman training (which most of them are in the thick of, or will be soon!). I also started to wonder why it’s been SO long since I’ve been on my bike, and if maybe by some miracle I can figure out how to swim more efficiently (…or at all), so that it’s actually a workout option vs. a death risk for me. We’ll see.

Team Amazing Day Training_Swim Run

I was primarily there to help Katie & Jenni out, and chat about nutrition, but also to snatch up time in the mountains because I have a huge crush on Boulder. It marked my slow (slow slooow) return to running as the long recovery process continues…

Team Amazing Day Run_Rally Sports Boulder

A few of us got to chatting about training + weight maintenance and that evolved into a tangent about training, in general. The Ironman registration link won’t get a click from me anytime soon (or probably ever), but I totally get it. We commiserated about how often we’ve been in the “homestretch” of a race (if that even exists) and totally, up-and-down, 100% sworn off the event as a whole, or at least for a long looong time. And if you’ve done any endurance event, you know that decision may last all of about 24 hours – sometimes less, sometimes a little more. Sooner than we typically care to admit, we’re perusing the web for upcoming options, planning trips, thinking about how to fit the training into whatever life things may be going on, and BOOM. REGISTERED once again. *Shakes fist in the air* – ah, the sport wins again! But we’re not upset about it.

Then race day comes, your stomach knots up, you know what’s coming and you’re all like, WHY DID I DO THIS AGAIN?

Each time we question our own sanity and general mental health, plus find ourselves repeatedly answering the same questions from friends & family. It’s an endless cycle, as all cycles are.

Team Amazing Day Cycling_Boulder Rides

What keeps you coming back to the {long distance du jour}?

It’s an ever-changing mix of adrenaline, thrill of the PR-chase, bling collection, and/or wanderlust, sure. But I think for a lot of us, all of the above could be wiped away and we’d still “race” because of one thing: the process. The training that it takes to get your feet to any starting line is the real drug. It’s the training process that tests us more than the racing, that teaches us dedication and patience, that makes us feel fit and healthy for months at a time, that satisfies the itch on a daily basis. It gives purpose to our routine. It may oscillate between friend and foe on a daily basis, but it holds us accountable and is reliably there day after day, every week. We love to hate it, sometimes hate to love it, but are always glad we get to do it – that our body is healthy and strong enough to keep up, for now.

The training is what gives us the race-day satisfaction; you can’t have one without the other.

Team Amazing Day Trail Run_Boulder

I took off on a plane feeling inspired and amazed by the work each of the Team Amazing Day members put into the weekend, despite every comfort level being tested and having little-to-no-oxygen to survive off of.  If anything, I think they would have been up for more, and packed up their MANY gear bags (srsly, triathletes, how do you deal?!) with tired muscles but satisfied training-hearts. The process continues, and we’re all in.


  1. I feel like I’m always chasing that feeling of when you finish and you realize that you put your mind to something, and you did it. What a feeling!

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