Simple answer - because I enjoy it.
More complex answer - I was an okay X-C runner when younger, modest on track, roads looked promising. I caught a virus one year, performances deteriorated and I dropped out of the sport. I managed to get fit several times over the years, but family, health and other things intervened. Decades later, I am back training as a sprinter. It’s a different challenge – more technical – but less time consuming and certainly less knackering.
I want to see how fast I can go and, perhaps more importantly, for how long I can retain that fitness. Starting from (almost) scratch, pretty much every race last year was an improvement on the previous performance. I expect further improvement at the start of the coming season but much more of a stall in the second half.
The health aspect is important. I could probably get better cardio health from endurance training but my general physical (and mental) shape is worlds away from where I was two years ago.
There’s an element of needing to prove something to myself. Yes, I am supposed to have worked through these things by now but there has always been the feeling that I could have done quite a bit better when younger. “Was that all?” is not a satisfying thought to have kicking around.
Now I have another event and almost no decades-old performances to compare against and fret about. There is a kick in seeing my name crawl up the national ladder, but I’m not particularly worried about trying to break into the top 40/30/20 in the event as I was as a kid. Maybe that will change.
Finally, there’s family. Both kids compete to a reasonable level on track and now I can have a go too, in the gaps in team-related stuff I do in the background. Their embarrassment has abated, the verbals from the trackside have increased. The final kick to getting going again was sitting in the stands in winter, watching them train, envying their enjoyment, getting frustrated. An itch to scratch.