Perspective is a funny thing.
Tomorrow is the Bountiful Triathlon. A sprint triathlon about an hour or so north of our town. This little sprint triathlon holds the distinction of the race that started my desire to become a triathlete, even though tomorrow will be my first time racing in it. It will be the second time that my daughter has raced it, however. That's how it started. My daughter raced this last year as part of her Young Women personal progress achievement. I figured that if she could do it, I could too. She finished, but she wasn't happy. She missed a turn on the bike course, and ended up lost for a little bit. She felt embarrassed and upset.. She decided that she wanted to do it again this year, so she obviously enjoyed it enough to want to give it another go.
Here's where the perspective thing comes in. I have been looking at this as a race. I have been comparing my times to the other triathlons I have done, trying to figure out where I can shave off time to make this a PR, and I have been considering my gear choices (socks, or no socks) to minimize my time in transition. I have also been seeing my daughter as competition, talking trash and saying that even though she probably can run faster than me (not a lie, she probably can), I will crush her on the bike.
You may be saying to yourself that a triathlon "is" a race, and therefore I should be looking at it as a race.
Except it is more than that. This is the first time that my daughter and I have competed together. This is also a potentially delicate event for her. If she has another bad experience, she may just decide it isn't worth it, and not try again.
After some prompting from my wife, I stepped back and decided to look at this from a different perspective. Even if I raced as hard as I could, there is no possible way that I will finish first, second, or anywhere near the top half of my age group, let alone overall. But, if I race alongside my daughter, and have a good time, Maybe she'll have a good experience, and maybe this won't be her last triathlon, but just her next triathlon.
So, we will start off together, and we will cross the finish line together, hopefully both smiling and having a good time.
That's what it is all about, isn't it?