Why winning isn’t everything, but it’s not just the taking part that counts either!





As the last day of the year approaches I have been reflecting upon the past year,  what I have gained and what I will try and do differently next year,who has inspired me and why( my mental strength coach Kim ingleby has taught me that this approach really does work).


Firstly I am truly blessed that I have some wonderful people in my life that have supported me through this year and will continue to do so as I tread quietly at first into the next.

From a sporting perspective I am blessed with enough talent to be mediocre at what I do.  I am grateful to have a talented coach who knows my strengths ( and probably lots of my flaws!) well enough to stretch and push me just enough so that my mediocrity continues to grow. For that I am truly appreciative. Some of you will question this and ask what I mean, how can I be happy being mediocre?


I am a realist ( other than when I am re enacting scenes from kill bill in the kitchen after a particularly frustrating phone call from my sons school ), I know what I am not.  


I am happy being what I am and mostly who I am because I am content with my lot. Yes, I would love to win my age group in an ironman, and maybe one day when no else shows up, or I am the sole contender in the 80+ category I might just do that!  But I am happy in the skin I’m in, with what life has given me. I have a wonderful husband and family who support me and love me and that in itself is priceless.


Of course I aspire to be better than I am right now, to be the best I can be but being mediocre means there is plenty of scope for that!  


I have had a brilliant year. Note the choice of words I use- I am not pertaining to be brilliant (mediocrity is brilliant for the reason I have just described as well as others), my race results are not brilliant when I compare them to less mediocre and more gifted people. But comparison is the theif of joy! And I am more than happy with my results this year because mostly I have given my best. With this has come gains in strength- physical and mental.


My race time and place does not necessarily dictate the joy that follows. My effort and suffering does. And yet it is not as simple as that. There is something more that cannot be described in a simple word, sentence or paragraph that will determine the satisfaction or lack of that follows a race.

Aristotle said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” 

This is the only way I can describe it.


Put simply, if I do not give my best I will not be happy. For me personally, a good time is not necessarily the equivalent of me being my best. How do i actually know this? A few months ago I ran a half marathon, PBd by around 70 seconds, was 3rd in my AG, but I felt nothing. Flat, thankful for a stress free run, and of course pleased, but I lacked any elation at breaking 1:30- something I had been chasing. The reason being was that I knew I could do better. I imagine some of you are thinking “ah so you think you can go faster- it is about time!”, but no, actually, it isn’t. There was something that made me feel that I hadn’t given 100%.

Partly this was due to a lack of mental prep and partly due to my attitude on the day.

Conversely, I have run a 10 mile race at a pace slower than I should theoretically be capable of and yet i am really happy with my performance. I did everything I could ( including some ice skating down the hills – it was particular icy).


I feel particularly blessed , as stupid as it might sound, that I have found a formula that works for me. It’s not a “winning” formula in the sense that I am about to dominate the world of triathlon with my amazing results, but more in the sense that preparing my body with good nutrition – under the careful guidance of Fitnaturally,  training consistently and preparing myself mentally gives me a confidence that I am doing all I can to stay with the boundaries of mediocrity. 


So yes, winning would be nice, but it’s not the same as giving everything. And taking part does count, if you give your best. I am happy being average- growing up it’s all I ever wanted to be, like everyone else so I could fit in.


 I know that I give more than average when I am focused, I give my best. I give everything, and there’s  nothing average or mediocre about that. 








2 thoughts on “Why winning isn’t everything, but it’s not just the taking part that counts either!

  1. Claire, I so enjoyed your words, the feeling flat after a ‘good’ performance really hit it with me. When I cross the line at any event or ‘session’ and know I have given it all gives me the buzz that that nothing else can. I am, as Ian will tell you, VERY competitive, but with only one person, me. The advancing years are unbeatable, but I will put up one hell of a fight. Have a great 2014

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