I love to race. A majority of the population likely believes that I am crazy. They are probably correct. Racing brings one's heart to the surface. You get to see what people are made of. You see what motivates them, drives them. You see how they handle conflict and stress. Plus, where else do you get to see grown men cry?
The Tour de France ended today unofficially. Tomorrow they will ride into Paris sipping champagne. But today was the final time trial and determined the winners of the race. It is amazing to me, watching these men ride 100+ miles every day for 3 weeks then enter into the time trial- an individual race against the clock- and lay their hearts and souls on the line. You see guts, determination, fear, heartbreak, glory. There can be only one winner. Yesterday, we saw the stage winner cry at the finish. He was not in the GC, had no hopes of winning the Tour, so for him the goal was a stage win. And he beat his competitor to the line be mere seconds. Last week we saw Cadel Evans cry after being awarded the yellow jersey.
Emotion. Sheer exhaustion. Pain. Suffering. Perseverance. Determination. Courage.
All of these conditions make up a winner. And today, it brought tears to my eyes to see Carlos Sastre hang it all on the line to keep the yellow jersey. It was a long shot. Everyone assumed Cadel would take it back today. But he wanted it more. He gave everything he had and was rewarded. These 180 men (minus the dopers) are inspiration to me.
When I approach my race I want to carry their characteristics with me to the start line. In training I need to learn how to suffer and how to push past that and keep going. When I hurt or am tired, I need to keep my eye on the finish line and my reward. If I don't challenge myself and take a risk, I won't succeed in reaching goals that were once thought out of reach. I CAN run 3:30. It will take effort and determination to get there. It's not going to fall easily into my lap. The question is how badly do I want it.... and what am I willing to do to get there?