The day after I wrote my CdA blog post I saw a comment online from someone I follow. The comment basically stated that we shouldn’t be using the term “badass” to refer to anything triathlon related.
I used that term in my blog post under a picture asking if my bike made me look badass. (my bike is undeniably a badass rocket ship and I stand by that comment) I’ve spent some time since wondering if it was pointed towards me, or someone else. I let it get under my skin a bit when I probably shouldn’t have. It may be a little side remark, but the thing is, I deeply disagree with the comment if it was pointed at anyone, not just me.
For some of us, the ability to move for long distances is a gift. A lot of things have to come together to be able to train and complete an Ironman. You have to be financially secure enough – triathlon is a damn expensive sport even without a nice bike. You have to find or create the extra time to spend on athletic endeavors, which can include balancing a myriad of different responsibilities like jobs, families and relationships. It also takes a lot of food and laundry on top of the obvious points above.
Even with all of that hard work training, having a day come together is an incredible gift. It is never a guarantee, regardless of your training, or bank account or how bad you want it. A finish line is a gift. One of my favorite things is hanging out at the finish line as long as my body will allow post race. Seeing the look on people’s face is magical when they make the final turn and the entire day, the entire training cycle is worth it. I stand in a constant state of goosebumps watching these athletes achieve their goals.
I would argue that truly racing an Ironman is incredibly hard, but I think the people who have to fight the whole way through are even more badass. Giving up is easier than continuing to fight when it isn’t your day. Or those battling the cutoffs but giving every effort to keep forward momentum? Those are my heros of the day. I stand in impressed of the people who win them, but I stand inspired by those who figure out how to get it done and make it happen. It’s the formidable strength or skill that gets us all across the line.
But you don’t have to be an Ironman in my mind to be a badass. I think anyone challenging themselves is a badass. It doesn’t matter if it’s taking the first steps and signing up for a couch-to-5k program or running 100 mile ultra marathon. If you are out there challenging your boundaries, you inspire me.
You see, it’s all relative. Just because an Ironman maybe doesn’t impress you, doesn’t mean it isn’t an impressive achievement. Lots of things require a formidable skill.
In this current climate, I think we could all do a little more to spread kindness and support to each other. And maybe a little less judgement.