I was raised by depression era parents. My dad joined the Navy when he was 17 and saw men die in a war before he was even 20. My mom had her first job when she was 12and pretty much worked her whole life. They were hard working, blue collar people who would never have considered doing something as 'frivolous' as triathlon. Especially when they had three kids and a mortgage. What little extra money they had was spent on piano lessons, horseback riding lessons, dance lessons...anything they could think of that would give us opportunities they never had.
The problem is that I'm not really sure they were happy. I'm pretty sure they weren't. They made sacrifices and worked hard but they didn't hold enough back for themselves. As a parent myself now, I partly understand that. You always want things to be better for your kids. But I also see that the fact that they weren't really happy created a sort of negative atmosphere even in the midst of their good intent. It was all way too serious; like a great sense of responsibility they could never quite master.
Sometimes I feel that negative atmosphere around me still. Like the cloud of dirt that follows Pigpen in the Charlie Brown cartoons.
I've been watching successful athletes lately. The well known professional ones and athletes successful on a local level. They all train hard and consistently. But I train hard and consistently too. The trait that stands out to me is their attitude. They are positive, they believe in themselves and manage to feel good about training even when it isn't always stellar. No matter whether they race successfully or things turn out dismally, they find something positive in every race and focus on that. If they made mistakes, they don't beat themselves up over them, they accept them and find ways to correct them.
I'm beginning to think that is a major part of their success. They feel positive about themselves and their efforts. They believe that their training will make them better athletes. They believe they will do well in races. And even when things dont seem to be going well they find something positive in the midst of it and believe in that one positive thing.
I'm starting even now to plan for my races next summer. I'm committed to doing two half ironman races and have already signed up for one of them. The planning starts now and as I pull out the training calendar; this idea of being positive and believing in myself and my abilities is going to become a reality for me. I'm going to find a way to include it in my daily training. I'm going to train myself to be more positive.
I'm going to start by changing the name of my blog. I am not a wannabe, I am a triathlete.