Why do I wake up at 4:30 a.m., run around in a Speedo in 40 degree weather, and jump into a miserably cold pool to swim countless laps before the rest of the world is still in the R.E.M. segment of their sleep?  What is the world would motivate me to do this?    I’ll tell you in one word, failure.  I do not like to lose.  I do not like coming in second, third, fourth, or last.  It pains me to see another athlete finishing ahead of me.  I LOVE the feeling of victory!  I want that feeling on a regular basis. 

What got me thinking about this topic is the book, Open, by Andre Agassi.  It is an awesome book, but one of his recollections really stuck with me and related to my current situation.  He talks about when he was a young lad competing at the National Championships.  Andre loses and takes fourth place.  He immediately goes into his father’s car and sulks.  He thinks to himself that he hates tennis and never wants to play again.  At that moment a stranger named Rudy walks up to him.  Andre tells Rudy he hates tennis.  Rudy reminds Andre of how much Andre loves tennis.  Rudy tells him, give it time, get over this feeling of hate, but remember it.  Use it to drive you to succeed, and to train harder.  This is the feeling you need to make you the best.  Without the absolute hate of losing, you will never know what it takes to win.

I can really relate to Andre’s experience.  I did not have a good rookie season as a professional triathlete.  Success came to me quickly in the sport of triathlon, but my inexperience definitely caught up to me this season.  Although I faltered at many races, I do not accept failure.  I, like Andre, hated triathlon, but after a few days of hate, my love for the sport and drive to succeed kicked in.  Sure, getting out there to compete is great.  I love the challenge and seeing all of the other athletes out there pushing their bodies, but I have always been one who pushes and tests his limits.  Average has never been enough for me.  I am not happy with an age group victory because I know I am capable of the overall victory.  I know I have the athletic skill on par with the best triathletes in the world.  Sure, I could have stayed an amateur for another year while I matured, but I would not be content with that.  I would know to myself that I was settling.  And isn’t that why we do this sport, ultimately, for ourselves?  We do it to be happy, what ever your definition of happy may be.  My definition of happy is winning at the highest level or “die” trying. 

I know what it feels like to lose.  I know what it feels like to see Chris Lieto or Joe Gambles running into the finishers’ chute, while I still have over half of the run to go.  But, I also know what it feels like to win.  I know the jubilation, the publicity, and the pride associated with it.  Let me tell you, I want that feeling on a regular basis.

I will keep waking up early, training late, and giving up the rest of my life until I achieve my goals.  I have never given up on anything throughout the course of my life.  The other morning, at 4:30 a.m. Cortney said, “We are crazy for doing this!”  She was right.  We are crazy, but I would rather be crazy and driven rather than lazy and hidden.  I will never accept failure.  RACE HARD!


1 Comment

  1. Crazy and drive, I love it!! Keep on pushing!

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