Thursday, April 23, 2009

It’s About Attitude

Many of you know that I just completed my first triathlon. I'm now part of an elite club. Less than 1% of the world's population ever completes a triathlon so no matter what my time or where I placed I'm a pretty special person, if I do say so myself.

I don't want to talk about me today though; I want to talk about a fellow competitor with whom I did the race. Her name is Jill. This was Jill's second triathlon and she was very excited about doing it. She had purchased a new bike, trained, and was ready for the first triathlon of the year. I know she was excited to be competing with our friend Kathy and me. Together they were going to "break me in" to the so called tri-world.

We had a great night picking up our race packets, looking at the huge pool that we would swim in, checking out the transition area and driving the 12.5 miles long bike course to get an idea of what to expect. Let me tell you, there are lots of hills in the Oxford, Ohio area!

We headed out to the race on Saturday morning and somehow we got lost along the way. Whilst trying to find our way, we stopped to ask for directions. At the same time I wanted to check out a strange noise I'd heard coming from the back of the van. We found that Jill's bike had fallen off the bike rack and was being dragged along the road for who knows how long. Her tire was shredded and rim thrashed. We knew at this point, that it was unlikely that her race would take place as planned.

I was sad for Jill, I was also sad for me because I felt I needed her to complete this race. I had no clue what I was doing. I was tempted to just back out.. I mean, it would have been an honorable gesture, right? Probably also cowardly , but you know, Jill wasn't upset at all. In fact, she just said, "you know, it was meant to be, but I'm still going to swim and run". So that is exactly what she did. She did the swim portion, waited for me to finish the bike ride and was at the transition for us to run our three miles together and for us to finish as friends and as a team.

Finding the positive in and learning from a negative experience are important parts of dealing with setbacks. The most important part of a setback is getting up and moving forward. Not letting that negative experience to permanently impede your forward movement.

An old Chinese proverb says: "Fall down seven times, get up eight times.." Its determination and attitude that will get us beyond the difficult walls that block us from our dreams.

My kudos go to Jill this week who didn't let a little bike wreck keep her from having a great time and completing a dream.