Looking at the Mountaintop


Posted by Coach Mark

There are so many positive aspects of triathlon – I am truly amazed at what I continue to discover about this lifestyle. Most recently, I was reminded what opportunities I have been afforded and self-discovery I have found due to this wonderful sport. 

Standing anxiously as the sun began to rise on the pier in Kona, Hawaii, I waited with 1,800 of my fellow triathletes before the start of the World Championships. There was nervousness and excitement filling the air. Mostly, there were straight faces – concentrated faces – focusing on the immense challenge that was ahead. For many athletes, this was the worst time, the tensest time for them. Waiting to enter the water and to begin a journey that is too complex with too many variables to predict.

It’s the unknown that scares us. Will my goggles come off in the swim? Will I be hit so hard that I panic and have to stop? Will I get a flat on the bike? Will something break? Will I be able to even run? Is my nutrition right? Will the winds be too high, will it rain or will it be too hot? Can I do this?

There are so many unknowns…

But standing there on that pier, I looked up into the sky and imagined what mountain climbers must think as they look at the mountaintop high above. “Will I make it?” And it occurred to me that at that very moment – that moment of uncertainty and doubt – THAT was what it means to be alive. Sure it took a lot to get here, but to be at the base of the mountain and have the incredible journey ahead stare at you directly – challenging your every thought – that is what truly makes us alive. It is this moment, just before the gun goes off, that we look at the mountaintop and say, “I will do it!” 

I will always cherish this moment before every race for as long as I race… How lucky are we?

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