Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Compete vs. Complete [And Some Happy-Haps!]

As I was making plans to move up here from San Antonio, I registered for a couple of races.  One was, for all intensive purposes, a sprint-oly triathlon (750m swim, 14.4 mile bike, 4.5 mile run) about a month after I had arrived.  Well, I explained about my *umph* and training last week and how it has considerably dwindled (especially swimming) since I moved here to Chicago, but I can't lie...I knew I'd be fine going into the race.  However, I struggled with the idea of *completing* rather than *competing* several times; I think even lost sleep over it.  Harry (my guy) had to console me several times on the matter, reassuring me that I definitely should go through with it, no matter how much I figured I might suck, and that I should treat it as a "training race".  I ended up pinky-promising that I'd go through with the stupid thing.


Mom sent me my transition bag (of course, I left that in Texas!), Harry was ready to root me on (the Kid was ready to get up at 4:30am on race day and everything!), and I had everything I needed to go into the race.  Even with all of the best intentions in the world, I can't compete with Mother Nature!  A few days before the tri, a huge storm rolled through the area where the race was being held, and flooded the entire town, including the race route. They sent out an e-mail announcing the cancellation of the race due to all of the flooding a few days after the storm.  I gotta hand it to 'em for at least taking the time to assess the situation!  Needless to say, it was a sigh of relief, as well as a stinky disappointment at the same time.

This got me thinking about my efforts in both training and racing.  Are you okay with *JUST* completing?  The very idea of it seems demeaning on several levels.  On one hand, "DUH, it's not THAT far, I can *AT LEAST* finish it"; and on the other hand "There's absolutely nothing wrong with being able to finish a race...people aim to finish races all of the time".  Once you reach the latter level of "Complete", your competitive side kicks in and asks "Are you a wuss, or what?  You can't rock this out like you want to...why bother?".  It's like an internal struggle that is out of your control.  Is your ego really THAT big?  (I think mine is.  :\ )  Ultimately, accepting that you're just unprepared for a race and that you won't do as well as you'd like (or as well as you know you can) will be the turning point as to whether or not you participate in your race.

So instead of *completing* my first triathlon in Illinois, I got up early and ran an easy ~9 miles.  It was gorgeous out!  I was happy to be trotting along, on my own terms, and not even knowing how far I wanted to go.  This is why I run...I appreciate the solitude.  I can think about whatever I want.  No judgement.  No answering to anyone or anything (other than traffic...you should answer to that).  I was grateful that I could complete any distance.  Later in the day, Harry and I hitched up our bikes and took off to the 'burbs.

Keep in mind that this was an absolutely stunning Sunday afternoon.  EVERYBODY AND THEIR DOG (literally) were out on this bike trail.  We still had a decent ride, but it is sort of frustrating when people aren't aware of trail etiquette.

Some pics from the ride:





We somehow had enough energy to entertain some friends and grill afterward.  SOME...HOW.  At some point, I started to zone out as we were all talking in the kitchen later in the evening.  I felt like a dork just standing there, nearly falling asleep!  All in all, the day turned out pretty damn awesome.  Completely.  :)

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