I typically hate “labels” for people, but we all label ourselves based on what we do or what we enjoy. Craig Alexander is a triathlete. Michael Phelps is a swimmer. Oscar Pistorius is a runner. There was a time when I labeled myself as a “gamer”…and I’ve always been a “geek”. But I’ve never been able to label myself where sport is concerned…I’ve just never been active enough, until now, to do so.
I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly athletic person; growing up, the emphasis was on academics, rather than sport. Sure, I went out and played like any other kid: climbed trees, rode my BMX bike all over the neighborhood, chased my brother, pretended to be a superhero, goofed around in the community pool. And there was the occasional flag football, summer softball or fall soccer that my parents put me in (because I had to do something, right?). Still, I was more nerd than jock.
Later, in high school, those activities were replaced by being active in technical theatre…which kept me active and strong, but being a “thespian” isn’t exactly the same as being an athlete. College was much the same…did some mountain biking, but nothing consistent and nothing overly difficult.
So really, sport is new to me…specifically since about January 2011 and more consistently since the beginning of 2012. But it’s only recently that I’ve been really thinking beyond the next local 5K to events that will define me: Pacific Crest Olympic-distance triathlon in 2013, Ironman Canada or Tahoe in 2014, and potentially the Ironman World Championships in 2015. As soon as I really started thinking about doing these races (and, more specifically, training for them), I realized that I had become something else. I have gone well beyond just the kid in grade school who couldn’t run very far, beyond the guy who barely passed the APFT in 1996, beyond the computer geek everyone turns to for tech support.
So how do I define myself these days? Husband. Brother. Son. IT professional. Geek. Kitteh dad. Runner. Cyclist. Swimmer. Triathlete.
Question for you: how do you, as an athlete (of any skill level) label yourself…or do you?