Eric Emms MD + [Life]

why

In the blink of an eye it seems, the month of January has nearly passed and the resolutions set for 2011 are either works in progress or becoming a distant memory. Time flies when you're having fun, as the saying goes. And, despite the cold and seemingly never ending winter, I am having fun... workouts are coming together. I've started running again. I am getting stronger, fitter and even a little leaner. The last part has been pretty easy actually, after being a complete and utter glutton during the month of December, losing a few pounds has simply been a matter of all the pie being gone.
You might be wondering why I chose the title for the post and it's pretty simple actually. I've been struggling with the why. I enjoy my daily workouts, that's not the issue. And I've chosen a few events to focus on later in the year to provide some additional motivation and allow for some structure to my training. But the big why is lacking. Yes, daily exercise is healthy of the body and soul. But, come on, that's kind of boring. I need something more.

Over a decade ago, I signed up for an Ironman on a whim... and I trained my ass off, primarily driven by fear. Fear that I couldn't complete the distance and that I would fail. And that fear pushed me out of my comfort zone on a daily basis, doing things that, at the time, seemed impossible, even stupid. For example, ride 100 miles in the northern Virginia summer and then run 10 miles afterward. Now I know the game of triathlon to know that such a workout is not unusual at all for Ironman prep, but at the time (before the Internet), it seemed a little crazy... but fear is a powerful motivator and it got me out the door.

Of course, there was a happy ending, I finished in a respectable time, I lived happily ever after, even doing another Ironman and a bunch of other marathons, half ironmans (click on the 'racing' tag to the right to read some of the race reports). But the sense of accomplishment and pride at Ironman finish line #1 has yet to be equaled.

So what next? I don't know the answer right now, but I'm thinking a lot about it.