Nov 01

Identity Crisis

What am I? Am I a runner who bikes and swims? Am a cyclist who swims and runs? Am I a triathlete who simply likes to take things offroad every now and then? At least that I know I am not a swimmer who bikes and runs.

What am I talking about?

Well, all summer long, I was crushing it on the bike and having an absolute blast. I was taking every chance I could to do group rides with a bunch of roadies to improve my bike skills. I spent many a Monday’s hammering it out on the Monday Night Time Trial course in Ada pushing with everything I had in me to better my time by a few seconds each week. I did back to back long rides to increase my endurance and even managed to do a sub-5 hour century during training for the first (and second) time. I was beginning to think that I was becoming a true cyclist.

However, all the while I was increasing my bike performance, I missed running. I started this crazy lifestyle as a runner. Running is my roots. I started running in 1997 for high school XC and except for a year or two off in college, I was purely a runner through 2008 when I started training for my first triathlon. So, in the back of my mind, I always seem find myself going back to my roots and identifying as a runner.

Now, this fall, I am splitting my time between dodging roots, rocks, and trees on the single track all the while pounding the pavement. And I can’t decide what I like more? I love the thrill of carving around a corner, hopping a log without thinking twice about it, or rocketing down a hill and grinding back up the other side.

But at the same time, I love hitting the roads and pounding out a 10-15 mile run and not think twice about it. Ever since my marathon training last winter, my runner performance and stamina has gone through the roof. I feel like I can run forever and at speeds that 5 years ago I never thought were possible.

I still haven’t figured out quite what I am, but I do know one thing… I am having a blast!

So, how do you identify?

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2012/11/01/identity-crisis


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  1. Scott

    A duathlete that swims
    Scott recently posted..Weekly Ramblings

  2. Matt Smith

    Nope…YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! That means you can do whatever you want to do and be a beast at it. 🙂 I’m glad you’re enjoying EVERYTHING!
    Matt Smith recently posted..7 Bridges Marathon Race Report

  3. James Ford

    my crisis is am I a better trainer than a racer? I feel like I train very well and fall about at races!
    James Ford recently posted..Kona and Cold Weather Running

  4. Morgan

    You’re an athlete.

    And you’re a mother effing ironman. 🙂
    Morgan recently posted..3 Things Thursday

  5. adena

    Nice job on the bike. How do I identify? I eat poutine, that is all.
    adena recently posted..wanna know what I’m really really good at??

  6. Mark in Ottawa

    It doesn’t matter what you are “first-and-foremost” – what matters is that you’re enjoying what you’re doing and doing it well. The active lifestyle is not centered around what you do most or what you do best, but that you get out and stay active.

    Hope you’re having a blast with whatever you do today, tomorrow, and in the future.

    Mark (in Ottawa)

  7. Carolina John

    I get that. My roots are in running and I’m a pretty good swimmer too. But I still identify as a triathlete through and through. Focusing on only one sport leads to boredom. You are an Ironman through and through with all of the scars and confidence that comes with it.
    Carolina John recently posted..Three Things Thursday (late edition)

  8. JethroElfman

    By 8 years old I was able to swim indefinitely. Even now some of the best days at the (Lake Erie) beach are when it’s posted with Danger: Riptide. Fighting the 4 ft. breakers is a blast. So I’m a natural swimmer. I acquired the love of running the summer I lived downtown Ottawa and took evening 2-bridge runs to Hull and back including the Rocky thing up the steps of Parliament Hill, or Saturday for the length of the canal. I think I was about 10 years old when I found that 3 hours on a bike was the best way to spend Saturday afternoon. It still is. I love all three disciplines. I am a triathlete.

  9. Matt Oravec

    I think you are in off season mode 🙂 Doing whatever the hell you can to have fun and still get some sort of adrenaline going w/out burning out doing the same boring things you were doing before haha.

    The goal in everything is to have fun and enjoy everything… since we aren’t paid to train, that is all we got!
    Matt Oravec recently posted..ODNR Hunter Education Program

  10. Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race

    Interesting dilemma to have. Being great at riding your bike or great at running…….

    I always thought of myself as a runner as well b/c that is how I started but over the past two years I would identify myself as a triathlete. I am not sure I will run a stand alone marathon again although there are 15k and half-marathon races on the schedule.

    Riding a 100 mile route that is supported with no run after would say I love cycling. My Friday OWS with friends is one of my favorite training days.

    In the end I am a triathlete.
    Jason @ Cook Train Eat Race recently posted..Fig Week Is Here

  11. Mandy

    I’m a retired whitewater raft guide who now is a forester who chases skidders. I like to run. And bike. And swim. Sometimes I like one better than the other. I am thinking after my IM in 2013 I am going to switch to Ultra running for a while. I really want to do that thing I told you about.

    Doesn’t that make it seem like you are SO in the KNOW now!!! 🙂
    Mandy recently posted..Good Day

  12. lindsay

    a mountrimaracycleter.
    lindsay recently posted..october 2012

  13. Colleen

    Good question… I’m just an every day girl that enjoys swimming, biking and running! 🙂 I don’t let them define me though!

  14. Mark in Ottawa

    Hey Kevin,
    Has the mountain bike taken over? You doing alright? Not like you to be quiet for this long, especially in the off season!

    I’m starting my training this weekend for my second half-iron distance race and was just perusing to try to rampu up the motivation.

    Hope you’re doing well and enjoying the heck out of the mild temps and the mountain bike!

    Mark (in Ottawa, Canada)

  15. Michelle Swift

    It’s an interesting notion you bring up! Definition. We attach certain meanings to words, activities and people. We hear the word runner and our brain conjures up images and thoughts of what we associate running with. The same goes for cycling and swimming. At least this is how my brain works 🙂

    I define myself as a runner because that is what I’ve been for a VERY LONG TIME, these legs and I go way back! However, reading this post made me think and I gather that, each discipline is portrayal of my character and personality, another facet of who I am. For example, you are yourself, a husband and soon to be father—all identities that make up you as a whole. Without Jenny you wouldn’t be a husband. Without biking you wouldn’t be_____, without swimming you wouldn’t be_____.

    Your character has layers and depth making you a unique YOU! We keep on growing who knows what is next!

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