Know your “Why?”

Those that know me will know I have moments where I seriously struggle with motivation. Big time! No matter how many times I proclaim, “That’s it. I’m never eating chocolate. EVER. AGAIN!” or “That’s it. I’m never going to stop running!” – the running bit typically happens just before an Ironman when I feel seriously fit – something always comes up. The boyfriend brings home the chocolate. I get lazy and very well acquainted with the couch. I lose the battle with the snooze button, make every excuse under the sun for not training, or at least exercising (um, it’s raining outside!) and BOOM! All of a sudden it’s 6-months since the last race and I’ve become Little Miss Couch Potato!


Image credit: Jellybean Comics by Loryn Brantz

True to form (hey, I’m consistent at something!) it happened again this year, after Ironman Cairns. Despite my best intentions life got in the way, fitness was lost and then getting back into training was well and truly in the too hard basket.

To get me back on track one of the first things my coach said to me was, “What matters in the first part of the journey to get you back training is finding purpose in what you do. Know WHY you need to do what is set and have firm goals and know what you’re looking for.” She then went on to list her goals for me for the first six weeks of my training plan.


“Know your why.”

Why do I do triathlon? I mean there are so many other, more NORMAL ways to exercise and to be active. Why am I learning to juggle? What got me started in the first place? Who am I doing this for? What do I want to achieve?

My foray into triathlon began at the end of 2009 – around Christmas time. I had always wanted to do a triathlon and had always admired triathletes on the covers of glossy tri mags, but never really had the means to do one. I didn’t know anyone in the sport and didn’t really know where to start.

But after a relationship breakdown and the post-break up decision to “reinvent myself” (it was finally time to start ticking things off my bucket list) I bought a cheap road bike from the local bike shop (love Boxing Day sales) and started watching videos on YouTube on “How to do a triathlon” and “How to clip into and out of bike pedals” (what on earth are cleats?) and “How to do transitions” (what the hell is a transition?). I soon discovered Ironman and Kona, and Chrissie Wellington very quickly became my hero!

Before long I stumbled upon the Gatorade Tri Series website and signed up to my very first triathlon – a Brooks Fun Tri (now the Active Feet Fun Tri series) – a triathlon for beginners. Perfect!

It was all systems go after that. I remember riding my bike on Beach Road, thinking 60km was “ahhhh-mazing”. I remember going to the local swimming pool and thinking, “Wow! I just swam 200m without stopping!” Yes, yes – I still think this is pretty amazing at times.

Race day was one of the best days of my life.

It was a hot summer’s morning in Elwood. My housemate and I got to the race venue super early with Eminem’s Lose Yourself blaring out of the speakers. Once we found a car spot, we made our way to the swim start where we met up with my mum. I was beyond nervous by this point. I put my swim cap on, made sure my timing chip was firmly around my ankle, my housemate helped to write my race number on my arm and I was ready to go!

I got the shock of my life diving into the cold, open water when the starters gun went off. Who knew swimming in the open water would be so completely different to swimming laps in a pool?

I loved the bike. The freedom of riding down Beach road without the fear of cars and other traffic was something else. And I was actually PASSING other riders – woah!

And while the 3km run was probably one of the hardest things I had ever done – run is a loose term really, it was more of a run, shuffle… “Dear God, my lungs are collapsing”… walk, sprint down the finish chute because “Oh crap, people are watching”- coming across that finish line, with my mum and housemate cheering me on, that’s a feeling I’ll never forget!

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-3-12-02-pmAs they say… the rest is history. I found my happy place. Triathlon was all sunshine and butterflies to me. I loved it. I was hooked!

So, why do I do triathlon? Why do I get up at stupid hours to train? Why do I juggle?

Because… It makes me happy. It makes me feel good about myself. Plus, I have some kick-ass goals I’d like to achieve.

And while there are, and probably always will be, moments where “I can’t be f***ed”, it’s about remembering how good it feels when it’s done and how good it feels when you’ve achieved something you never thought possible. It’s about making your dreams come true. That makes the juggle worth it!

So, what’s your why?

~ Margy Margs x



Margaret Mielczarek

Margaret Mielczarek is the deputy editor at Australian Triathlete Magazine and writes the web series 'Shenanigans of a Deputy 2.0'. She is a passionate age-group triathlete and four-time Ironman finisher - currently in training for Ironman number five!

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