highs and lows

I wasn’t going to blog about this, but then I decided that I should if only to help myself wake up and smell the intoxicating aroma of the proverbial coffee.

I had my first triathlon of the season last Sunday – the Mandel JCC Indoor Triathlon. It wasn’t a big race; it’s not like it was USAT sanctioned, and it’s not like a competitor had a choice on how long it would take to finish. This event measured a person’s total meters accumulated by adding up the distances acquired in the three disciplines. Each participant was given 15 minutes to swim, 20 minutes to bike, and 20 minutes to run.

Having said that, I felt ridiculously confident going into this race. I am currently in the best physical shape of my life; I’ve been training hard since the second week of January, and I’ve managed to lose 8 pounds by completely altering my diet. In short, I expected nothing less than total domination of my age group. Can you sense the foreshadowing yet?

To make a long story short, I choked. When I found out that I was only 7th out of 10 in my age group, I felt a mixture of embarrassment and disappointment in myself. I had told so many people how sure I was that I would perform oustandingly well, and now I would have to tell them all that I only managed to knock out three people in my age group. I felt I had worked so hard only to achieve so little. I was confused, and for a good two days, I was in complete despair. “How could this happen!” I kept thinking to myself.

It was clear by the standings that it was a biker’s race, and by now I think everyone I’ve ever met has heard my lamentations on how poor a cyclist I am. While this reality offered some comfort, I still couldn’t help but feel weak. However, after a couple of days passed, I went back and took and second look at the standings. As it turned out, I had the second best accumulated run distance in my age group and the third best swim. Ah, perspective – you can be a such a sneaky bastard.

After making this realization, and after one of my students casually stated “The fact that you even completed a triathlon is impressive to me,” I started to lighten up on myself. Competing in this sport is no easy feat, so why do I constantly torment myself when I don’t perform as well as expected? Triathlons do make me happy, and I can’t allow a sub-par performance to detract from the joys of training and competing.

So, the moral of the lesson for me was to suck it up and quit whining…and to strength train until I have thighs like Lance Armstrong.

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One Response to highs and lows

  1. elisariva says:

    We are neighbors! I swim both at the JCC and Lifetime. Yes, you did amazing just doing it! I started back in running races and triathlon two and a half years ago. I first started almost 13 years ago and took a couple years off. How do you like this? I did a small 5K in Chardon in October of 2009 and came in DEAD LAST. I thought a small race with only 35 runners was safer. Ha, did I learn my lesson. I have since gone on to PR in my 5K and every other distance, so there is always room for improvement. I also lost 23 pounds along the way. Great job to you!! Looking forward to reading your blog!


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