Two weeks ago I was so ready and jacked to race that I was about to tear someone’s head off. Then I was in a hole for a week and now I’m at the teary part of being ready to go. Basically anything about people overcoming stuff is making me cry. This story made me cry a little. This one definitely made me a little wet-eyed on the ferry home from work. Even the University of Phoenix commercial got me choked up — though, in all fairness, it’s a very good commercial.
I suppose I’m ready for Galveston 70.3 on Sunday. I don’t know. I don’t know that it really matters how I feel either. I’ve been training a lot, so it’s probably time to see if what I’ve been doing for the last six months (since Wisconsin) holds up.
We’re weird about how we view talent and ability and performance. We tend to overvalue prodigy. We love the stories of how someone was soooooo good right away, without even trying. We love the blank possibility in that. We think, then, when someone gets better it’s just because they worked harder than everyone else. But none of that is really how it works. The part of The Sports Gene that I read made the fair point that how good someone is at the start and how much someone improves from training are two very different genetic traits, neither of which necessarily predicts how good they will be at the end.
I’m the fittest I’ve ever been in my life. I know that. Steve and Hillary know it. I don’t know how good that is exactly. But I know it didn’t happen overnight. It’s the end result of years of playing soccer and running in high school and getting into triathlon in college and learning to ride a bike but having no endurance and racing elite for two years, because why not, even as I worked 60-hour weeks and having injury after injury and learning to deal with all that and quitting from burnout for another few years and building up a different base of random endurance and strength — yes, Crossfit and obstacle course races and marathons and open water relays — and deciding to do an Ironman just to see what it was like but not being ready to get back into the sport and then having fun again with The Kids last year. All of that, every little bit of it, made me ready this past summer for what I considered “the pilot project.” The ‘what would happen if I went all in, if I tried my hardest, if triathlon was what I did and I really did it as good as I could’ test project.
I wouldn’t have been ready for the training Hillary gives me before now, and I wouldn’t have been ready to give it my all until now.
Part of the deal I made with myself coming back to triathlon was that I was doing it my way, which means not being all triathlete about it and not being so worried about what everyone else thinks. That means, in classic fashion, getting to Galveston was a bit of a mess, because all things always are with me before races. When my bike didn’t show up at the baggage claim for an hour or so, I literally just thought, ‘Yeah, sounds about right.’ I already had a Plan B by the time it eventually came. And at least I didn’t forget a passport or have a car breakdown this time. (I also just finally thought all the way through my schedule and flight back, and realized I have about two hours between when I should finish and when I have to leave for the airport. So, packing the bike in the transition parking lot it is.)
We’ll see what happens this Sunday. It may go well; it may not. I’m not excited about the wind and I’m not excited about the humidity and I’m not excited about the waves of drafters behind me, since I’m in the first age group wave. Whatever happens, though, I’m excited to finally get out there and see what happens.