I was once asked "why do you go to races if you're probably never going to win"?
Well, it wasn't quite phrased like that. He was trying to be polite. But it was pretty close. I got what he was puttin' down. That was a long time ago and I have thought a lot about my response. Why put all that effort into showing up to an event where the main purpose is to win knowing that my best placing will be middle of the pack? Is it worth it?
This weekend I attended a karate tournament and watched my husband and daughter compete. Several times during the day the announcers commented on how difficult it is to compete a rehearsed series of events and fight in front of such a large audience. Just showing up was a "win". I couldn't agree more.
Many years ago I trained for and completed Ironman Canada. It took many years to prepare. At the start line of the swim the announcer made the same comment. To prepare for one day of competition takes years of eating, sleeping and living the sport. To arrive on the start line ready, able, and willing is all the win I ever need. And it's a big one. I was terrified my tears were going to steam up my goggles.
Unlike my family I don't have any trophies to show for my accomplishments. Just memories. And now the challenge goes beyond official events to "what can I do next that's cool? Where do I want to swim next?". The preparation is not only half the battle but also half the fun.