5 Life Lessons Learned from a Triathlon


Steve Anderson         Ken Davis           Cliff Ravenscraft

On the 16th of May I competed in my sixth triathlon. It was one of the toughest I have done.

This year I ran with two friends who deeply inspired me.

There is something about confronting physical challenges that brings to the surface lessons that serve us well in every day life.

Don’t miss the short video clip at the end of this post.

Lesson 1. WINNING isn’t everything.

Take on challenges that force you to live.

This year I had two friends who competed in the race with me. Notice they didn’t compete against me. They competed with me. Together we challenged our bodies to go beyond the norm.

Cliff Ravenscraft, The podcast Answer Man, has been working for months to get in shape. Cliff has NO DESIRE to win a race, but he is fiercely committed to being the best man he can be.

Cliff is the man who helped us build our podcast The Art and Business of Public Speaking. He told me this,

“I don’t care about winning this race. Every day I run a race, a race to live a lifestyle that day that keeps me in top Physical, Spiritual and Emotional condition. Every day that I discipline myself to workout, I win “


Cliff has lost well over forty pounds and feels a renewed energy and excitement for living. Regardless of how he felt about the triathlon, Cliff is a winner.

Lesson 2. FINISHING is everything. 

Don’t miss out on the joy of making it to the finish line.

My friend Steve Anderson is a first class trainer of men and women in the insurance industry. He only recently started paying close attention to his physical condition. Like me, for Steve swimming is not an exercise, it is a way to keep from downing. Steve is a pretty good biker but running on this day was not possible.

But he didn’t quit. Steve walked the final part of the race. None of the three of us are ever going to be great athletes, but we are all committed to living life fully alive. I admire people who accept challenges outside their comfort zone. I admire people who finish what they have started.

Lesson 3.  LOOKING good doesn’t matter. 

“Doing good” trumps “looking good” every time.

Because of a hamstring injury, I was unable to run for the month before the race. I didn’t drown in the pool – success! I rode the biking portion with wild abandon – success! But because of my injury, I could barely move when I got off the bike. I shuffled through the run like an old man.

Oh wait! I am an old man.

Okay, I shuffled through the run like an old man with a walker, minus the walker.

All I could think of during the run, was how awful I would look crossing the finish line like a hamstrung turtle. When I heard the cheering of the crowd at the finish line I knew my grandchildren would be there taking pictures. I rounded the last turn, gathered all my energy and like a gazelle sprinted the final hundred yards.

This is the amazing video of that sprint.
[youtube id=”KgJp5kHF92w”]

Lesson 4. If you have beloved grandchildren screaming Go grandpa Go…… You’re sprinting!

Lesson 5. Spandex has nothing to do with living fully alive!

What lessons have you learned from the challenges faced in your life? 
What value do you find in spandex?