Self Preservation - By Sue Aquila

As I reach my mid 40’s I have been asking myself some hard questions about risk.  Almost 15 years ago I took a very big leap and started my own business with debt and hard work.  It was the kind of risk that required a stomach of steel, some sleepless nights and a general decline in my health.  It was worth it all.

The last ten years I have worked hard to avoid the entrepreneurs trap of “all that I touch will turn to gold.”  I have avoided building shrines to my ego or investing in outlandish ideas. I have kept myself disciplined, focused and debt free.  

I started my triathlon career in this time period and raced the way I was running my business.  Disciplined, focused and physically debt free. I prided myself on avoiding injuries and the medical tent.  I finished every race and would quickly recover to train again. I was slowly, very slowly reaching some goals of no longer being at the back of the pack.  Eventually I cracked the middle of the pack.

The last hurdle to achieve my goals is looking at me in the mirror.  I have realized that I have a very healthy, very strong gene for self-preservation.  It has helped me in business, my parenting and my relationship. I am the person you can always count on to be there and do the right thing.  It is good for me and good for those around me.

Self-preservation has also allowed me to learn about and enjoy the sport of triathlon.  It has kept me coming back for more. Self-preservation loves the technology I use: swimsense watch, Garmin 310xt and my powertap.  Self-preservation knows that staying in my zones is best and the safest path to finishing.

I find this season that I am slowly, so slowly, starting to crack through the automatic braking of self-preservation.  It started with some short running races. I crawled deep into the pain cave, where time stops, and won. I competed in an Olympic by going “all in” during the bike and won my age group.  

Last week, I competed in a 70.3 race and gave it my best effort to date with a PR and 5th in my age group.  The next three days I suffered. My legs hurt, I remained nauseous and my throat burned. It was worth it all.

As I train towards Ironman Louisville, I have to find the fine line between my innate wiring for the self-preservation needed to finish the race and the risk necessary to find Kona.  Louisville is just another benchmark to find out how far my mind and my body can go to make it worth it all.