Oh, Jessie Spano. At least you were excited about going on stage. Now that there’s only a week between me and my first Olympic distance triathlon, all I feel is this:
That’s right. Ambivalence at best, sheer terror at worst. And no one seems to understand! People keep telling me that I should have no fear, or that I’m going to have fun, but I am so hesitant about it that I won’t even commit to making birthday plans because it feels presumptuous to assume that I will see it! News of a fellow triathlete’s death at a race yesterday simply serves to justify my fear. Seriously. What. Am. I. Doing.
But this feeling is not new for me. You see, I was a music major. A music performance major. Which, is like, exactly the same as being a triathlete. From the extreme talent of some to the extreme egos of others. Hours upon hours of training for one event for which you can never be totally sure you’ve sufficiently prepared yourself. Where people, either as a result of ignorance, insecurity, or sheer jealousy, say things as you’re preparing that make you wonder why you are bothering – if you’re not grounded properly, that is. Where people watch and comment upon your performance and give feedback, solicited or not. Conversely, there are those who say how awesome it is going to be whom I tend to simply look at as though they have two heads. Or one really ugly one. I’ll give triathlon this – I am significantly less nervous going on stage now because I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I’ll make it through the performance alive, even if it goes poorly. Can’t say that when I’m on the beach.
So, I’m thinking, okay, self. Why the hell ARE you doing this? It’s not like college or graduate school where your career is depending on it. I could quit and in the grand scheme of things it wouldn’t be life-changing.
Or would it?
I have a choice before me. At 8:13 AM next Sunday, I can be quivering on the beach or comfortable in my bed. I know how I’m going to feel on that coastline. It’s not going to be nice. But the bed would be worse. I would be wondering what it would be like fighting big ass waves. I would wonder what the shore looked like as I passed the final buoy. I would wonder how tired I would be after T2 after managing not to fall off of my bike. And I would definitely wonder how awesome it would feel to cross the finish line after my longest race to date. I can’t live with that wondering, man.
So yeah. I’m scared as hell! Brave enough to show up anyway! My taper (lowering my training levels) was started a bit early due to the lovely hugs and germs of my students, but hey, life happens. Just like those fabulous college days, I’m reflecting on the past few months of my life wondering if I could have done more. The answer is the same as it was then – of course! Here’s hoping that I am on the brave side of the line between courageous athlete/complete idiot.
Last thought – you know what mess people need to stop right now? Saying that something someone else finds awful wasn’t really that bad. I forbid it in my classroom (when that kid who isn’t usually that bright comments how easy something is when someone else is struggling) and I wish I had the power to do so in real life. It serves no other purpose than to inflate the ego of the person reacting. If you see someone struggling with something, how about helping him/her change their perspective OR sharing the knowledge that you have without your personal assessment of its difficulty level? Until this happens, fellow scaredy-cats – remember that the number one cause of jackass behavior is insecurity. Surround yourself with uplifting people who will remind you why you keep signing up for all this foolishness.