If there is one problem in triathlon, it's that it is easy to take other people's comments, training and race results too seriously. I've seen this way of thinking steal some of my friends' love of the sport over the past few months - and find it terribly sad.
Not that this way of thinking is limited to triathlon. As a fiction writer, I've seen the same thing over and over again. Someone sells a book, or wins and award, and other people find it hard not to be jealous or afraid it negates their own work and opportunities. Again, this is terribly sad.
Because any goal you choose to tackle - whether it be a triathlon, a marathon, writing a book, or anything in between - should be all about you.
I know some people who take triathlon very seriously. They have goals and are focused on achieving them. They hate missing a workout because it might impact their training. Some of these folks take loss very hard, thinking that any performance less than what they believe they are capable of is a failure.
Interestingly, I know speedy people in the second group, and not-as-speedy folks in the first group. There's nothing to say what group you belong to. There's also no right or wrong group to be in. There's just what is right for you at any given moment. Sometimes you might be in the first group and some days you might be in the second. It's all good!
Mind you, most people probably fit somewhere in between. I know I do. I take training seriously and I set big goals (although this year, they are focused mostly on running). But I also want to have fun doing it. I don't consider any race a failure if I've finished it smiling. Because my top goal always is to Be Awesome Today. When I think about where I am now, I can't help also remembering where I started. Which was at 0.
So if you feel pressured into going faster, or going longer, or doing something beyond what you really want to do....remember that what other people do or want to do, or think you should do doesn't matter. All that matters is finding what is right for you.