As both a competitor and event director, I have the opportunity to interact with a lot of people at athletic events. Depending on which side of the line I'm on, the perspective can be a little different but one thing that always gets a good laugh from me is the conversation both before and after the event from the participants. The conversation goes something like this:
Competitor A: What is your goal today?
Competitor B: Oh, you know, I'd like to beat x minutes but I've got this nagging injury...
Instead of an injury, it might be the heat, the cold, the wind, the course, the rain, the dry, and on and on. There seems to be no end to the excuses people give as they're lining up. We get that out of the way so if we don't do as well as we'd like, we've gone on record as to why we didn't do that well.
Maybe the conversation takes place after the race. It was too hot, too cold, too windy, not enough wind, etc. etc. etc. I was at a race this morning and even heard a lady say that she could have done much better if it hadn't been so windy. Too bad for her, but it was the calmest morning I have seen in a while and if the wind was blowing one mph I would have been surprised. Whatever makes you feel better I guess.
I laugh because as we tow the line, my buddies and I will get to making those excuses and someone will finally pipe up and call us on it. Now that we have the excuses out of the way, let's go race. It's just a part of the experience. I've got one friend who always seems to try and snooker us. He'll talk about all the reasons why he won't do well and then will just shatter the course. It worked the first few times.
Regardless of the excuses though, the fact is that we're all at the starting line and eager for the race. Just being there and participating in the event is more than most can say. Making the excuses and then either living up to them or going beyond them is part of the ritual but we continue to stand at the line and then go. Afterwards, we can be satisfied that we participated. We don't always perform as well as we'd like but there's always the right excuse and the next race.
I look forward to seeing you at the next event. Just as long as you're there it doesn't matter the excuse.
See you at the race!