On April 16, 1 hour and 14 minutes before the deadline, I submitted my entry to the Mindset Triathlon Essay Contest. Fifteen essays on the philosophy of triathlon will be chosen for publication in “The Life of Tri,” an anthology “exploring the meaning and inspiration behind the sport of triathlon.” Finalists will be announced on May 18.
When Coach G first told us about this contest, I began thinking about what I might write. I had a possible theme in mind, and I composed random sentences, even paragraphs, in my head as I swam laps and folded laundry. After I put all my thoughts on paper, however, I discovered I had a big problem. The essay had to be a minimum of 2000 words, and I only had about 1400. I thought about all kinds of things I might include to make the essay longer, but I discarded most of them as soon as I wrote them down. Every time I added something, I deleted something else, so my net word count remained stuck at 1400, then 1500. Expounding on what triathlons mean to me was proving quite difficult, and I was getting desperate as the deadline loomed. I lost sleep, my lunch hour, and training time as I struggled to write just 501 more words. Then, much like muscling through a tough hill on my bike, I found the necessary words and completed my essay.