In the pursuit of excellence, I have discovered there are many things in life at which I am quite average.
I was an average soccer player during youth soccer league. In many situations, I was among the best players on the team. In others, I barely got onto the field. In the same manner, I was an average football player in high school. I played four years, and spent a great deal of time warming the bench. I could hold my own on the field, but there were many others who were far better.
I spent many years acting in high school and college. My performances helped earn some scholarships, though never enough to cover all the costs of tuition. I was in debate for four years and forensics for one year. My speaking ability got me to state once in those five seasons. I took third.
In the Navy, I advanced quickly through the ranks. I was a good sailor, and a slightly above average electrician. Again, there were many who seemed to live and breath nuclear and electrical fundamentals.
And in marathons and triathlons, I am a middle of the pack participant. Co-workers routinely ask about qualifying for the Boston Marathon or the Kona Ironman Championships. I point out that I'm much more likely to win a mohawk contest (sorry for the visual joke, I'll consider posting pictures, later). I'm fairly average when it comes to these events.
There is one thing that I believe sets me apart from the average person. It is what sets many who toe the line at events such as these. That is dogged relentlessness. It is the drive to complete a task, regardless of skill and ability going in. It is the determination to complete a sprint triathlon despite being unable to complete even a single lap of freestyle swimming. It is the motivation to pursue excellence in any task undertaken, regardless of the likelihood of becoming truly "competitive."
A relentless spirit is what gave me the confidence to complete a half marathon having never trained for it (that, and sheer ignorance that led me to run 13.5 miles to see if I could run 13.1 miles). This same determination led me through 26.2 miles in my first marathon. And it took the same amount of drive to finish a 220 yard swim in my first triathlon. And yes, in many ways, that 220 yard swim was more challenging than the full marathon.
Only time will tell if this force of will can carry me through 140.6 miles in Louisville. It has allowed me, a completely average athlete, to accomplish many tasks I would have though impossible five years ago. And every year, many things previously seen as out of the question become possibilities to be attempted.
What is your "impossible?" Whether a 5K road race, a 200 yard swim, a century ride, or an Ironman triathlon, the task can be achieved. Drive, determination, and relentlessness can assure your success.