Monday, February 27, 2012

struggling with success vs. failure

I'm not going to lie. I struggle with taking a break from triathlon, from walking away from the sport I've trained for and raced in the past 12 years, to not miss it and to not wish I was healthy and swim/bike/running again.

It really is a love-hate relationship. You forget the bad times, you forget why you "broke up" in the first place. You only think of the good times. AUGH!

To my faithful readers, thanks for the comments, Tweets, notes and texts telling me I'm not DELETED or forgotten. Then there was the Blogger Dashboard who starkly pointed this out:

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Not too shabby considering I only started up this blog at the end of June?

I struggle with feeling like a success or failure. In some ways, I feel that I failed in triathlon because I pretty much retired. I have to keep remember who I was before teamTBB--a mediocre age grouper who had done 4 Ironmans in rather unspectacular times with no trajectory of improvement. My times were 13:10, 13:50, 12:08, and 13:06.

Average time over first 4 Ironmans? 13:03.

I am not a failure.

As part of the moving on process, I ordered an 8x10 print of my fastest Ironman finish:

It really wasn't my best race ever, but it was still my fastest.

I know there are those of you who are like "Duh. If you feel so bad not doing it, you can always go back to triathlon." I think that too...

Then I remember all the reasons I don't want to be a pro triathlete any more. Or even race age group.

There were a couple of Theodore Roosevelt quotes random friends sent me after I declared my intent to stop triathloning. Similar but slightly different:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

I dared mighty things. I won glorious triumphs. I stumbled, and some would say my triathlon career was checkered by failures. But I shall never be a cold and timid soul, I shall never live in that gray twilight. And I shall continue to dare mighty things.

I just wish I could stop feeling like a failure sometimes, or at least accept that I failed in some ways but that overall...I won.


  1. It's a tough one, but never think of being a failure!! everything you've done and been though has brought you to today and it seems like there's lots going for you!

    You might miss triathlons as you might miss the days when of university or last year's great birthday party, or even last night's date, etc its easy to miss all the good stuff and forget the bad ones like you said. So, if you're happy now, just enjoy it and you'll find or make exciting adventures if that's what you want ... they'll just be different ones. Plus, you can always go back into tris. I say if it'll make you happier go for it, but if not or there's some doubt don't bother and stay happy! It'll always be there.

    Anyways, just a thought :) It isn't an easy one that's for sure!! Just have fun!

    1. Hi Martina! Thanks so much for this message. Been meaning to write back--saw that you tried new sports as well, lol. Yes, I am happier without tris at the moment, I just get stuck in that rut of missing it sometimes. I'll think of it as missing...high school. Remember the good but man, there were pretty awful moments too!!!