What exactly is an athlete? I have thought about this a lot and recently on her podcast and subsequently on her blog (http://kelownagurl.blogspot.com/) Kelownagurl (ps great podcast check it out!) posed the question of how many triathlons it takes before one can call oneself a triathlete? I choose the something else option, in my case ZERO. To me an athlete is about the time and effort one puts into train whether one chooses to put that training to the test in a formal competitive setting is irrelevant. The lady trying to pound out a personal best on the local chip trail is as much an athlete as someone running a charity 5 km. In some cases I might even argue that some who compete in events aren't really athletes, if they don't put in the hard training before the event. To me the preparation is key, even if that preparation is for some unspoken, unseen event. As I struggled with weight I still played the occasion tennis tournament but I wasn't an athlete, I showed up and usually played ok but I didn't "chop the wood and carry the water" as @simonwhitfield so aptly tweeted about @paulafindlay's second straight ITU tri win. Outcomes follow effort and effort to me gains you the title of athlete, be you first or last if you did the work that is one title only you can bestow on yourself. Motivational quotes get a bit too much play but this one always stood out for me.