Triathlon is really Greek for...

author : tripastor
comments : 2

Triathlon serves up many humbling moments. The most humbling of days came not during a race day but by email. I had been invited to participate in the Rambling Rose Women’s Only Triathlon. Wow.

Triathlon is really Greek for “humble you.”

Is it just me, or does it seem like the sport to which we are drawn entices us to play, only to stand back and laugh while we do? Granted, we certainly enjoy some success along the way and we are cultivating a lifestyle that will propel us into good physical health. My question, though, is, “Are we improving our physical health at the cost of forever damaging our fragile ego?” Unfortunately, I am the visual aid for such a conclusion.

After several weeks of training for the first ever Valdese Triathlon, I anticipated a solid performance. On race day, I was never more ready. Carbo loading? Check. Hydration? Check. Fitness? Check. Toilet paper and Imodium? What? Apparently while carbo loading, you can ingest way too much fiber and wreak havoc on your digestive tract. Okay go ahead and laugh Madame Tri, but I’m not too proud to knock on a door during a race.

Fast forward to the present.  Despite the relatively slow time I approached the newly moved finish chute of IMFL with pride while a sense of accomplishment coursed through my body. Scooping up my four-year-old and my one-year-old, I crossed the line to the cheers of the crowd. After refueling and catching my breath in the finish area, I saw her. Actually, I saw the highly engineered prosthesis where her leg once was. Once I reunited with my wife, I asked if she had seen the young lady too. Her humbling reply, “Oh, yeah, she finished about thirty minutes ahead of you.” Hmm. Madame Tri, you are a cruel mistress.

But, the most humbling of days came not during a race day, but as I opened my email at the office this morning while sitting gingerly at my desk recovering from a very sore lower back. The first message was an invitation to participate in an upcoming race sponsored by a local tri magazine. Since I could barely walk upright, my right index finger hovered over the delete button until I saw the race title. I had been invited to participate in the Rambling Rose Women’s Only Triathlon. Wow, I may not hang with the tri studs (or maybe even the tri duds for that matter), and I’m not exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger, but a women’s only tri? Wow. To add insult to injury, later that same day, I received a password for an online coaching account and it had the word “tiny” in it. Madame Tri, I am considering giving the you middle name “Why?”.

Hoping I am not alone in being humbled by the great sport of triathlon, I would ask again, “Why do we submit ourselves to this?” Perhaps deep down, we all recognize the value of a good dose of humility. Perhaps we hope to beat the odds and miss out on the humility lesson. Perhaps we forget the whole lesson of humility altogether when our children tell the waitress that their daddy is an Ironman. So, Madame Tri, bring it on, I’m not too proud to fail. Besides, I’ve just called the guys on the flag football team to let them know I’ll be on the injured reserve a while nursing my sore back. Apparently Madame Tri has a lover named Sir Flag Football.


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date: September 10, 2007