Back from the Daks
An X-Terra race is an off-road triathlon. This makes it much harder because the bike and run legs are very rough and hilly.
I do triathlons for a number of reasons. One is that I'm inspired by these guys (I'll try to embed the video below). The main reason is that I like all the activities involved and signing up for races is a good way to make sure I stick to my training schedule, the purpose of which is general fun and fitness.
It's fun to do all three sports in a day and without signing up for the races I'd probably not often take the opportunity to do three consecutive workouts with no rests, which is basically what a race is for me. I'm not gunning for the podium (though I'd have been third in the mens 25-29 division (that might sound good, but it's not, it's the slowest division by far: 20-25 division they still have naturally invincible lungs and there are a lot of college athletes, 30-34's have realized that they have begun dieing and that their body isn't on auto-fit anymore and so they've begun to work out a life-time fitness plan, 35-39 have really begun to hit their stride, and 40-45 (by far the strongest triathletes) have the training and experience to excel), I'm just giving myself motivation to do the brick workout which is very fun.
I never go anaerobic or get near zone 4, I just do each leg as if it were a strenuous workout. As a result, I typically finish comfortably in the middle of the pack, suffer no stress or injuries, and can resume my "normal" lifestyle the next day.
So I guess the races are a crutch to compensate for my lack of will-power. However, they are also nice social events, we always meet really cool people, and it sends a message to the kids about the kinds of activities we value--we don't go sit on our butts watching cars burn gas in circles stuffing our faces with junk food, we don't go wander around giant artificially controlled environments seeking to unnecessarily spend money on the narrow selection Big Clothing decides we're supposed to be wearing this season, etc.
So they're fun, they promote my life-time fitness plan, they send a message to the kids about our values (outdoor fun and fitness). Oh, and they also take us to some really cool places as the pictures attest. They're also humbling because in the races I do there are always a few pro athletes and, wow, are those guys and gals amazing. It's just a privilege to be on the same course.