10×50: I’m Still in the Race


Usually by this point in the summer, I am heavy into training for my annual triathlon. Unfortunately, this year, I’ve encountered some physical obstacles that have thrown me off course. I’ve been struggling with knee and back issues for several months that have slowed me down tremendously. My pain is diminishing, but I’m not sure if I’ll be ready to compete in the Tri for the Cure Women’s Sprint Triathlon on August 4th.

At first, I was feeling extremely disappointed. My goal of completing 10 triathlons by age 50 was beginning to feel unattainable. But then I realized, no one is making me do this – it’s entirely self-imposed and self-directed. I have options. I can do it or not do it. I can make this my slowest time ever. I can skip a year if I need to…

As I pondered my situation further, it also became clear that I was suffering from “all-or-nothing thinking,” a classic cognitive distortion that contributes to depression and discouragement. “Either I complete my goal perfectly and on schedule or I have failed.”

How many times have you given up on a weight loss program altogether because you “cheated” or had a set back one day? How often do you quit something you say you really want when you encounter an obstacle? We always have a choice and we can choose to replace our all-or-nothing thinking with “I’m doing the best I can and this is good enough for now.”

Even if I am unable to participate in this year’s triathlon, I can still pursue my goal. And it doesn’t have to look exactly as I initially planned. I could double up or triple up next year. I could extend my timeline past age 50 if necessary. Or I could register as a relay team and only do part of the race.

Meanwhile, I am putting one foot in front of the other and working out every day at the level I am capable of. Even though I am not as far along in my training program as I’d like to be at this stage of the summer, I will continue to do what I am able to do. Who knows? My small steps could add up and I might actually be ready to do the race this year.

I don’t know if I’ll be at the starting line on August 4th, but I can assure you that I am still in the race!

©2013 Peggy Mitchell Norwood | All rights reserved
10×50 is an account of my quest to complete 10 triathlons by age 50