Race Registration And The Proust Questionairre
“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”
March 1st was the official first day of early registration for the Santa Rosa Island Triathlon. I filled out my form, paid my fees and then realized that I was shaking and felt like I was going to throw up. Nerves. Mine tend to be on high alert at all times. I said to myself, “Grant. Slow your roll, girl. It’s only registration. The race is still 7 months away.” I then realized that although I may need one the day of the triathlon, popping a Valium or a Dramamine on race day isn’t going to be an option. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a Valium, but I did take Dramamine on my first snorkeling trip in Key Largo last year and felt my apprehension about face-to-face contact with sea life dissolve into bliss. However enticing self-medicating may seem, I think I’ll want my nerves and the accompanying adrenaline in full force during the race.
For example, when I’m about to hop on stage to sing and I’m too calm and overly indifferent about what I’m about to do, that’s when I will forget the words to my own songs. That’s when I will magically forget how to play a simple four-chord progression. A little edge makes me more focused, more in the moment and always makes for a better performance. That has been a hard-won realization though, because for most of my life I thought being nervous meant that I must be under-prepared, not good enough, doomed to fail or all of the above. Deciding to compete in a triathlon is one more step in the process of learning to harness anxiety, not take myself too seriously and to put a muzzle on the exasperatingly unfriendly voice in my head that tells me I can’t do something.
The most overwhelming part of the registration form was the section that asked me to estimate the amount of time it would take me to complete the triathlon. They might as well have asked me to fill out a Proust Questionnaire for the amount of analytical deep thinking resulting from one innocent little question. For those wondering what the hell a Proust Questionnaire is, its a series of thought-provoking questions created in the late 1800’s designed to help you trawl the depths of your personality in hopes of gaining a deeper level of self-knowledge. I first discovered it in Vanity Fair Magazine and read it faithfully every month. Its name is derived from the set of answers given by writer Marcel Proust in 1890. Here are three examples:
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What is your greatest fear?
On what occasion do you lie?
Hmmm….On what occasion do I lie? Well, is it lying, technically, to say that I’ll finish the triathlon in under two hours when deep down I’m not sure that I won’t be cruising up to the finish line after they’ve actually taken down the finish line and re-opened the roads? I don’t think so. Finish times aside, my only goal in this entire odyssey is to complete the triathlon and hopefully learn something about myself along the way. For someone who went to superhuman lengths (setting a record for most semesters spent as a guidance office helper) to avoid ever having to add PE to my school schedule, signing up for my first triathlon is pretty darn exciting.
Next: My first 10% build week, perfectly functioning hamstrings and why having great girlfriends makes your workouts better and you a better person.