Excuses: Are they Driving You?
In September 2012, I competed in my first Ironman triathlon since having breast cancer. Just being there that day was a victory in itself, yet I had big goals for the day. It wasn’t going to be enough to simply participate. I wanted to be faster than my other attempts at this distance. All of us Ironman athletes do!
Many people I know were surprised I was doing an Ironman “so soon.” Though they didn’t know health status, they wanted me to recover longer. To stay down, because Ironman is really hard. Why did I need to do one now? How did you do in your training? Their caring but worried comments were really excuses that I could choose to latch onto or choose to ignore. They were giving me an out. I didn’t want an out; I wanted to own this day!
Leading up to this day, everything had gone well. I had no excuses to give anything but my best. Since cancer took away my attempt at Ironman Wisconsin in 2011, my theory was that I had two very long years to train for this blessed event. I was ready!
It was windy, but the greater problem was a long series of small mistakes I made throughout the day. I won’t get into them here, but in Ironman, these little mistakes organize together and bite you. Hard. You won’t know what hit you. That was me. Although I finished the day and had a smile on my face, I was very disappointed. It was my slowest race yet!
The same people who worried about me before the race were now cutting me slack, telling me not to be so hard on myself. I did, after all, just have cancer. They were making excuses for me because they cared. And, cancer scared them. I wanted to tell them that the mistakes I made had nothing to do with surviving cancer, but it was no use trying to change their minds.
Though I am proud of my third ironman finish, there are no excuses for the outcome. Choosing the road of excuses doesn’t lead to anything except more excuses. Choosing the road of ownership, of accountability, will always lead to growth