When I was 22, I bought a one-way ticket to Guatemala. For five months and through five countries, I collected conversations. I tucked away these conversations like dollars in a winter coat, sometimes forgetting them but always rediscovering them when I least expected it.
In one such conversation I came to know Maarten, a young but wise Dutch engineer on a year-long expedition.
During his trip, Maarten fell in love and, long before he was ready, became a father. With equal parts fear and excitement, he remarked that though he certainly wasn’t ready for fatherhood, it’s not likely he ever would have been.
That’s the thing about life, he said. If you wait until you’re ready, you never will be.
This past December, I was studying the Lonely Planet travel guides, cross-referencing epic volcano hikes and triathlons–two of my favorite pastimes.
I stumbled upon a match in the Chilean town of Pucon.
There, I could swim-bike-run my way across the finish line one day and summit a volcano the very next.
There was just one problem. The race for January 2015 was already sold out.
Sold out, that is, but for one small loophole. Registration for the pro field was still open.
Though I had secured a professional qualification in 2012, I wasn’t ready for the professional ranks. Each time I qualified since, I continued to kick the decision down the calendar, always hoping next year would be the year I’d feel ready. And now, just a few weeks after my long off-season ended, I was perhaps the least ready I had been since my first qualification.
And when I least expected it, I found that old conversation with Maarten, stuffed into the pocket of my past. Like Maarten and fatherhood, I realized, if I waited until I was ready, I never would be.
So I applied for my elite license, booked a flight, and packed my Ruster for my pro debut.
Epilogue: It’s worth noting here that I landed in Guatemala before I could speak Spanish and without experience traveling alone. In so many ways, I wasn’t ready for that trip. But it was during that trip that I learned to communicate in Spanish, climbed my first volcano, and watched my first triathlon. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Now it’s your turn. What have you been putting off because you aren’t ready? Isn’t it time?
To the MMRF for giving me the ultimate reason to race.
To RosePT for getting me to the starting line healthy.
To Ruster Sports for making tri travel a lot easier and much less expensive.
To Nalgene for keeping me hydrated for two weeks of Chilean adventure.
To Zoot for the best wetsuit, tri kit, and shoes.
To SmartWool for socks that I wore for training, racing, and then summitting volcanoes.
To Coach Tim of QT2 for telling me to race the races that excite me.