Lessons from finishing last in my first sprint triathlon

In my first sprint triathlon (in 2010) I wanted to believe that I could do it like most things in my life – might not be the best, but would not be the worst. I could not have been more wrong.

For anyone who reads even the first chapters of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven R. Covey knows that you cannot cheat a natural system. A computer programmer who does not actively participate in sports may not do that well “cramming” for his first race. That is exactly what happened and the results were predictable. Of all the men who finished, I finished dead last. Every grandmother and grandfather who finished all passed me. Even the ones riding cruisers rocking the streamers on the handlebars.

At this point, I faced two choices:

  • Acceptance
  • Change

In some ways, I still don’t entirely understand all the forces that make me do the things I do. Ego, soul seeking, or maybe just a rock head. I chose to make a change. Like most changes, the decision is far easier than the execution.

My wife asked me a few times why I would keep at this. Each struggle just somehow makes me more determined to win.

I found out:

  • I suck at swimming, biking and running
  • I have exercise induced asthma
  • Sitting is the new smoking
  • You cannot out exercise your diet
  • Failure to measure destroys steady gains
  • Finishing is about determination
  • Performance is your training plan

In the coming weeks, I hope to break down my discoveries into discrete lessons. In the process, I hope to better my own understanding as well as help those who may happen upon these posts.

 

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