What if you had a real problem?
A phrase that was said to me often through my childhood when I was acting particularly teenage-white girl, throwing a fit about something most kids would be thankful for. It never really hit home to me, because the ‘problems’ that I had seemed incredibly real to me.
Fast forward a few years: I’m learning what real problems are and what I can do about them.
I have this quota for the number of times I allow myself to cry in a year. I don’t believe that crying solves anything and in all honesty I’m usually void of emotion. This past Thursday however, I cried twice: once because I was feeling sorry for myself and again because I got some perspective that really hit home.
Two days prior I had fallen ill to the point of a hospital visit, and on Thursday I realized I would not be well enough to compete at Muncie 70.3, where I was supposed to punch my ticket to the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. This hiccup, on top of the earlier stress fracture and separated shoulder caused me to lose about a third of my marbles. I knew it was in the interest of my long-term health to scratch, but I was so pissed at my body for holding me back.
The slew of negative thoughts repeated in my head all morning. Woe is me, I’m a failure, my life sucks, I’ll never be any good, the world is out to get me, my body hates me, etc etc.
A few hours later, I was listening to a man from The Food Bank speak regarding their Buddy Pack program and it’s impact on the community.
For those of you who do not know, the Buddy Pack program provides food on weekends to school-aged children who would otherwise have no secure source of food.
A first grader from Fulton was recently enrolled in the program. She rides the bus to and from school but is very shy and usually never speaks. On the Friday afternoon that she received her very first Buddy Pack, she ran up the bus steps and exclaimed to her driver “Look! I get to eat this weekend!”
Cue water works.
There I was, in my feelings about not being able to participate in a semi-frivolous hobby, meanwhile there’s a little girl who is over the moon about getting a back pack of food to get her through the weekend.
Ok, I understand that is not the typical anecdote for a motivating article, but let me explain how I’m applying what I learned on Thursday to the multisport scheme:
I don’t really remember what it’s like to be a newbie. I grew up around the sport, I’ve been doing it for a while, and even the atmosphere of Ironman race morning isn’t going to phase me from focusing on my race plan. That does not however mean that I don’t get worked up about stuff. Race wheels, aero bars, aero helmet, top-line shoes, speed skin, wetsuits, and all the other expensive gear I have that I don’t think twice about having, can cause pre-race anxiety if everything isn’t just perfect. Then there’s the size of the sighting buoys, which tint of goggles for the partly cloudy start, the bike and run profile, the wind, and the heat are factors we could choose to complain about.
But what about the girl racked next to you with a mountain bike, racing in a bathing suit and running the same shoes she goes to work in? Yeah, it’s her first race and her first open water swim, she doesn’t have a race belt and you’re complaining because you ran out of tri-berry and are stuck with lemon-lime gels? Somethings not right there.
So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to make a point to talk to the people who look like they could use a little reassurance race-morning because I imagine that walking into transition for the first time ever probably makes you feel like a turd in a punch bowl. Maybe they need to borrow my pump or have some vaseline, maybe they just need to hear “Forget everything, just get out there and have a frickin’ blast.”
CMC has an interesting mix of experience levels and I believe that we can all benefit from those who are more experienced in one field shining some encouragement onto those who are in the beginning stage. At first glance, maybe some of us appear a little intimidating (I mean seriously has my brother ever passed you on his bike?) but when it all boils down, we’re all there for the same purpose: race hard and have fun.