I have been thinking a lot about adventure this week. It began last Sunday when my older three kids asked me to take them kayaking. Instead of grabbing my paddleboard, I decided to swim alongside them. As I swam upriver traversing the occasional rock with them in my peripheral vision, I was reminded of why I love endurance sports so much – it is the adventure.
Some of my greatest training and racing memories are encapsulated in adventure. As a 13 year old pioneering the sport of triathlon when few knew what it was, I remember swimming in the river, late night rides under the dim lighting in West Creek, and runs in the snow with my older brother who introduced me to the sport. At a young age, it was always about the adventure as the sport was so new and almost unheard of for kids.
Today, I look back on my 28 years of racing and realize some of my greatest memories were those that were full of adventure. It is the XTERRA off-road races, completing a new race distance that took me out of my comfort zone, or simply traveling to a new area to race that are the most memorable. My most memorable training experiences are similar: Exploring new areas, running to a lake to swim, or simply doing something just a bit crazy, usually with friends.
I try my best to share this love for adventure with my athletes. I often stop in the middle of workouts to remind our juniors that they are living the life. While their friends are playing video games, they are swimming in a river, watching the sun set while finishing a ride, or exploring trails by foot. This love for adventure – for life – is one of the greatest gifts I can give them. I hope these memories stick with them for a lifetime as they have with me.