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Secret Identity

Posted by: on April, 10 2012

By Tony Troccoli, Coach-Tony.com:  It’s early on Monday morning. I’m in a standing sync up meeting with a peer outlining the work week’s objectives as we do every Monday morning. The meeting typically ends with a discussion about our weekend activities. I get to hear all about his son’s basketball games and how well he played; always an enjoyable listen. And then the question about my weekend comes up. “What’s the point” I ask myself. “At the end of this conversation, you’ll say I’m crazy and leave me with a feeling abnormality.”

And so, over the years, I’ve limited office discussion about my weekend activities to those who understand what it is to have a passion for something. In our society, athletes are typically recognized only as Olympic hopefuls, student athletes, professional athletes, or glamorized in magazines and television for doing something extraordinaire. The general population, in my opinion, has yet to recognize or accept that we can also be considered athletes.

“How many miles did you ride this weekend Tony? You’re nuts. I don’t even like to drive that far.” Does this sound familiar? How does this make you feel? Like fish swimming up stream? And so, we start to keep a secrete identity. Is this healthy?

Generally speaking, we live in a country of convenience where people strive to achieve or acquire more with as little effort as possible. With many families needing 2 incomes to pay for a house, 2 cars, 2.5 kids, and the dog, how can we blame them? Unfortunately, some have turned to the couch, a sandwich, a beer, and reality TV as their new family past time. As athletes, our mind set tends to be different. There is no easy century, triathlon, or marathon where you finish by doing less than others.

The rules to life are different for each of us. Hence the saying, “life is unfair.” The rules to our athletic endeavors are static. We line up at the start line with assurance the rules apply equally to all participants. Type “A” personalities like the journey and difficulty required to reach the finish. Controlled discomfort is part of the game, enjoyment, and contributes to the reward. It provides balance. Is it strange to say “that was fun” after a 6 hour race in 98 degree heat? Absolutely not!!! If you enjoyed it, don’t let a suit lesson your sense of accomplishment.

Life is so neatly defined for those who say we’re nuts. They understand the human body has limitations but cease to understand the human spirit is boundless and that is what sets us apart. They follow popular activities while you pursue your dreams. You are in a different league. While they wear a t-shirt underneath to cover their chest, you wear an “S.” By the time they drag themselves into the office at 8:00 am, the hardest part of your day (lets say an 8-10 mile run) may already be behind you. When they stress because a deadline is in jeopardy, you ask “what do I need to make this happen?” Another GU? Gatorade? Coke? And the job gets done. The finish line is crossed. They consider themselves part of the “norm” and we are the strange ones. When reality strikes, they do what the norm does and fold. We find a way.

So go ahead and call us crazy. It’s nothing more than a misunderstood label from those who don’t share our perspective on life. I can’t say that I understand many of what society deems normal today; all night outings with the boys (or girls), hunting defenseless animals, bars, drugs, getting drunk at the river, gambling, or any number of other destructive hobbies that unfortunately surround us.

At work, you may feel alone because you are the only one that shares this type of passion. But in fact, you are not alone. You belong to a prestigious society that chooses not just to live but enjoy the ride. Do you remember that chap who climbed Mt. Everest without oxygen (not recommended)? When he reached the bottom, everyone asked him ‘Why did you go up there to die?’ He replied ‘I went up there to live.’

And so….I share my Half Ironman story with my peer in as few words as possible when I hear those words again “that’s crazy man, you’re crazy.” I respond with a polite smile, turn my chair around allowing the work day to begin. I think to myself…..”Crazy? No I’m not crazy! Crazy is watching your life pass you by without making the most of every day.”

Has anyone else been called crazy

-Coach Tony

 Tony Troccoli has been a certified USA Triathlon and USA cycling since 2001. Tony has competed in nearly 20 Ironman events including Kona and coaches locally in the Southern California area and on-line nationwide. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Tony’s pre-built, easy-to-follow training programs. Tony is also a F.I.S.T certified bike fitter and soon to be Certified Total Immersion instructor. Contact Tony at tony@coach-tony.com.