Two people I admire most in Triathlon are Simon Whitfield and Craig Alexander. It's obvious why I admire them as athletes: they are both champions and their prowess has endured. Still, there are a lot of great Triathletes to admire.
The main reason Simon and Craig are at the top of my heap is because they are both family men and have still been able to be successful. In fact, you could argue that they became MORE successful in their sport after they became fathers. I admire this for a few reasons. First, their family is their #1 priority and the sport is #2. Second, they make the time to be good fathers. Third, they recognize that their family is part of their team, that it is not possible to do what they do without that level of support. Fourth, they have found a way to become the best while still being around.
Like most Canadians, my heart sank when Simon crashed out of the race. Canada would not see him get a medal this time out, nor likely ever again. But what really broke my heart is his account of what happened when he finally got to his family after the race. His daughter was crying, his wife was obviously heart broken for him. He said how choked he was that his family sacrificed so much by letting him travel and get ready for the games, staying home while he pursued his dream/career. All that hard work by everyone else, for nothing. That hit home for me.
I was having the race of my life when I crashed my bike a month ago. Like Simon, I got out of the water where I wanted. Like Simon, I got onto the bike as planned. Like Simon, I went down. Fortunately I wasn't hurt as bad as him and I went on to finish. Still, I was completely crushed that I didn't get my World Championship spot.
These past several weeks, I've been somewhat unmotivated to train hard. In the first weeks after the crash, it was because although I could push hard, my body was pretty hurt. Now, it hurts less when I push, but I'm still paying for it afterwards... bruises and strains take longer to heal when you're older. Still, until watching the Olympics, I couldn't really put my finger on my lack of motivation. After Simon's account of his day, it became clear.
Jen, Eli, Jen's parents, and my parents have given me a tremendous amount of support and sacrifice since I declared I was getting back into serious racing. Sometimes reluctant support, but never waining. When Simon intimated that he felt like his family's sacrifice was for nothing, and that he felt like he had let them down and devalued their support, I knew exactly what he meant.
Therein lies my own lack of motivation. Do I really to spend more good will from my family to continue to try and pursue this goal of competing at an international level in Triathlon? What if it happens again, what if I don't achieve my goals? Then again their sacrifice will mean nothing.
I'm not sure what the answer is, here. There is an event horizon I'm working towards: ITU 2013 Long Course World Championships. I'm already on the team. I've told myself that I could do nothing and still race. This, of course, would be unacceptable.
For now, I'm going to continue to train, fight through my lack of motivation, and try and reconnect with my love of the sport. But like Simon and Craig do so well, I will ensure that my family is #1 and the sport is #2.