I remember reading once that the only difference between a jogger and a runner is an entry form. When I signed up for my first 5K, I didn’t run at all. Spending the money on that registration and having a deadline is what drove me off the couch and propelled me into the crisp autumn air. But it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re chasing day after day with so much on our plates at work, home and school. I recently had a revelation that’s changed the way I view myself and the time I spend at the gym. I was struggling to get out of bed at 5 a.m. and prepare for spin class. I realized I was feeling a bit weary. I mean, who really wants to get clad in spandex to drive to the gym in the dark and pedal towards nothing for fun?
I have a little countdown widget on my phone that tells me how many days separate me from the Racine 70.3 Ironman triathlon. I did this for my first sprint and the marathon and found it motivating/terrifying. Sometime during that 45-minute spin class, it clicked for me: I’m not aimlessly floating through work outs. Even though I’m just working on my base building, every day brings me closer to the start line of my next triathlon race. To a beach packed with black neoprene, nerves and muscle. To a six-hour test of my endurance and spirit. To miles of challenges and triumphs.
I can’t tell you what July 21 will hold. It could be unbearably hot. It could rain in sheets. It could be windy. I could have a blister or my goggles could leak.
What I can tell you is what I’m doing today to make that day bearable. So I pedalled my heart out and decided I’ll give it my all every damn day. I have everything it will take, but it will take everything I have.
This epiphany is what propels me every day. I’m not just a full-time professional and wife who commutes, cooks and cleans, but I’m an athlete training for a goal. Because we’re all athletes, it’s simply a matter of if we’re training or not.
Kelly Janowski is Chicagoland foodie blogger turned amateur endurance athlete. She started dabbling in running two years ago before she became inspired to complete an Ironman. With a marathon and sprint triathlon behind her, this summer will hold her first 70.3 half Ironman triathlon.