I arrived at the Kona Ironman HQ office for the mandatory athlete check-in two weeks prior to the actual World Championship Triathlon in October of 1993.
I was greeted by a nice enough fellow that quickly asked me; “What division are you in?”
To which I replied “I don’t know”.
I couldn’t help but notice that he scanned me from head to toe. I have to confess it was a little disconcerting having him gawk at my clean shaven legs.He quickly asked “How much do you weigh?”
To which I responded “240 pounds” With a snicker on his face he said; “Oh, you’re a CLYDESDALE!”
It is important to understand….
The Hawaii Ironman Triathlon is recognized as the pinnacle of all Ironman races in the world. A race reserved for the best of the best. It is a race intended for THROUGHBREDS and here I was a freaking CLYDESDALE!
For me, being a “CLYDESDALE” was kind of like the Ironman’s way of saying; “YOU DON’T BELONG HERE” in a nice sort of way.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. What he said was, “You’re a Clydesdale”. What I heard was…
”YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH!” …I wanted to quit. I wanted to go home, but I didn’t.
How familiar I was with that feeling of not being good enough. A feeling first introduced to me by my third grade teacher at Cherry Brook School eons before.
Once again it was not so much by what she said as much as what I heard.
YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
I have come to understand that each of us has our own version of not being “good enough”. It might be delivered to us in the form of other words like not being “young, pretty, fast, smart, slim, educated, experienced or whatever” enough.
It is not a question on whether that feeling will come to each of us; the question is what we will do when it does. It’s can be a scary time and place.
I have come to understand one thing in life. We can back down at those times we don’t feel that we belong; those times we feel that we are not good enough, or we can advance in the direction of our fears.
Advance you must as your best life is often waiting just beyond your greatest fears.
I completed the race that year. I even returned to Hawaii to race again two years later. That year, 1995, the legendary head winds on the Queen "K" Highway averaged 25 mph with gusts to 70 mph. 25 Athletes were blown off their bikes that day and couldn’t finish the race.
Not one of them was a Clydesdale.
Yes...you ARE good enough!