Over the past week, USA Triathlon has been sending out 2015 All American certificates to those who finished in the top 10% of their age group.
I got one too, for finishing 54th in my age group (45-49) out of the 1908 athletes who had completed 3 or more triathlons. This was my sixth year in a row receiving recognition. I dipped my toe into the sport with a single race in 2009, then dove in fully in 2010.
To me these certificates represent six years of challenges overcome:
- daily challenges to make the time to train
- challenges to balance training with work/life/family
- physical challenges (2 broken fibulas, drop foot, TLF injury, IT band, posterior tibialis tendonitis, iliac artery surgery and all the other little things that pop up)
- motivational challenges
Of course, it does not come without ample rewards - of the good feelings of movement, the excuse to get outside, and the wonderful community of endurance athletes.
The challenge facing me this year feels a little different. Racing takes a lot of positive emotional energy, desire, hunger, and focus. I'm not feeling very strong in those areas right now. There's been more "going through the motions" these days than I'd like. But that's OK. This is part of the journey. Life is echoed in sport.
Coach Jim reassures me that my workouts are just fine. Swim speeds, power numbers, pace:heart rate - the data confirm that.
This time it's my spirit that will need to find its way through. The best fuel for that is gratitude, perspective, and happiness.