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Should Triathlon Define You?

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By Sarah Barker (triathlete.com)

Five steps to maintain a sense of self when triathlon gets put on the backburner

At 33, Rick Crump was single and living la vida triathlete: hammering Saturday rides with a group of guys, going to Kona. They loved to work out; they loved to compete.

—as the three ‘R’-named athletes called themselves—were age-group aces. Yes, middle school PE teaching paid the bills, but in Crump’s (very efficient) heart, he was a triathlete.

“I was top dog and 36 when the triplets were born,” Crump says of the big life change. “I became an instant 24/7 dad. It was a rude awakening. I had no time and no desire to train. My bike hung in the garage with the shoes still clipped into the pedals for two years.”

Crump now admits that stepping away from the sport cold turkey triggered an identity crisis. At 52, he became depressed and gained 20 pounds. “I loved being a dad and a PE teacher, but I couldn’t think of myself as a competitive athlete those first two years, and neither did other people.”  ...

 

 

According to Cindra Kamphoff, a sport psychology consultant who has worked with many elite athletes, “Identifying strongly as an athlete and wanting others to see you as an athlete can provide the motivation and discipline to train at a high level. But if you see yourself only as an athlete, that can be unhealthy.”

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