As an English teacher, I refuse to accept the triple exclamation point. However, it’s necessary for this post. I know a lot about a lot; I know nothing about a lot more. I recently started training for my first triathlon. I’m solid on the running, and I figured I’d be okay with the other elements too. So, I got a bike and started riding the twenty miles. The first time made it clear that I was going to be fine with that part too. Next, I got a pool pass. First time out, I swam a mile. Again, totally okay. How hard could this triathlon stuff be?

My training hit a wall. The running was getting hotter and hotter, as the Florida summer began. The bike caused me such butt hurt that I dreaded it. I realized my swim technique did not at all incorporate my legs. I was ready to give up the idea.

Then I decided to ask for help. A friend of mine had been a swimmer in college. I asked if she’d mind coaching me a bit. Since we’ve started, my swimming has become more efficient. More importantly, we’ve created a better bond. She seems almost excited to help me. I try to stay teachable, even doing silly drills. I’ve asked a friend who’s a cyclist to ride with me; she, too, readily accepted.

Now, I don’t plan on even placing at this or any triathlon, but I’m better off having asked for help. I’m accountable to everyone who helps me along the way. I’ve strengthened my relationships with others, and perhaps (I can only hope) encouraged them to be/stay active. Maybe they will want to try a triathlon too. They are now invested in my success.

Asking for help was hard; I didn’t want to impose, and I didn’t want to put anyone in the uncomfortable position of trying to tell me what to do (I can be stubborn). Ultimately, I couldn’t go on the way I was going.

Whether it be asking a friend or getting a personal trainer, seek out someone who knows more about something than you do. Ask for help, and use the help. You’ll be surprised at other’s willingness to invest time in you. Times three exclamation points.

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