Willing to Fail
Several weeks back, I sat down with the Yogi Triathlete team (aka Jess and BJ) for a little podcast action when they passed through Asheville on their cross-country trek across the US. Isn't it funny how telling your story out loud allows you to process reality in a way that just observing yourself doesn't necessarily facilitate? Jess and BJ asked the most amazing questions and also made some startling insights where I just kind of turned inside and asked myself, whoa... how did I not even realize that?
One of the things that came out of that conversation was the topic of being willing to fail. I had a longer rambling post written out in my mind (partially composed on my 123-mile birthday bike adventure last week) but wanted to jot out a few quick thoughts as I sit here in my hotel room in my Normatec recovery boots, waiting for my bike to dry so I can lube it up for Augusta 70.3 tomorrow—I'll need every ounce of help I can get.
Confession: I'm in no way ready for this race.
It was shockingly evident this afternoon as I sat among two dozen other female pro triathletes, many of whom appeared very confident in their questions about the race and course, all seemingly making the assumption that they would be vying for the top podium spots. Meanwhile, around the time some girl asked the run course director to "pretend you're a runner and can you trace out the run route with your finger?" and I found myself zoning out to a tattooed set of Olympic rings, I realized I felt like a fourth grader applying to grad school, completely out of place.
I'm taking the plunge tomorrow regardless, and I'm signed up for a handful of other races in October and November that I'm going to take the gamble on and see whether it pays off. After the crash, subsequent dog bite, three weeks of the flu and one saving-grace round of antibiotics later, I could have hung up my sneakers and instead opted for a fall full of gran fondos and working on my swim stroke. But instead, I'm going to go get my teeth kicked in by a bunch of fast chicks and probably a handful of age groupers.
But maybe the biggest takeaway I have from this season is that you learn more when you fail than when you succeed. From my personal experience, I also get a little hungrier from being kicked down in the gutter versus riding high. It's a big part of the reason why I ultimately decided to take my pro card: you'll get better quicker if your weaknesses are more readily exposed.
Yes, this is going to be painful and at times discouraging but good to know it's not that my world is coming crashing down but rather that I'm going through something to get to something.
So this weekend, I'm going to go out there and do my best job at failing the very best that I can. And hopefully learn a few things in the process. I have a feeling there's something beautiful and magical and thrilling on the other side.
Oh, yeah, and you can track me here tomorrow. #28 <3