the joys of progress, the agonies of competition & the wisdom of fortune cookies

as gered said, team [pretty] awesome started its season on sunday. it's been an exciting fall, winter and spring of training to prepare for racing season. last year, when TA was still brewing in the back of our noggins, we trained on a whim. sure we worked hard, but only really when we felt like it. plus we really had no idea what we were doing. this year we finally got smart and started working with the brilliant will kirousis of tri-hard endurance coaching. we've trained consistently, and with a plan - so you can imagine that i think we both had pretty high hopes for the level of progress that we would see.

i have to agree with gered. to say that we are pretty awesome at this point is an accurate reflection of our performance this weekend. i think we're still working on the notion that "we rule" as are team description so boldly declares. remember when you were a kid on whatever kind of sports team? remember the trophies. remember how the kid that got most improved was never actually the best kid on the team? well that's us right now. from this race last year, i dropped about six and a half minutes, and i'd say that if gered competed in this race last year, he would have dropped somewhere around 18 frickin' minutes (yeah - he wins most improved). and as the most improved kids we've definitely got to be happy with how we did. progress is good, and this was good progress.

so why is it that gered and i just couldn't walk away from this race 100% satisfied with our performances? i guess it's because neither of us actually pulled off numero uno or even the ubiquitous numero dos (i'm actually not sure what ubiquitous means but i'll look it up after i finish this entry - as you might have guessed i'm not so much... you know... with the words). in fact, my first place finish in 2 hours and nearly 14 minutes was practically pedestrian this year. had i not improved six and half minutes on last year, that same time would have put my way back in 18th! and i've got to be pleased with my return to the podium, even if it was at the bottom (third). the agonizing part was seeing that i finished with the 15th fastest bike, and 26th fastest run on the day. (you ask - "how on earth did he finish 3rd overall with such poor bike and run positions?" - i answer - "yes, i'm just that fast in the water")

it's funny though, how God talks to me... this time - in a fortune cookie of all places. i got this fortune from my fortune cookie yesterday afternoon: "you're a perfectionist. don't spoil it." i am not a perfectionist - trust me, but i got the message. in comparison to last year - 
  • i dropped 1:22 in the swim,
  • i dropped 1:43 in the bike, and 
  • i dropped 3:20 in the run (despite only starting to run about 7 weeks ago!).
  • gered dropped a little over 6 minutes from his first to his second open water swim, and
  • he dropped about 4 minutes from last years 10km run time.
so i guess i have to ask, what the heck are we so whinny about?!? in fact, i think our whinning only detracts further from our awesomeness. had we not gotten over the minor fact that we didn't get little particle-board plaques that say first and second place - i think someone would have needed to demote us from pretty awesome to kinda awesome (which isn't really awesome at all). fortunately i think we both got our acts together - and we're moving on - ready to take on the health net triathlon this saturday! so for the record, we stand firm at "pretty awesome" until saturday morning at around 9:30 or so.

if anyone actually reads this and is looking for some sort of lesson of wisdom (i am rather wisdomous) to take away from this fantastic waste of time, i think it's actually a pretty important one, that i still have yet to master. you've gotta get over what you can't control. if you see progress with what you can control - celebrate it! there's no reason to get down on yourself. if you fail to make progress with that which you can control... well then you better stop whining and get your butt in gear. either way - no whining allowed.

team pretty awesome (enter classic muscle shot.)