My son has a friend who wins. I mean he wins every event, every time. He’s won the baseball league championship, the soccer club championship, the regional football championship, the local basketball championship and he holds the middle school record in four track and field events.
Baring a victory in the Pinewood derby (using a car that my dad had built), I’ve won nothing.
I’d estimate that I’ve entered nearly one hundred competitions over the past twenty seven years: 5K’s 10K’s, 20K’s, half marathons, marathons, trail runs, ultra races, sprint triathlons, Olympic distance triathlons, half Ironman races, two full Ironman races, bicycle centuries, even a double century. I’ve never come close to winning even one of these races. I’ve always been a participant, never a competitor.
I entered my first two cycling road races with the same participant attitude and I quickly realized that just being there for the scenery wasn’t going to work. Unlike marathons and Ironman competitions where so-called victory is in finishing a cycling road race is a true race, either you are a racer or you’re an obstacle; there isn’t any place for “participants.”
I’m finding that this is not an easy adjustment.