Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas

A Year Ago Today: Thoughts on First Pro Race

A year ago today I finished my MBA.  I turned in the final report of my independent study and it was over.  Two years of double crazy madness with a side of no sleep.  The MBA was a lot of work, but left me exactly where I had planned.  I was 29, married, two master's degrees, an experienced entrepreneur and the CEO of a promising startup.  Business Week, here I come.

image caption hopefully?
Kind of spooky how well my head fits on Steve Jobs body.

So why the hell am I, one year later, in Belgium, 16 hours from starting Ironman 70.3 Antwerp, my first race as a Pro Triathlete?

Answer:  Sylvester Stallone.

Boom!  Bet you didn't guess that answer did you?  Let me explain….

Like most guys my age with an interest in sports, I loved the Rocky movies.  Here was this guy, a promising athlete, never really had his shot, but then through some crazy marketing scheme he gets a go at the best.  He trains his butt off in a freezer, dates his best friends sister, and surprises the world, resurrecting his own dreams in the process.

I'll be honest, I can't only credit Sylvester Stallone and Rocky. There's also Chariots of Fire, Hoosiers, even Major League (Willie Mays Hays!).  All stories of underdogs working their butts off against the odds and fulfilling their dreams.  (I mostly chose Rocky because it makes the best my-face-on-his-body-picture).

Jesses head on Rockys body


Yep, definitely looks more realistic on Steve Jobs.
For some reason, there is an innate part of my being which identifies with the physical and mental challenge, struggle, and ultimately payoff of competition.  It's this incredible combo of anguish and joy that fills your body, mind, soul……Ok, what the hell am I talking about, I feel like I'm sucking at explaining this.  

I think it comes down to this question:  Am I good enough to compete with the best?  

That question is the reason I am racing tomorrow.  It's the same question that Sly faced in the Rocky movies.  And while tomorrow's race won't give me an answer (Rocky needed at least two movies to answer the question), it will take me one step closer.  

I fully intend on one day returning to the year ago today Business Week Jesse.  But while I'm still young enough to do so, I've decided to pursue the question.  I honestly don't think the actual answer matters, but the act of pursuit does.  

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