So I was sitting in my wee cubicle, well really it's an open-air-concept-end-of-hallway cubicle, when my coworker, Ali, stopped by. He was showing me how to request some documents etc. Anyhow, he was looking at my monitor when his eyes wandered upward on the wall to where I have a picture of Tigger and I crossing the finish line at Ironman.
He pointed to the picture and asked what the picture was from and if I had finished a running race. I told him it was from a triathlon. He then had a quizzical look on his face, 'Triathlon?' He didn't know what it was so I explained that it is a race where you swim, then bike, then run, one event right after the other. He thought was pretty cool. So I mentioned that this was a long triathlon. He asked what the distances were. I told him the swim was 3.8 km. His eyes got a bit wider. Then I told him the bike was 180 km. He repeated what I said with a question mark behind it. haha. His eyes were even more wide then. Then I told him about the run distance. He said 'that's a marathon!'. Yes sir, it is.
He then looked at me, and with his quiet voice said 'What an amazing accomplishment to finish something like that'. Well, I gotta tell ya. I just about cried.
You may wonder why the heck that just about brought tears to my eyes. Well, for one you have to know Ali, he's a very kind, quiet man and so just the way he said those words got to me. The second reason is I sometimes forget just what an achievement finishing an Ironman is. I'm surrounded by many who've completed Ironman - even many Ironman. A lot of them are pretty darn fast too. So sometimes it's easy to forget how huge an achievement it is just to finish. It seems so normal to do one!
The last reason that tears were brought to my eyes...and this one I'm very ashamed of...is that I often think, yes, I finished an Ironman, BUT my time was 16:05. Like that means that my completing the race somehow means less than the others that came at quicker times!! Uh NOOO. I certainly wouldn't think that of any of the other competitors times...so why do I think that about mine?!
Well you know what? Ali didn't care about my time. He just thought it was awesome that I finished. He even said that he could see doing each event one at a time, if you took all day...and had much rest in between. But all together?! And he's right. I'm very humbled by what he said and very thankful he put it into perspective.
So why am I confessing my shame about how I feel about my time? Well, because we are now headed into another season of triathlon. Some of my friends are going to be attempting their first Ironman, some their first half Ironman, and I'm going to be attempting my second Ironman. I was given a gentle reminder about what it means to attempt and complete these challenges. I know, I've been reminded before....but I sometimes forget. So I want to be the first to remind you guys...
No matter what happens on 'the big day', be proud! Remember how completely amazing it is that you are out there and that you are giving it your best. Know that not everyone has the gumption to attempt any distance of triathlon, much less a half or full Ironman! Try your best not to compare yourselves to others or worry about the time. Sure, we all set some time goals. It's natural. It's not the be all and end all of the race though!!
Savour every moment of the day. In fact, savour every moment leading up to the big day!
And just as every parent says to their child before a big event. Just do your best!!