Intimidating oneself

This past weekend, Kris, Ben and Kyle ran in the Wildflower Triathalon. I went to support them, carry their crap, run errands, and cheer them on. When we were leaving, as I walked up a flight of stairs a triathalon participant caught my eye at the top of the stairs.

She was a fit black woman with her triathalon number pinned to her jersey. About my height with a bright smile on her face, she carried herself like a tired athlete who conquered the course and walked away victorious.

Crossing the net and projecting incredible athletic feats and daring accomplishments, I made a note of her number intending to look it up today.

And so I did.

I went to the Wildflower 2005 website, and tried to look up the triathlete's information by her bib number, 8579. Turns out, the search form worked only by event, first name, last name, gender and age group. Well, I knew her gender and guessed her event was the Olympic distance triathalon. There were over 3100 women participants, and the results displayed 50 athletes to a page.


So, I guessed her age between 18 and 30, because of her bib number (which were allocated based on age), giving me 647 participants to look through. She wasn't on those pages, so I looked in 31 to 40. She wasn't there. Good lord woman, how old are you?


Turns out, the woman is Retha Howard. She completed the triathalon in just under 4 hours: 3:52:07. She lives in San Francisco and trains with the Embarcadero YMCA. She ran a 9:52/mile pace in the 10k, and rode a 38:26/mile pace in the 40k ride. She spent 9:41 in transistions (contrasting to the Kris-Ben-Kyle transistion times of about 2:10).

Putting this all into perspective now, Lora Bowman did the triathalon in 3:44:04. Cat Rondeau, uber athlete, did it in 3:13:39. I'm closer to Lora, and apparently Retha.

Lessons learned?

I'm still projecting every other person out there to be better, stronger, faster than I am. I'm still intimidating myself when I don't need to be. I'm still not objective when it comes guessing anything about someone else: abilities, age, etc.

As much confidence as I project, apparently I haven't internalized nearly enough.