Updated: Apr 21, 2022
Last week was my 59th birthday. I can still remember a time when, as a truly young person, I was thinking that 32 seemed a long way off and unimaginable. For some reason, 32 seemed like an expiration date for my then young life. And then here I am at 59. I certainly see the signs of 59. I feel them, too, and sometimes too often. The years have crept up on me, and now here I am.
So what does my advancing age have to do with the pursuit of endurance sports? Well, mine in particular, not so much, but in general, the thinking that has driven much of my erroneous perceptions has a great deal to do with the pursuit of personal excellence in endurance sports. Often we spend too much time looking back at what was and wishing hopefully too far ahead to what could and maybe instead of embracing what is right now. In this moment of the wonderful life we have an opportunity to live in, to breathe, to feel free, to simply be is too often lost in the "what could have been" and the "what is to come of life."
But I think we have a different choice. And it is a choice born of courage and resolve to not let circumstances beyond our control dictate the extent and framework of the rest of our lives. We can embrace the life we have. We can embrace the race we are racing and the race results, for good or less than satisfying, we have had. In other words, embrace the life before us. Not 10 years ago and not 20 years ahead, but instead, the now. Our "now" is, after all, all we have, that is for sure. The past is well and gone, and the future is so murky and ill-planned. Now is what we have. The only question is, "What will we do with our now?"
So as we continue to look ahead at an uncertain year of racing, what will you do? Will you spend fruitless hours worrying about whether "your" race will go? I hope not. What I wish for you is a full embrace of the multisport life. Races come and go. The good ones. The bad ones. The ugly ones. But your life is yours. The "here" is now. Love the moment you are in. Give yourself and others compassion. If you do, in 20 years, 10 years back won't be full of bad memories and disappointments. Instead, it will be 20 years of personal victories and a happy life well lived.
Mark Turner (aka Coach MarkT) is a Houston, Texas Metro area based Coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II and Paratriathlon Certified Coach, IRONMAN University Certified Coach,VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and Mental Strengths Performance Coach. Coach MarkT absolutely loves coaching and helping the athletes achieve their dreams. MarkT is also a US Veteran having served in the United States Marine Corps. He is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. In addition to endurance sports, his interests include history, science fiction, and cooking. He can be reached at markt@teamMPI.com.