For a few brief moments on this morning's ride, I felt like an actual triathlete and not just a guy who trains a lot -- and not for any particular reason, either. I don't really consider myself a triathlete; I'm just a guy who likes a challenge and triathlon just happens to be the one that's caught my interest. I'm just a guy who can swim well, and ride a bike, and then grit through a slow run after.
Most of my energy during my college swimming career was focused on breaking the minute barrier in the 100-yard breaststroke - it's just one of those milestones you strive for, like, uhh... a runner striving to break three hours in a marathon. Anyway, I finally did it during prelims at our championship meet in '05. I was elated. I had done it! I could finally tell people, "I'm a 59-breaststroker!"
Not so fast. Coach pulled me aside and tempered his congratulations with this: "Once is a fluke. Do it again, and you've earned it."
I wrote a long post about my college swim coach once. I don't think I ever published it, but the gist of it was this: he didn't like me very much. But his dislike (or was it indifference?) is part of what motivated me to work harder. This is a prime example of that odd motivational technique. Maybe he was just trying to psyche me up to repeat my performance during the evening's second session, or maybe he was just being a jerk. Either way, I took it to heart.
Anyone can do a thing once. Repeat, and you're legitimate.