Before I didn't finish the RRCA 10-Mile Challenge, I did finish talking to a roomful (at LEAST 100. Prolly more like 200. Or 2000.) of candidates for D.C. Tri's New Triathlete Program 2009.
I was asked to join the volunteer coordinators at the NTP Orientation last Saturday. and just "talk about your experience."
So we all know that fear of public speaking ranks before fear of death, right?
Though I was a little nervous beforehand, I felt like I knew my subject—me—pretty well.
So here's an abbreviated version of what I told them, in no particular order.
I told them that the club president, answering my general query about the NTP, talked me into doing the Olympic distance race that the program was training for. How other people believing in you can make YOU believe in YOU.
I told them I got an "F" in gym in high school. That I had run for a few years. That I was 52.
I told them that last year was hands down the best year of my life.
I described my journey to my first triathlon, the Philadelphia Insurance Sprint, and how I almost cried at the start because I thought my life would be ending soon—that's how scared I was.
I told them that I am the shyest person on earth (quite possibly true) and that I forced myself to go to things where I didn't know anyone, and how scary, but crucial, it is to do that.
I told them about the first "bric-nic" I went to, which I had to drag myself to because I didn't know anyone and had a crap bike, but how I went anyway and had So Much Fun It Should Be Illegal.
I told them that it takes guts to finish last.
I described the misery of being the last swimmer out of the water at the New Jersey Tri., racing to the bike racks only to see them empty, riding that long course by myself, running 10k in the 200F weather, and having to run past the finish (at this point my co-presenters started clearing their throats. What, you don't think this is a great sales pitch???).
But I eventually got to the punch line, which was: Coming back down the final leg of the run, down the hill, convinced everyone was gone and I was last, only to see and hear my NTP peeps had all WAITED FOR ME and were rushing the net cheering MY name.
Quite simply one (out of two) of the best days of my life.
I told them some other stuff too. How much help they would get from other triathletes—even Ironmen rode 12 mph with me, helping me out. How they'd be their own best mentors, to show up for stuff, to put themselves out there and take risks.
Kind of like I did standing up in front of a roomful of strangers.
Plus? I think they liked my little talk.