Just do it

In a couple of weeks I will be doing my first triathlon of the season, this will be number 52. I’ve been doing triathlons since 1985, try to do two a year. I tell you this not to impress you, but to encourage you. Look I don’t have to make a lot of space on my mantle for all my awards, frankly very little space. I have a nice collection of finisher medals and some other miscellaneous stuff. I did a 5K this past Saturday and I had my first experience of someone telling me I had to stay for the awards ceremony, which was cool. Upon further investigation, though, it was determined that I didn’t win anything, it was cool, but in 30 years I never even got that far, so I’ve got that going for me (to quote Bill Murray in “Caddy Shack”.) I have a big collection of t-shirts, but no “podium” awards.
I don’t say this to evoke some sort of sympathy or worse, “why the heck are you a loser and why do you keep doing this”? No, I do these because it’s a personal accomplishment, it’s a way to force myself to stay involved, to do something that’s good for me and also to see how much I can accomplish or at least maintain. Right now I’ve done races in 17 different states, this one coming up will be 18. In a way a personal accomplishment, but not something that’s going to show up on my “trophy” mantle.
It seems to me that too many people won’t attempt something because they don’t think they will do well, or even “horrors” embarrass themselves. It’s been my experience that if anything people really appreciate seeing people who are really trying are out there and I can’t remember there being anything but praise and encouragement. Having said that, I was on the seminary cross country team, mostly because they needed a fifth guy and someone to give us a “team”. I only ended up doing four races and for three of them it was a fun experience and I didn’t get any really feedback. Frankly that’s best for me, I’m here I’m supporting my team, that’s all that matters and that’s the way it went. We did compete in a city (St Louis) meet and it was the one time where I got kind of a hard time. I do not have a “cross-country runner’s physique”, which is what triathletes usually, derisively refer to as “running rib cage” physique. Triathletes, swim, bike and run, they have to have an over all developed physique and not just legs. Having said that an undergraduate team decided that I just didn’t belong there (my kids were older than they were) and who was I etc, etc. Now this is an obviously immature, narrow minded reaction from a bunch of little boys whose opinion didn’t really matter and I let them know as such (reminding them, they may be able to run faster than me, but that’s about it).
I say this not to discourage, but in thirty years of a variety of competitions in 99% of them I’ve been treated with respect, to the effect that “it’s great to see you out here, working at this, trying and good luck, have fun!” I have seen this at many places I’ve worked out; swimming pools, racquetball courts, weight rooms, aerobic centers, martial arts etc. People really do appreciate seeing others getting out, trying, putting in the effort. I’ve seen people genuinely want to help and offer pointers and happy to offer any help or advice.
In a couple of weeks I’m going to be standing on the edge of a beach wondering “what the heck am I doing here”. But shortly thereafter, I’m going to push the stop button on my watch and I’m going to have that feeling of accomplishment, that I’ve finished another one, in another state, maybe hit some personal goals and will be welcomed by the other finishers.
I understand, maybe you are not ready for something aggressive, but don’t let that stop you, set some aggressive goals and then figure out how to accomplish them. Many athletic clubs, YM/YWCAs offer personal trainers at pretty reasonable rates and if you show up and just ask the attendant, they are more than happy to get you started (most actually insist upon it). Think about what you’d like to do, get in a good routine, buy a good book, subscribe to a good magazine, set up a good plan, get a good diet down, start slow, and just keep working on it. It will be great, you will be great, you will feel better and you will enjoy the achievement. God bless and believe me, if I can help in any way shoot me a message, on WordPress or my e-mail is bm2driskell@aol.com

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