by Coach Steve

What percentage of The World's population actually gets 'off the couch' and does a workout where they move under their own power and get their heart rate up? Now how many of them have competed in any endurance sport during their lifetime? And how many of those athletes have raced three disciplines nonstop in one day? Very, very few. Triathletes are a unique group.

It's cool to move efficiently—and fast—when you're the motor. The uninitiated are either in awe, or just don't get it. Describing the satisfaction of tuning our bodies and minds through endurance sports is a challenge; sometimes it's just easier keep moving and teach by example.

How fortunate are we to have the health and leisure to participate with workout time 100% dedicated to ourselves? We're also fortunate to have the support of our significant others, kids, and friends that wait for us to get back after workouts. And then we drag our 'support crew' to races—have you ever watched an Ironman from start to finish? It's inspiring, but a very long day.

Our events are in fabulous sunny locations (OK, usually); parks with pristine lakes; beautiful beaches with clear ocean swims. They close the race venue for the morning so we can safely participate in our event like kids on a playground. Sometimes they even shut down the roads so we can crank through the streets like Formula 1 drivers—with a few less horsepower. Show appreciation to the race hard-working organizers, even if they did charge a bit too much for entry :) Thank the volunteers.

We get to spend the day in skimpy Lycra: hard bodies, average bodies, even some large bodies, but no one judges on race day.

You may not be the most genetically talented; you may not have been a world class athlete in your youth, but you've trained for three disciplines anyway. Maybe you're not fast enough to be competitive in your chosen sport, but if you can get pretty good at three there's a shot at placing among your peers. You’re brave enough to start the swim among a mass of flailing arms and legs, hammer on the bike with burning quads, then start the run with miles of racing already in your legs. Triathlon is about self-actualization, finding your potential.

So when you get to a race, honor the spirit of the event by putting in your best effort. Compete yes, but only against yourself. Compare your race day effort to the less fit, less experienced, less prepared you. And if the day doesn't go as well as you’d like, take satisfaction in the effort and dedication that prepared you. Sometimes effort measures success better than results.

And if you win, enjoy your 15-minutes of fame. Acknowledge your adoring fans; be courteous with the press and humble during your victory speech! :) You may not always be in this position, so savor the moment and collect your memories.

Enjoy the day and take in the experience. Not just the competition, but the positive energy of the event. When you look back years later, your place on the results page will matter less than the feel of the experience and the pride gained by daring to participate.

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