Tri-ing to learn the lessons

 Tri-ing to learn the lessons

About 2 years’ ago I wrote here that I had signed up to compete in the Ripon Triathlon (December 2016), but then 6 months’ later said that my plans had been kaiboshed by the arrival of the new curate and his ordination being on the same date (May 2017 magazine).

Not to be deterred I checked dates and re-applied to compete at the Ripon Triathlon in June of this year and completed it in a time of around 3 hours 15 minutes, which I was pretty proud of, until I talked to someone else from Thorner Church who had also competed and completed it in 2 hours 30!

Like a good vicar I’ve reflected on the lessons learnt both in the training for the event and during the event itself. Here’s a few of them;

The downhills are fun and fast, but it’s the uphill struggles that build strength. We all like the freewheeling moments of life, with the wind in your face and the feeling of effortless speed. Sometimes I can get suckered into freewheeling through life – taking the easy option, or taking shortcuts. But freewheeling doesn’t bring strength of body or character, what does bring lots of both are those hard times when you want to give up but you go just one more swim stroke, one more turn of the wheel or one more running step. It’s hard, but it builds you up and gives you a great sense of satisfaction when you reach your goal.

The training is just as important as the race. The goal of the race gave me the impetus to get off my bum and do some training, but once I started training, whether it be running 10k, cycling the country lanes around Thorner or swimming in the Wharfe, the act of training my body to be stronger and faster became an end in itself. Goals in life are important, but often the journey to get to that goal can be just as important and rewarding as the goal itself.
Winning isn’t everything, but it’s nice not to be last. This is the triathlon version of the sentiment that goes ‘there’s always somebody else worse off than me, and only works if you’re not last, but in a race with nearly 1,000 people there’s some pleasure to be had in being some way ahead of the bottom. And even if you are last you can always point to those spectators and say ‘at least I’m competing!’

Run your own race. This is probably the most important lesson, taught by my brother who competes in triathlons. There are always others running faster than you and others that are slower than you. You can spend your life comparing yourself to those around you, or you can be the best you that you can be.

So whether you enter a triathlon or a 3-k fun-run. There’s always lessons to be learnt. I guess the best lesson to learn is that we should never stop learning.