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Friday, August 20, 2010

Are you an athlete?

What exactly is an athlete? I have thought about this a lot and recently on her podcast and subsequently on her blog ( 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.

"It's not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters."

— Paul "Bear" Bryant

To me being an athlete is being ready to take on whatever I choose to challenge myself with or whatever I may be forced to take on as a challenge, be that climbing a local trail, taking on a younger foe on the tennis court, coming back from an injury, or even just beating back the covers to get out of bed and run, ride, stretch or lift. Above all I think the title of athlete is one only YOU know if you deserve, and one you don't keep based on your past performance but that you need to earn again and again, day in and day out. Do you deserve the title? Let me know why!

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