This is not a wasted effort

During my half Ironman in Coeur d’Alene last year there was a seemingly unremarkable woman cheering us on on the run. She was standing alone, in the sun, wearing a hat, and occasionally clapping. She wasn’t over enthusiastic, she was barely energetic, but there was intent to her action. She spoke calmly, almost quietly, and intensely, to each person as they passed her, and said something along the lines of “This is not a wasted effort” to me as I ran by.

This is not a wasted effort.

Just like ‘trying’ is actually already doing rather than not doing, putting the effort in will not leave you short of an outcome. It won’t always be the fastest time, the best split, first place. These things will rarely, if ever, happen. Often the gain will be so small, it seems infinitesimal, smaller even than marginal.

And yet, in those tiny gains there are lessons. Some you have to learn a few times, a hundred times, before you move to the next one.

In the giant scheme of bike racing, I’m the equivalent of a three year old. I can’t fully understand the conversation, or speak in full sentences, and I’m constantly trying to keep up with the big kids. In reality, I’m not exactly a hill climber, can only take corners at max 30 km/hr (on a good day), and have very little of the snappiness that is required to deal with the never ending speed surges. I learned most of this in 7 corners I managed to stay with the pack over three different road races. The rest of those races I rode all by myself: cue Celine Dion…

Self-doubt creeps in, the internal voice made louder by suggestions that I shouldn’t bother. That it’s not a race if I’m just racing myself. That it’s not worth it. The time, energy, money, effort.


This is not a wasted effort.

And I’m stubborn.


I’m going to race my bike. I’m going to keep putting in the effort to ride, to race, to learn. And maybe one day I will get the fastest time, the best split, first place. And maybe I won’t. I won’t know if I don’t try. I won’t learn if I don’t show up. I can pick my battles, sure . . . except I don’t pick easy battles.

And anyway, in the bigger scheme of life, this is not a wasted effort.


Image, used with permission, by Tammy Brimner, TLBVelo Photography

This entry was posted in Canada, Exercise, Vancouver and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to This is not a wasted effort

  1. Archon's Den says:

    Good on you! Keep striving. :)

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