Wishing a wonderful Friday to you all, as we attempt to usher in spring. And by spring I mean torrential rain storms that will give us May flowers… or something like that.
I’ve struggled on the blog train for the past few months, for many reasons, but that has given me great time to think and ponder. I have a huge backlog of “in progress” posts but haven’t been able to wrap them up as I would like.
Race season may be kicking off tomorrow (weather-dependent) with ICE Breaker, an old classic down at Granite Beach. I’ve been participating in that race for forever, mostly as a kick-off to racing season, and it’s always fun when a cohort of familiar faces travel from the area (Nevada or otherwise) to meet up for the start of the season. Some of my fellow athletes and I have been going head-to-head for eight or nine years! That’s a rivalry :D
While not really my favorite course (or distance), the sprint always provides a good chance to blast out the cobwebs as the mega month of racing and vitamin D fast approaches. May is my jam for that very reason!
One of my friends has been very concerned about the looming rain storm that may or may not help itself to our Saturday morning. I can totally relate to the anxiety – at this point, I’ve just been competing for soooo long (12 years?!) that items out of my control have stopped phasing me nearly as much as they used to. Pffff, I only repack my gear twice now instead of the seven or eight times I used to check and recheck and check the recheck… For me, I welcome the rain as a chance to focus on a safe bike ride and then make a poor attempt to unleash the beast on the run. Giant, muddy puddles have a way of bringing out the child in us all xD
For today, a few bullet points that apply to the business realm and the multi-sport world equally:
Control the Control-ables – Pump up your tires, do your training, check your equipment, show up well-rested, and race as hard (or a touch harder) than you’re capable of. On the other hand, don’t sweat the stuff you truly have no control over: who else shows up at the race, the weather, course changes, getting misdirected, etc. When things don’t go your way, it’s likely because you have no true control, a humbling and yet valuable lesson to be learned each and every day. A prime example of this took place on my birthday not that long ago… I had big plans for my day off of work and yet on my way back home from running an errand, my car blew an electronic component that promptly directed me to the side of the road with a car that decided it was time to stop running. $450 and 7 hours later, I finally puttered into my driveway, my day completely derailed and plans ruined. Don’t sweat the small stuff! One day out of 365 is only .003%… plenty of chance for redemption 0:-)
Race Your Race – Racing is a chance to push your physical (and mental) limits, to hit the ground swimbikerunning with your training teammates and friends, and to find out how hard you’re willing to work. You’re there to compete! But don’t let the adrenaline of competition haze your vision and make you lose sight of what matters. If the body isn’t clicking, you’ve got to race what you’re capable of. Same applies in life – don’t let others determine your priorities for you. You know what is worth spending time on and what is most important. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others, but with no context (aka walking in their shoes) the journey you are on is the only one you should be concerned about.
Find the Joy in the Situation – I have been caught in the rain at every single triathlon race distance at least once. Lake Stevens 70.3 had soothing, fairly comfortable and warmish rain but the Boise iciles caused the bike to be axed to 12 miles. Bearathlon had a torrential downpour during the bike leg in March. The ever-ominous IRONMAN Canada 2015 brought with it the Soul-piercing Freeze Rain of Hypothermia and Sadness. Some of these races were less ideal than others, but the prime example would be Folsom International in 2016. It poured buckets the entire way from Reno into CA, all through the swim and the bike portion, and then let up for the 10k run. Ironically it was one of the most exciting races I’ve ever been to as everything dried up for a gorgeous run and dash to the finish! Sometimes lemons are going to be lemony, but in general we should learn to look for the goodness that every situation brings. Yes, you may get laid off, have an unexpected medical emergency, or other event that derails your week/month/year, but there is always a grain of joy hiding somewhere waiting to be uncovered like a priceless treasure.
Play the Long Game – I have participated in a lot of racing events… probably 80+, and while I’m no expert, I have certainly undergone a wide gamut of race experiences. Pouring rain, shortened bike courses, bee attacks, inconvenient porta potty breaks, injuries, canceled IRONMAN events day-of, runs that turned into walks, bike crashes, legendary bonking, etc. With all of that comes an unprecedented amount of ups, downs, joy, excitement, and some total heartbreakers. Nonetheless, you have to keep your focus on the long game. Yes, each race is important, but it has to be viewed in the grand scheme of things. Think of the blocks of races that comprise your season, and the seasons that make up the years. All told, it’s the longer term perspective of everything you’ve learned and the numerous ways you’ve grown that actually matters. Think back five years ago – you probably don’t remember much of the day to day minutia, but I’m sure you remember the experiences that were awesome, the ones were you learned a lot about life, and the ones that were so far out of your normal zone that you have no choice but to remember. The older I get, and the more seasons I go through (race and otherwise) the more I am realizing the very chapter-like nature of life – it’s just one big combination of stories, each with a beginning, a middle, and an end, all being assembled for the book of which you are a part of.
The sport of triathlon is not the end all, nor should it be, but it helps bring excellent life perspective. It trains you to push yourself, to deal with disappointments, and to create routines that uncover new possibilities you never dreamed of. It also helps you multi-task because, holy cow, it’s hard to have a job and a family and train and still see your friends…
Life is worth living to the fullest, because life well-lived is like a well-assembled, fancy dinner – all of the pieces come together with an amazing splash, even when some of those bitter or odd flavors are thrown into the mix :-)