“That was hard!” I panted to Eric Gibb, friend and fellow triathlete. I had just crossed the finish line of my first Olympic distance triathlon, and Eric walked over to congratulate me. “They’re all hard!” he shot right back with a smile on his face, hand on my shoulder. The words didn’t sink in at first. I was too hot, too dehydrated, and too disappointed in myself. I knew my performance was less than great (by my own standards), but a couple of days later, Eric’s words drifted back into my mind. See, I had made a mistake, and it wasn’t swimming a little off course or accidentally dropping my water bottle on the bike. The mistake I made was that I had forgotten that I was competing in an Olympic distance triathlon, and that, as Eric had so simply and aptly put it, all triathlons – no matter what the distance – are hard.
I’ve experienced this before, this feeling of not being good enough, and I know I’m not alone. Lots of athletes, both amateur and professional, have a tendency to self-deprecate and really beat themselves up when they feel they didn’t cross the finish line fast enough, efficient enough, energetic enough. Enough! Eric was right, and that’s something we as athletes all have to keep in mind. What we do is hard. If it was easy, we wouldn’t do it at all. We love the challenge. Thanks for the reminder, Eric.