Life is a journey

Life is a journey, not a destination.-- Ralph Waldo EmersonThis has not been a good week for fans of Canadian Triathlon. It's the Olympics and day 8 and 11 were what I'd been waiting for: the Womens' and Mens' Olympic triathlon (respectively).  But for those of you not watching (and why not!?!), the Canadian hopefuls Paula Findlay (@paulafindlay) and Simon Whitfield (@simonwhitfield) both had completely unexpected and incredibly disappointing performances.  My first thought was "Oh, how it must feel to have wasted the last 4 years of their life", but then I thought about my own triathlon experience and came to realize how incredibly wrong that thought was, and, in the end how incredibly unfair the Olympics can be.As Mr. Emerson says above, life is a journey.  I can't ever hope to know what an Olympic athlete goes through in their training, but what I can tell you is that it is a long journey with many ups and downs.  When I think back to my journey to Ironman, what stands out is not the event, but the hours, days, weeks, months, years that went into the preparation.  Even now, as I think about Ironman 2014, thoughts are of the journey to get there, not of the big day. While my initial reaction was to invalidate all of the last 4 years because of a bad day, I have come, slowly, over the last few days and hours to realize that their journey to get to this day has been an epic one.  One full of incredible experiences, sacrifices, good races and bad, health and injury and everything in between.  Their journey over the last four years was a huge part of who they are, just as my journey has become a huge part of who I am.  We need to remember the intrinsic value that journey has all by itself.Now, I'm sure Simon and Paula are both quite distraught at the lost opportunity.  In Simon's case, it's possible that his crash represented the loss of his last opportunity at the Olympics.  What I think is incredibly unfair about the Olympics is that it makes a destination of these athletes' sport rather than a journey.  We as fans, and often the athletes themselves are quick to write off the journey in the face of destination. While I'm sad for both Paula and Simon, as I'd wished them much greater success this week, I want to personally thank them both for making my journey that much better by letting me travel along with theirs (vicariously, of course).  You are both an inspiration and I can't wait to see what comes next in your journey, whatever that may be.