Friday, February 6, 2015

Live and learn

We are all human, all of us. Even if you think someone is superhuman, they aren't.

My mistakes over the years are well documented.  My mistakes make the best stories. They are the shared memories that make me and other people laugh. I never share the stories of my best races and times. There's no real fun in that. There's no real fun in pacing perfectly or getting my fueling right on or having perfect conditions. Yes, there is a personal satisfaction in hitting the ball out of the park....but it doesn't make for the best stories.

We can all relate to the screw ups. We can all relate to the dreaded code brown or crying in transition or feeling so amazing at the start of a race only to realize in a mile that we can't hold that pace for the entire 13.1 miles.....it's not just me, right?

My list of mistakes is by far longer than my list of successes. I have attempted training plans that were WAY too aggressive for my fitness level. I've thought those "rules" clearly apply to the average triathlete.....and clearly, I'm not average. I've eaten the wrong foods the night before a race. I've ignored others' well meaning advice.

BUT (and I know you like my big BUT), most importantly, I OWN THAT SHIT.

Every failure, every success is my own. There is no one to blame for my bad race times or DNFs except me. Yet, I can't have the success without YOU: the coaches who have worked with me, the friends and family who have given me endless support.

I own my failures, but you get full credit for all my success.

This morning, as I was waiting for an appointment, I thought about my entire triathlon history. For many years, there was inconsistency in my progress. Because I wasn't willing or able to really be the athlete I wanted.

I wanted one thing, but I was only willing to be something else. I wanted to be a top age grouper, but I wasn't willing to do what I had to do to be that athlete. It's really easy to fool ourselves into believing that we can swim a couple of times a week, get on our bikes and maybe cut a ride short and log a few miles a week....and be outstanding.

I've learned that wanting something isn't as good as working for it. You can say you are going to podium or qualify for Worlds, but what are you doing to get there?

You can be jealous of other athletes who HAVE accomplished that or you can study them, learn from them, watch them race, learn about the training. It wasn't until I said that I was going to do everything possible to excel at the sprint and oly distances, that I actually started to excel.

That's where I am now. I'm listening, watching & learning....and still making mistakes. But my mistakes now are from pushing my own limits. I can take risks in training now that I couldn't take before.  Coach says run 9:00 pace....what happens if I run 8:50? (That's what happened this week). I can push myself to see what I'm made of now.  The more I learn in training, the more risks I can take on race day. Because going up against the best athletes in the US, sometimes requires taking a risk. It requires, sometimes, throwing out the strategy and going for it with all your heart.

But there's one more piece: ALL OF YOU. You are part of my history. In one way or another you have helped me become the person and athlete that I am today. Maybe you're a long time friend; maybe you're a frenemy; maybe we haven't really talked in awhile. One way or another, you have helped me get here today.

You have shaped me into the athlete I am today.

You've inspired me to look up from the past and start working on who I want to be.

I'm dedicating this year to you. The people who have always laughed at my stories, helped me get through hard times and have helped me get where I am today.

Here's to everyone who has ever been part of my life.  Thank you.

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