Thursday, November 19, 2015

Stop It

If only...

Two words I've heard over and over again in this 15-year triathlon journey I've taken.  If only I had a faster bike.  If only it wasn't so windy.  If only the rain had stopped.  If only the heat wasn't so oppressive. 

Then what?  You(I) would've run faster?  Your(my) bike split would've been better?  You(I) would've qualified for Kona in your age group?

The truth of the matter is, we triathletes are a competitive bunch.  We thrive off the minutae of more watts with less effort.  Our blood pressure starts to pump when someone passes us on a bike that we KNOW is slower than us.  We compare our times with our training partners' times -- on different courses and in completely different conditions, where nothing was the same except the distance.  It's in our DNA to go faster.  We want to improve.  It's the nature of our inner beast.

 But the competitiveness should stop there. 

In the big, bad world of competition and the thirst for more, we need to embrace the triumphs and successes of ourselves and others.  We should be proud when a friend gets his PR.  We should be truly grateful our bodies held up and we crossed the line safely. 

Because there is always going to someone better than you, faster than you and stronger than you. 

As my bike derailleur broke at mile 5 at Ironman Austin 70.3, I was forced to abandon the race and take a DNF (did not finish).  However, it gave me the opportunity to ride in the SAG vehicle over the next 50 miles of the bike course.  We passed cyclists who were riding with prosthetic legs.  We saw a blind woman who was the stoker on a tandem cycle.  We drove past fast gals and slow guys and everything in between.

What I was most impressed with, was the majority of triathletes on the course were smiling, tucked in and riding hard.  Some looked quite sleek with expensive bikes and the gear to match.  Others had ill fitting bikes and their rain jackets tied around their waists as they made their way across the farmlands toward T2.  It was fun to see the race from this perspective. 

My point is, we should all be grateful we can do these races.  Our bodies are a gift.  The ability to push the limits of what our bodies can do should be embraced and celebrated -- not diminished by others' accomplishments.   We should never be too hard on ourselves for not going as fast as we think can.  Or too cool to help a beginner who needs advice and counsel on how to lay out their transition zone. 

Let's choose to be  truly happy when others do their best.  And enjoy the journey that brought you your success.  Thank God for the little things.  Because in the end, THAT is what will make you happiest. 

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