I will not apologize for being who I am to anybody and part of being who I am is being competitive. And I am not talking about just sports, but I am also not talking about racing against others. I am speaking about being competitive about beating myself. I get up each and every morning ready to train and create a better athlete than I was when I went to bed the night before.
In the past month I have been called a masochist and crazy amongst all the other terms because I enjoy the Ironman distance. I enjoy swimming for miles on end, and riding my bike for 4-6 hours and follow that up with a 5 mile run. To me this is fun and to me this is the competitor in me coming out. I don’t want to do just one Ironman I want to do dozens of them and I want to keep pushing my limits. The envelope I own has no limits.
I have faced my fear of swimming in the open water to the point that if I don’t swim a sub 35 minute mile I am not happy. I wonder what happened and I try to better myself during my next training sessions in the pool and out in the open water. I enjoy getting out there when the sun is still hitting the snooze button and feeling so refreshed when my training is done.
A couple of weeks ago I was watching an interview with Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski when he was asked about LeBron James winning the NBA Championship with the Miami Heat earlier this year. His response hit me like a ton of bricks. He said that the Championship will do one of two things:
- It will light the bonfire that will push him to win more championships.
- It will extinguish the fire that he had to win one championship.
I thought about this for a long time and thought about how people told me I would be exhausted and tired and burnt-out after my first Ironman. Did I feel this way and was I just going through the motions for Ironman Arizona? Was I tired of the training? How was I approaching this training cycle?
Then it hit me that I am Answer #1 and not #2. When I crossed that finish line there was gasoline poured onto my Ironman bonfire and that match was lit. I am not satisfied with having done just one. I want more and I have already planned out next year because this is my passion and I am competing with myself to get better and better. I have learned from my training cycle for IMTX and am applying those lessons to this cycle. Learning never ends but the smart move is applying those learnings to your actions so you can get the most out of yourself.
Will each race result in a PR? Of course not, and I am not dumb enough to think that, but what each race will do is teach me a lesson. A lesson that I am far more capable of accomplishing this distance than even I thought initially possible.
If you see me out there swimming, biking and running please challenge me. I may lose, and I may win but in the end I will be better than I was before I started and that is my competitive side.
Back in January of 2011 I wrote another blog post regarding being a competitor. The title was Is There A Competitor In You? and it captured my thoughts and ideas before completing the 140.6 distance. After having done an Ironman I can say not much has changed and if at all possible I am more competitive. How is that possible?
Do You Compete? Do You Have A Friendly Rivalry?