Monday, February 27, 2006

Be strong, be proud and most of all be you!

Tonight I attended a seminar by speaker, author and fellow New Mexico Outlaw Michael “Wiz” Giudicissi. In the seminar he discussed a few of the topics in his book “Changing Lives: Achieving Your Untapped Potential” and one of the things that jumped out at me was the idea of taking charge of your own destiny and implementing incremental change in your life in order to achieve your goals. To put it another way, take personal responsibility for yourself and your life and meet your goals, don’t just live life reacting to what comes your way. Living a reactionary life is not much of a problem in the world of triathlon; most people you meet are highly motivated, self-disciplined and self-starting. However, I have noticed a trend among Clydesdale and Athena athletes to react to age-groupers in a rather defensive manner with respect to their size. Always talking about weight loss, always maintaining the goal of “becoming an age grouper.”

Well, maybe this goal is in the cards and maybe it’s not. The fact of the matter is some people are just large. How healthy would Shaquille O’Neal be if he were to lose enough weight to not be classified a Clydesdale? Granted that is an extreme example but you get the drift. There are not many, but there are a few, triathletes who refer to Clydes and Athenas in mocking tones. I remember a race I was in last year where, during the awards ceremony, someone in the crowd near me said, “I missed my calling in life, I could have just sat around and eaten droughts and been a Clydesdale then I could have won something too” when they were handing out the Clydesdale and Athena awards. The #1 and #2 Clydes in that race were 25th and 27th overall and smoked many age groupers, entire age groups even. It was the 2005 Milkman Triathlon, look it up on CCR Timing. Just two weeks ago at the John Stermer Duathlon, I won the Clydesdale division, would have placed second in my age group and was 14th overall. Make no mistake, there are some hardcore, hard racing Clydes and Athenas out there; they qualify for Kona and the Boston Marathon(though they don't get to attend those events as such, at least not Kona, they must go as age groupers).

The point is, don’t strive to become something just because the attitude out there may be that age groupers are the only worthy triathletes. If you are heavy, train, eat healthy and see what happens. Whatever you do, don’t be intimidated by some twerp who derides your size, that is not in the true spirit of triathlon, at least not the sport I’ve come to love. It is also an attitude that is not shared by most triathletes I meet but is more often the attitude held by those who are either too lazy to get off their buts and run their own races or who have identities that are too fragile to brook any inconsistencies in their world view. I’m 6’2” and the chances are good that I will no longer qualify as a Clydesdale at some point in the future; at this point I weigh in at 212 and did indeed have weight that needed to come off. Still, I will have had my time in the sun, my time as a fast Clydesdale and I will be proud of it and proud of the brother and sisterhood I have enjoyed in the ranks of Clydes and Athenas.

So there you go, take charge of your own destiny and don’t just react to the world around you. Be strong, be proud and most of all be you! And for all you age groupers out there, if you think you hear a truck barreling down on you during a race, look out, it just might be me or one of my brethren coming to pay you a visit; we are getting faster baby ---- sweet dreams.

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