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Being Gracious in Defeat

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Going into the 31st annual Terre Haute Triathlon I had a single goal of winning my age-group (55-59).  Bottom line, I didn’t win it, or get second, but got a close 3rd.  I’ve had plenty of experience in regional and national level events to know I’m by no means an elite triathlete.  So you would think I would take 3rd place easily.  Ah, not so.  In a lot of ways I felt like all was lost.  Why?  I guess I haven’t defeated the pride issue just yet.
Had the good opportunity to talk with the Robert Smrekar who did win my age group just after the race.  Seemed like a really nice guy, and if I had to lose it didn’t seem so bad to lose to him.  Yet the next day I was thinking about how to go just that much faster to not let it happen again.  I’m still debating in my mind if that is a good thing or not.
As a person who doesn’t like to sit still, loves a challenge, and exercise this sport was made for me.  I’m not a talented swimmer, but have a reasonable amount of talent for cycling and runni…