Yesterday was the day a dream came true: I successfully finished my first medium distance triathlon (1.9 km swimming, 90 km racing bike, and 21 km running) in Locarno. I don’t want to tell you about my glorious success because there’s no glory in it, just hard work. I’d rather share with you an experience that demonstrates once again the importance of doing what’s right.
I’m a rather bad and therefore slow swimmer. I estimated I’d need an hour or at least 55 minutes to swim the distance of 1.9 km. I knew, I’d be last coming out of the lake and I was right. To my surprise, I needed 48 minutes “only”, my new personal best but still 10 minutes slower than the rest of the athletes. Happy with my time, I didn’t understand yet, why being one of the last is risky.
Despite the very hot day, the racing bike and the jogging part went well for me, and I kept going and going. I knew that we had to run 4 rounds and was just finishing my third round, wanting to start my fourth and last round, when a female staff member at the finish line / the run through area tried to stop me. “You’re finished, stop now”, she said. I just kept going and made her understand that I had to run one more round, but she put herself in my way stating that this was indeed my last round, and that I needed to stop. Again, I negated and continued to run. I heard her saying about me (literally behind my back): “She can’t count.”
An even more unpleasant surprise happened a bit later: The run through area had been closed with barriers which I had to tediously circumvent in order to pass by. I continued my last round just to find deserted guard posts and beverage stands being dismantled in front of my eyes. At the first beverage stand I passed, there was no normal water left for me, because it had already been removed. The helpers at the stand were screaming with disbelief when I told them that I still had to run one more round. I got sparkling water in a bottle instead of the normal, still water from a cup because there was nothing else left for me.
Feeling more alone than ever – which I knew I wasn’t because I saw other joggers behind me – I spend these last kilometers of my race wondering how hard it is to be right. I know right from wrong, I can count till 4 – given that at the end you pretty much count every step you take toward the finish line – and still, it would have been a very easy decision to just stop because I was told to. But I kept moving till the end.
So, no matter what they tell you, no matter how sure they are and how alone you are, don’t hesitate. You know what’s right.