Sunday, March 6, 2011
Winning isn't everything!
Winning is everything, or so they told us. The thrill of victory was supposed to be the be all end all, but was it? While I was never the star athlete or the top dog at anything, looking back I can say I have had a pretty good resume. I ran some impressive times in high school, as a 7th grader in was running Varsity Track and X-Country at a Junior Senior High School, I moved to California and ended up as the 4,5, or 6 guy on a USA Today Honorable Mention Team, Northern California State Champs and Top 5 in the State my senior year. In my post, high school days I took up triathlon at age 33, have been fortunate enough to compete in 5 Iron Distance Races including Kona and 4 marathons including Boston. Along the way I won a single X-Country Race, several track races, and won a 10K overall, and even have been able to win my age group as a 39 year old and 40 year old in a few local 5ks, but the memory of those races hold almost no significance in my mind and heart. What I remember fondest is competing with my teammates, pushing each other to get our best, pushing myself to not let them down and the sense of team and camaraderie. My most vivid memories are of a warm night at UC Davis where I ran a race I consider to be perfect, and finished 5th, but I qualified for the Section Meet as an individual my final goal as a high school athlete. Even getting outkicked didn't knock the luster off that memory. Nothing is more satisfying that reaching a goal you worked your tail off to achieve.
Triathlon has fortified this belief. I have done things I thought were impossible. I've covered distances which boggled my mind, persevered through days when I had every right to pack it in, found myself in a place I truly had no business being at. But each time I found a way to rise to the challenge. Rev 3 Knoxville where I finished 192nd and 26th in my age group is one of the most vivid memories of my life. Getting up off the ground and finishing that race was special and I can take you through so many vivid details to this day. To see the race to its end under those circumstances was an amazing experience. Overcoming my fear, my pride, and the pain taught my so much about myself. I will treasure that experience forever as bizarre as it may seem.
Finally, I take more pride in a 1482nd place finish than any victory. Floating down Alli drive some 5 hours after Macca and Chrissy Wellington was the culmination of a dream I had ever since I was a 12 year old watch ABC's Wide World of Sports. So many incredibly improbable things had to come together for me to be there, but against the odds there I was finishing the greatest race in the world being welcomed home by Mike Riley. Nothing you will ever do can compare to achieving that impossible dream. I'll take that over a victory any day.