Rich Person's Sport

I don't think of myself as a wealthy person. Our household depends on wages and needs to save for the future. But there is no way to look at myself as a triathlete and not understand exactly how wealthy I am.

Cue the soundtrack...

Consider the time it takes to train (one to two hours a day for the shortest distances). Add up the gear it takes if you even just want to finish comfortably without hurting yourself.

I'm sure it's not impossible to participate in triathlon without the advantages of a steady income; somewhat flexible hours; a gym and pool nearby and the means to pay for access to them; roads on which it's safe to bike and run; and low or negotiable household demands. But it would be tremendously harder.

I'm thinking today of women who don't have the luxury of deciding to attempt a triathlon. Who don't have the option of parceling out time or money for training or equipment or entry fees. Who would have to sacrifice too much to make it happen – would have to sacrifice some other aspect of their own or their families' well-being.

And there's no question but that it is a privilege of wealth to take on this challenge. Knowing this makes me want three things.

First, not to take this opportunity for granted. That means putting my whole effort into training; training smart, training hard, and training friendly, and making the most of this time. I owe it to women who never had this chance not to half-ass it.

Second, where I can, to offer support to someone else who's trying to make the most of this. For instance, why not use a recovery day to do a slow run/walk workout with someone who's just getting started as a runner? If I'm ever strong enough on the bike to do so, why not pass up a fast ride once in awhile to pace with a newbie who wants a ride partner?

Third, to keep finding ways to use my strength – the choice that relative wealth provides – to the advantage of other women and girls whose lives might be richer, as mine has been, for this experience.

(Cross-posted from A Sunny Hello.)