In 2005, I bought out all my formula windsurfing gear to California. I had a huge board and a 10-foot long sail. Not to mention a boom, harness, and others parts. I stuffed everything into my dorm room. Why? Because I wanted to race. Or, at least I did in theory.
There were a number of windsurfing races in San Diego. The year before, I made plans to race at every possible opportunity. It sounded great in the abstract. I remember the night before a race, I sat up debating whether I wanted to go. I had many excuses: It was a long drive, I'd have to get up early, and it might make me too tired for studying later. I didn't go. And, after I didn't go that first time, it was easy not to go again. In sum, I never went and my gear sat in the dorm room.
I had a flashback to that moment on Friday night. I sat and debated whether I wanted do a triathlon on Saturday morning. In the abstract, I wanted to do it. But, it was easy to make the same excuses and talk myself down.
A friend and I talked awhile back about what it takes to climb mountains. He had done Denali (McKinley) and told me how when things got tough, most other climbers would suddenly become overwhelmingly self-righteous. They'd say, "You know, I've got a family," or "I've got responsibilities," and then talk themselves into turning around on moralistic grounds.
It's easy to find moralistic excuses in the face of adversity.
I was going to go, then I wasn't going to go, then I was going to go. Finally, at 11 p.m., I decided I'd throw in the towel. Out of curiosity, I Google-mapped the destination: Castaic Lake. I thought it would be an hour-and-a-half drive from me. To my surprise, only 40 minutes–practically in my backyard. Now I had to go–it was settled.
And now, I'm so glad I did go. It was a beautiful morning with a swim in warm, clear water. The bike ride was fast through the mountains and the run tip-toed around the resevoir. I had my personal best on the swim, my personal best for average speed on the bike, and a solid run. To top it all off, I came in fourth in my age group, which secured a medal for me!
It made me with I would have gone to those windsurfing races a few years ago. No doubt, I would have be so glad that I did.