There is nothing at once so tantalizing and tortuous as unfulfilled potential. That is particularly true in the sport of triathlon where athletes hope to excel in three sports in a single day.
Things can go wrong, and often do. There are physical problems to counter. Logistics to manage. Even the best preparation can get waylaid by a bad weather day.
That means determination may be the most important aspect of doing triathlons. Determination is what bridges the gap between unfulfilled potential and success.
That’s why I’m really proud of what my wife did in the Steelhead Triathlon this past weekend. We traveled there last year for the race and the winds were so strong the lake rhetorically chopped up swimmers right and left. She finished the swim and bike, but by then was cooked. The deep red bruise on her face from getting kicked in the water was symbolic of the day.
The experience was bitter for her because he training had been going so well up to that point. In fact she’d had a run of tough luck on several races. But in between, she kept up the training. Rising at 5:00 a.m. for swim, bike and run workouts. She has been disciplined and determined through it all.
Thus when she crossed the finish line and set a PR (all 5s!) it felt like a major vindication for all the work she’s put in. Her coach Steve Brandes has been a wise and patient guide. Saturday morning he sent her a .gif with a funny image of some robot-like character running and running and running. She got the hint. Keep it rolling when you get to the run phase.
And she did. Even on a day that grew hot with a sun beating down on the competitors, she kept her cool and got it done. A determined girl whose finish placed her in the top 25% of her age group. I’m so proud of her for the determination she’s shown.
There is nothing like the feeling of competing up to your potential. On the way home she was formulating new goals and feeling the surge of achievement rise within her. The bike short tan she picked up along the way was a small price to pay for the stamp of determination she placed upon her own heart.
And that is the tale of one determined girl and the triathlon.