So I'm the slowest person on the triathlon team. I think about this quite frequently during our practices. Especially during our bike and run workouts. I always prepare to push hard, but then after 10 minutes or a big hill on the bike, I would first lose the draft and then fall significantly behind where I don't see them anymore and I just have to focus on myself. I really can't tell if it's my bike or I'm just slow. It's probably a combination of both, with me being slow being a bigger factor. Sometimes there's another person who's slow on the bike or run, and it feels much easier doing it with someone else.
I think it's kind of funny. Because it's literally triathlon. It's an intense sport and some of my teammates have an age and experience advantage. I remember I was very average at running in high school, so I've felt comparatively slow before and wondered why I'm so slow. Even though I wasn't that good, I still did it. I wanted to be healthy, move around, and it was best thing I could be doing.
My little motto for triathlon practice is "show up, don't die, and don't quit" from Visa, and the mantra "this is normal, this is normal" during the races which was borrowed from a runner I think I heard from outsideonline.
I looked online, and I found the quote, "no matter how slow you run, you're lapping everyone on the couch," which is pretty funny, and a great article by James Clear with the quote, "mastering your craft isn't nearly as important as pushing yourself," which is pretty relevant.
Honestly I don't feel slow for the races though. Last race, I felt very smooth, and I think that matters more.