I was participating in my second Sprint Triathlon. I felt better prepared and more confident. Nobody chased me during the swim but I felt stronger than last time and was excited to move on to the bike. Coming out of the transition area, my bike felt really wobbly. Turns out my back tire was completely deflated. Extra surprising as the tire was new and full when I left the house.
I pulled to the side, grabbed my Co2 out of the bag but it was dead. I was crushed about having to give up. Then I remembered I had packed a pump in the car. Fortunately, I saw my wife who had the keys. Running as fast as I could on bike shoes, we got to the car, grabbed the pump and got the tire re-inflated. The time for all this was about 15 minutes.
Once I got back on the road, I saw speedy bikers coming in and faster folks starting their run. It was demoralizing knowing how far behind I was. But I had come to do this and decided there I was not quitting. I pushed myself hard on the bike and even passed a few riders. Once I hit the run, my legs felt like jelly - maybe because of the extra work with the tire and pushing hard on the bike - but I muddled through. Once I finished I felt prouder than my first triathlon. If it hadn’t been for my mishap, I would have shown an improvement. And I kept with it even knowing how far behind I was...
While I could have taken a pass on the whole bike mishap, I took away some lessons that are applicable to my experience here, as well as any challenging situation:
There’s joy in doing what you love no matter the outcome: All of the above falls under the category of a very “first-world” problem. There are far bigger challenges we face that have much to teach us. That being said, I’ve come to love training for these events. As someone born with congenital heart disease, I consider myself blessed that I can participate in endurance events. Beyond health benefits, they connect me with a community of wonderful and supportive people like my coach and the team I train with. While I was disappointed my numbers weren’t better, I’m grateful that after a childhood where sports were out of the question, now I get to do this stuff.
Every situation can be a learning experience: As I mentioned, I would have gladly taken an improved time. But short of that, I walked away with several lessons and best practices I’ll follow. Bring an extra bike (if you have one) - now I understand why people come with multiple bikes on their rack! That ties into the old scouting motto of “Always be prepared” - that applies with almost anything you do in work and life. I’ll give myself some credit there as I had the Co2 and the backup pump on the premises. And finally the biggie of them all….
(Almost) Never Quit! Fairly self-explanatory. Whether it’s work, your personal life or whatever, finishing what you started always feels better - no matter what. Quitting hurts. There are only two caveats I can think of where quitting is appropriate 1) you could harm yourself or 2) where you could injure others. Other than that, you can rarely lose by going for it...