Leading With Your Strengths (Conclusion)

While in the locker room after one of the sprint triathlons I did this year, another woman was laughing about her ritual every time she gets in the pool to start her race. She hears herself say, “Now I do like to do these…right.” But we both agreed they feel great when they are done.

Honestly, by race four, five, and six of the Triathlon Cup series I was feeling burned out and ready for a change in my workout routine. I didn’t completely understand the Triathlon Cup point system, but I knew I needed to keep doing the races to maintain my lead in my age group.

I guess one of the reasons why perseverance is a strength for me is I just don’t like the feeling I have when I quit something before it is finished. I like good closure because I know it is psychologically healthy. I like the mental satisfaction of doing something until it is formally over.

The last race of the Triathlon Cup series was different from the previous six. It was an indoor/outdoor race with longer distances: a 13-mile bike ride vs. 6 miles and a 3-mile run vs. 2 miles. Since it was my first outdoor race, I did not have a triathlon bike. Instead I used my cheap mountain bike. Later I read in an article they highly recommend you avoid using a mountain bike for triathlons as they are heavy and slow. I figured that out when despite being in fairly good biking shape, almost everyone (and their dogs!) overtook me on the cycling portion. But at least I was able to listen to good tunes on my ride as I admired the beautiful golden Kansas wheat.

On the last race I also noticed a significant bump up in the physical fitness level of the participants. The really fit women in their late 40s, 50s, and 60s inspired me.

A day or two after the race, as customary, I checked the race results online. I noticed that my name was listed as one of the 10 people to complete all seven races.

It wasn’t until a week later when I glanced at the results again to realize that I actually was the female winner of the Triathlon Cup with 91 points. I did not just win my age group, but rather the entire competition!

The thought of a possible miscalculation went through my mind, but I did understand that it was mathematically possible for me to win. I had earned extra points for placing 1st or 2nd in several of the early races. Plus I received bonus points for doing all of the races.

I was not the fastest athlete nor the fittest. This fun, unexpected, reward was all due to my friend perseverance. It was a helpful reminder of the importance of leading with your strengths even when challenged and the outcome is not crystal clear, but rather murky.

The Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Identify one of your strengths and determine how you can exercise it each day to yield positive results in your life.