Running my first Ironman was an amazing experience. It is the first race that, when I think about it, my heart fills up and I start to tear up. More than anything it was being a part of the Georgia IronTeam that made it so special, and such an amazing year of growth and learning for me. I never would have expected it to be such an amazing year of friendship. Any event I ever do again will not be the same experience as this was. It was a great way to do an IM – especially my first.
I thought 2012 would be a year without an “A” race – a year to come down off that IM high and work on some lofty goals. And then a friend and coach advised me to have two (or three) and something dawned on me. If I want to learn to compete, I have to learn by having an “A” race, even if it isn’t a full IM distance. Holy Cow – This is an earth shattering revelation!
But now I have questions. I know I can do finish a race, but can I be competitive? Can I train like I can qualify for Kona? If so, can I qualify? I have never held Boston as the holy grail of running, or had the desire to qualify for Boston. But Kona….may be a different story.
And so, at least the first half of 2012 will be a year of training my body and my mind to compete. Will I like it? I don’t know. Will I get injured? It is possible (but it would be anyway). And the big one: CAN I DO IT? I look at all of this and what I come up with is “If you never fail then you have never tried.” And so I am ready to try: to try and see if I can do more than set a goal to finish; to try to change my mind set to a level of confidence that those competitive people in sports have; to see if I can. 2012 will not be without challenges, even without an IM distance race.
I want 2012 to be a year of failures – on paper. I want to go out too hard in a race and learn when I have to pull back (learning my limits). But from each paper failure I will learn and grow such that it is a mental and physical success. My fear is: can I do this? I am a very even, steady athlete. I know my limits and I can assess how to run within them to complete my race. How quickly can I learn a competitive edge. I am competitive, but often practical/scared to apply it more than internally. It goes against what I have learned in my life (practical, calm, even, humble). I am setting myself up to fail. To me that takes an ironwill. Do I have it? I think it is there – deep inside me. And I believe I can bring it out and still love endurance sports, still love what I do and keep it a celebration. Competition between friends is amazing and rewarding – you know that by being together you have both pushed your game up to that next level and you appreciate that person for being there to do it.
So what am I coming to terms with? My fears: I am setting a goal and declaring it publically. Everyone will know if I fail. Also letting people down. That is always scary. What if I fail? Well – I have reached a point where it is worse if I don’t try at all. And so – with a deep breath and a little courage in my heart, and faith that those I love will be with me and honest with me (that is: tell me if I become too full of myself or other such necessities!) I am challenging myself to take the next step in the world of triathlons.
This is where I am, and I want to focus myself and try. Why? Becuase I believe I can. I have many friends for sparking that fire and beginning that belief. It’s time to try and fan the flames.