Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Front, Middle, Back ... Its All the Same

Another triathlon in the books and now I'm closing in on 19 days until my first 1/2 Ironman. Interesting things happen at every single race and that's the beauty of being a runner and a triathlete. Each race experience is never the same. With that said, I am positive that if you ask me about any race at least one unique moment still vividly stands out.

Let's talk Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series, which was held two days ago on Sunday. The Race began in waves and as I eagerly waited to get my go ahead (the very last start wave) I saw all the other athletes already in the water and a many pumping on the bike. As the race progressed, it wasn't my best performance, but because of the wave start I was able to spend time racing with the front, middle, and back of the pack athletes. I passed a few on the swim, along with the bike and run. They weren't in my age group category, but we were one in the same.

Not just on this day, but every time I've ever entered a race my theory is that every athlete is the same. No matter what place you finish or how fast or slow your race time is ... we are all programmed with the same drive and dedication to excel. Most of us are out there for the right reasons, not to win, but to be better than we were the day before. The most important factor in life, racing, and lets not forget CrossFit is to improve. To constantly progress and to have the will power to become a better person each time we step in the box, head to work, or toe the starting line. The person in the back of the pack is just as worthy as the person in front. Here's one more event that went down in this race that proves this theory all together...

As I finished up my race, I quickly glanced towards the run portion to see if I could see a close friend finishing up. We had traveled to the race together, fueled the previous day (paleo of course) and drove to the race early with excitement (and a little fear). We both had the same expectations to finish and be better than we were the day before and don't forget fun!! As I approached this "TBNL" person (To Be Named Later) she explained to me that she had gotten DQ - disqualified. Was this for real? How could this have happened? As we chatted further, I still couldn't believe what I was hearing. No warning at all for having headphones on, just an immediate dismissal. Regardless of the decision, she planned to finish the race and conquered. Situations like this really separate and athlete from a pretender. I actually attempted to run the last leg with her; however with the stream line of emotions and dedication to finish there was no need. This TBNL person was there for the right reasons ... its unfortunate the unknowing volunteer couldn't see this. The fact is that TBNL finished strong and did it with a pool of unexpected emotions. Despite the DQ, her finish was all the same. It counts just as much as getting on the podium. TBNL was just as much a finisher as every one else out there on Sunday.

When your in a race, its tough to know why the person next to you is out there. What are they trying to prove? Have they battled back from cancer to now toe the line of a marathon? Are they completing a triathlon because a parent would have wanted them too? Are they there because when they cross the finish line their two little kids will be waiting?

Everyone has a motivation on race day or when they enter the CrossFit Box. Sometimes (like in CrossFit) less is more. The quality of the motivation is always better than quantity.

The conclusion from Sunday's race is this: that with the proper motivation, that is, a good reason for wanting to do it, your mind can overcome any sort of adversity. 95% of athletes live by this and as you show up to races remember that the Front, Middle, and Back become are one in the same.

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