I think it was ELF's blog this week on Success that got me thinking a bit about this sport and all the last five years I've spent pursing this part of my life. I did my first triathlon on the day I registered for wedding gifts in 2005. I walked into Sears like I had just won the lottery with no other remnants of my very first tri than a faint outline of a number on my arm, and a big @ss smile on my face. That year, I did one tri. The next year, four (two sprints and two olympic distance races). The following, it was on to Eagleman 70.3, which will start this Sunday with a loud fog horn at approximately 7:00am.
No one ever said it would be easy, and that's precisely why I liked it from the very beginning. I started learning things that I stunk at right away (starting with swimming :). I struggled, I ranted and raved, sometimes I cried, but mostly, I just put my head down and decided that I was going to get better at this sport (or these three sports in succession) if it killed me. I wasn't a quitter, and I wasn't about to start now.
With that said, as time has gone on, I've had to keep re-evaluating my position within the sport. I've crossed a few things off my triathlon bucket-list, and added a few more. I've made some progress in some things, and much progress at others. I've competed against some of the worlds best, and enjoyed seeing others friends succeed almost as much as I've enjoyed my own success. The question always looming over my head - How do I define my criteria for success? What is it about racing that I love so much? So, I gave it some thought today on my last mile of my run of the 24 or so I've put in over the last three days. Quads aching, somewhere down in the depths of my soul I found the answer(s)...
Success for me is:
- Not hitting the snooze button when it says ungodly o'clock in the morning and all I feel like doing is sleeping in.
- Earning a day off from training at the end of the week and knowing I put everything into it that I could possibly muster.
- Seeing the sun rise as I drive to pool in the morning, and watching it set from the bike at the end of day while the wind rushes past my face and loving every second of it.
- Sharing the knowledge I've learned with other soon-to-be triathletes as they begin their journey. Helping them avoid mistakes and laughing about all the crazy things that we do to become better athletes.
- Taking away lessons from every single experience, and using those to build and mold me into the athlete, and person, I hope to become one day.
- Meeting some of the most exceptional people in this sport that I have ever encountered, of all ages, ethnicity's and from all over the world, hearing their stories and relating on a level that transcends all of those aspects.
- Traveling all over the country, seeing new sites and realizing how lucky I am to be healthy and see the beauty all around me.
- Testing myself, every workout, every day, and every time I race. Seeing how far I can push myself and being disciplined to go hard, and back off.
- Listening to my body, reading the signs and trying to be balanced to both love training, but to not miss the important things.
- Chatting with Ryan, knowing how much he cares about what we're doing as a team to raise awareness of MD, and never wanting to let him down.
- Facing my fears, and realizing that this whole experience is much bigger than just about me.
- Being thankful that I have these talents and abilities, and never loosing sight of how lucky I am to just be enjoying what I love so much. Thanking God for it every day.
As I think of those racing Eagleman this weekend, my first half, and where I'll be in two weeks from now on Sunday, I can't help but think of these things. There comes a time before the pain ensues that we not only can't avoid the question of "why" we are doing this, but where we also must define the truth behind what success really means for us. Even if we don't have the best day, or the most amazing race ever, there must still be other reasons why we do this or lets face it - We all would have quit a long time ago!!
It's hard, it's gut-wrenching, it take discipline and sacrifice and 90% of the work is done on an open road somewhere with just you vs. you. And the truth is, I wouldn't have it any other way. So when you're out there, just make sure you know the "why" and have your own criteria for success... result you were looking for or not, know what you'll do with that information either way...and most of all, come out with a better sense of who you are as a result.
Thinking of all of you this weekend, and praying for a safe, clean and amazing race....
Oh..and I almost forgot, in case you were wondering about my dancing skills, I obviously have gotten them from good friend, and music mogul, P Diddy.. so, no more haters.. gotta keep it fresh ya'll!
Thanks to my friend Jason who is spending quality time at work to make this picture happen!