Sunday, October 14, 2012

Who Am I?

Son. Husband. Grandson. Brother. Brother-in-law. Cousin. Uncle.  Nephew. Friend. Coworker.  Triathlete. Tri Loco.

Five weeks from today, I'll hear Mike Reilly say:  Andrew Zitofsky, you are an IRONMAN!

There are times I struggle with the fact that triathlon and being a triathlete have become such a big part of my identity. More often though I am proud of what the sport has helped me accomplish both physically and mentally.  Triathlon has helped me shed about 20lbs and I am undoubtedly in the best shape of my life.  I have more energy than ever (even after most long workouts) and I feel like my motor is always running.  Mentally triathlon has helped increase my focus and provided me with a level of discipline I've never had before.  The discipline was born from staying on track with my training, but it's spilled over into the rest of my life as well.  At work I am more organized and on top of things than I can ever remember being.  Triathlon has truly made me a better all around person.

There's a lot of time for soul searching when you are out training for hours on end (many of them alone).  Five years ago I don't think I could have handled all the solo hours; though I can't deny that sometimes it gets lonely out there, I generally find myself to be pretty good company.  My training gives me a lot of time to think (about anything and everything) and I've become increasingly productive during my long workouts.  Of course I focus on the goal of each workout but I also take the time to be mindful about other aspects of my life. 

Triathlon also brings me a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment.  Whether it's crossing a finish line or simply completing a hard workout, I've accomplished something that day.  Even if I struggled through my run, fought every pedal cycle on a ride, or labored through each stroke in the water, I didn't quit.  Triathlon has taught me that the only limits we have are those which we place on ourselves.
 I'm grateful to be a triathlete and look forward to being able to call myself an Ironman.

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