As a triathlete I compete of course. However I don’t compete with others; I compete with myself. I always have.
When I started competing in triathlons I was just trying to get into the sport. My goal was to earn that “Finisher’s” medal which is given to each athlete who crosses the finish line. That’s it. If I do this then I win. And with every race so far, I’ve done this. I have a successful track record of finishing sprint, olympic and half Ironman distance races.
After losing Noah another competitive side emerged. I’m competing against my old self. I’m competing against the confusion, emptiness and sadness I have from losing my son. Yes I’m competing against the bitterness and anger I still have as well. I’m competing against the mornings when I don’t want to get out of bed. I’m competing against the pain and challenges Noah experienced during his way-too-short-of-a-life. I’m competing against all of those cardiac arrests. I’m competing against the screaming-in-your-face-reality that life is not fair.
And now I’m sensing a third competitive side developing. As I’ve focused on improving speed during my training for Nationals, I’ve been thinking a lot about what this actually means to me. How much more can I improve? How much faster can I go? How much deeper can I dig? How much more can I take on?
What is this?
I’ve been reviewing my past race results. Hoping to PR is a great goal but it’s rather ambiguous. Am I trying to shave 10 seconds, one minute or even more off my time? Also, each race is different, even if the distance is the same. The terrain is different. The climate is different. Even the logistics can be different. Then what sort of PR should I aim for?
Before my last race, California Sprint Triathlon, (which I raced two weekends ago as a warm up for Nationals), I looked up the 2011 results. Over the past month or so I’ve also been studying the top 10 age groupers‘ splits from last year’s National Championship.
I’m beginning to think the real questions to ask AND answer are along the lines of: How can I improve my rankings with each race? How much time do I need to shave off to finish in the top 10, 5 or even 3 within my age group? Am I no longer competing with just myself?