BEST OF FRIENDS

Triathlon has opened up a new world of so­cial­is­ing and re­la­tion­ships for age-grouper

Triathlon Plus - - Tri Chat -

s we im­merse our­selves deep in train­ing, races and per­for­mance data, we can some­times over­look why we are tak­ing part in triathlon in the first place. Quite of­ten, we even for­get to have fun.

As I spend hours and hours grind­ing out train­ing sessions on my own, I get so caught up in dili­gently ex­e­cut­ing my train­ing plan that I al­most for­get that train­ing can be a so­cial af­fair as well.

I de­cided a long time ago that if I rely on other peo­ple, stuff won’t hap­pen. So I started book­ing trips on my own, go­ing on ad­ven­tures and do­ing my own thing with­out need­ing other peo­ple around.

As my life grad­u­ally moved into the world of triathlon, noth­ing re­ally changed. I trained on my own, trav­elled on my own and raced on my own. Ow­ing to the bril­liant in­no­va­tion of so­cial me­dia, this grad­u­ally changed. Nowa­days it’s rare for me to turn up at a race on the other side of the world and not know some­one from so­cial me­dia or past events. Ei­ther that or I al­ways end up meet­ing some­one and stay­ing friends

Awith them and then meet­ing up with them at an­other race in the fu­ture. So while I say I’m alone I’m not re­ally, but some­how it’s still not quite the same.

This hit home to me just be­fore Christ­mas when I went on a train­ing trip to TriSports Lan­zarote. I had some friends who were go­ing there to train any­way (we were all do­ing our own thing so it wasn’t a struc­tured camp), but I also made some new friends, too. In fact, a group of us got on so well that we are now plan­ning a number of other train­ing trips to­gether again this year.

You’re prob­a­bly think­ing “Yeah? So what. Loads of peo­ple do that.” Yes, they do. But I don’t. As I’m not a mem­ber of a triathlon club and have rel­a­tively few triath­lete friends liv­ing close to me, it is def­i­nitely a novel ex­pe­ri­ence. What I like about it is that we weren’t just all mem­bers of the same club, we were all pretty much ran­doms who came to­gether as a re­sult of triathlon. Again, prob­a­bly not that un­usual.

But it made me think how I now have a great group of friends, all of whom I met through my sport. To me that’s pretty spe­cial, mainly for the rea­son that if we took triathlon com­pletely out of the equa­tion, we would all still be re­ally good friends. I’m not just talk­ing about a group of peo­ple who only dis­cuss power out­put and en­ergy gels (al­though I’m sure these top­ics crop up from time to time). We have a gen­uine con­nec­tion, and that is far less com­mon in my ex­pe­ri­ence.

Some­times we take stuff like this for granted. Not only am I do­ing a sport, which is bril­liant (need I say more), but I am meet­ing some awe­some peo­ple along the way, who will be life­long friends. Our planned trips will in­volve all of us do­ing our own train­ing but when we come back to the villa and all hang out “apres-ski” style (we need a triathlon term for this!) then to me, that’s just per­fect.

Hav­ing spent years train­ing on my own or with peo­ple who I have only triathlon in com­mon with is all very well, but now I see, if you can go to the next friend­ship level, do it. One of my old coaches criticised me for hav­ing a “so­cial” an­gle to my triathlon en­deav­ours, yet I think this was only high­lighted be­cause of how much I value these types of re­la­tion­ships in all ar­eas of my life. If you can do what you love with great friends who you’ve made along the way, then that’s a win-win right there as far as I’m con­cerned. Cre­at­ing mem­o­ries is what it’s all about. At the end of the day, if you’re not hav­ing fun, is there any point?

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