In a recent conversation, the whole Ironman "thing" came up. Someone said to me, "You finished an Ironman? Wow - you must be really hardcore."
But, I'm really not.
I am not particularly coordinated or athletic. I get very nervous before any race of any distance. I panic in open water (and even the pool, on occasion). I don't like riding my bike on busy roads. I have a love/hate relationship with my aerobars. And even while running (my favorite part), I sometimes ponder what it would feel like to just....walk.
So why do I keep signing up for these races?
There are a multitude of reasons, including: staying fit, enjoying the camaraderie of my training friends, and the spiffy trigirl gear.
But, there is something else that keeps me going.
It's the simple of act of not giving up. Hanging in there. Pushing on and forward when you really just want to turn around and go home.
I find that every time I finish an open water swim, I feel a little elated.
I didn't let my scaredy-cat thoughts get the better of me. They sure do try - and it can be a struggle to keep going. But I do it anyway.
For me, triathlons are not about the product (which would be a certain time goal). It's about the process.
The process of setting a tough, often scary, goal - and sticking with it. No matter what (with the exception of injury of illness, of course).
It's for this reason that I don't set time goals for myself in triathlons. I set attitude goals.
So, here are my goals for White Lake:
1. Relax during the swim. Try to draft off of someone. (I have never managed to swim close enough to anyone to draft - for Pete's sake, they might splash me - so this would be a major accomplishment).
2. Relax on the bike. Use my aerobars. Hydrate.
3. Thank all of the volunteers on the run - if I can't be pleasant to the volunteers, I need to stop being a triathlete.
4. Cross the finish line with a smile.
Goal #4 may be the most important one of all.