I bailed on that triathlon in June.
I would be (mostly) reluctant to say that I feel any regret in bailing on that race, but occasionally I do let my mind wander over to an alternative reality where I hadn’t let all the mitigating factors blur into an excuse to ignore the seventeen email reminders to drive down to Red Deer and pick up my race package. Sometimes you just don’t feel it. Sometimes you gotta bail.
Arguably, I’ve learned over the last year that it is possible to be standing at a start line for the wrong reasons. Blind goal setting to hit some abstract race quota. Routines and just because. Peer pressure.
Peer pressure is a big one.
Part of me will, albeit cautiously, admit that I might have been aiming, gunning, daring to complete another triathlon because of peer pressure. While there was no one else who actually signed up to race that one with me, there was a need — a want — to signal a kind of ellusory dedication to a new sport in a vague effort to recapture a moment in time when I had completed my first. My first triathlon was epic and a dozen friends came out to watch and cheer and make it into one of those keystone memories in my humble career. The summer previous, the June exactly one year prior in fact, a couple of us had chased a whim and did the training and (can you dry run a swimming course?) dry ran the course. It was new and fresh and felt good. And there it was: a lingering bit of that feeling, the peer connection, the peer jubilation, the peer excitement — pressure — and precisely none of that materialized the second time round. My training fell of for the lack of it. My confidence set up a few mental boobie traps. My inclination was towards excuse.
So I bailed.
To be fair (to myself, mostly) I was having some issues in the pool. Yes, I could have handled the run confidently. Yes, I’d been putting in the klicks on the bike. But that water! The water was haunting my dreams in the weeks leading up to the day. It was an easy excuse to find.
That weekend, I volunteered as a bike course marshall for a local triathlon instead. It was the same race that I hadn’t bailed on the year before, and now I was standing beside a pylon in a penny waving cyclists around a sharp turn at pace, and losing my voice for all the cheering. It was a good compromise (also linked to some peer pressure) and life went on as summer hit full speed.