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Posts Tagged ‘Triathlon’

As you may have read in a previous post, I recently completed a Triathlon…and although it was great to have actually completed this feat, it brought out more of my competitive spirit that had not been seen since I made All State in High School Soccer (yes…soccer).  One of my cohorts told me that if there was any type of competitiveness in me, doing a TRI would certainly bring it out!  Sure enough, I’m prepping myself to be stronger, faster and more focused this next go-round.

Which brings me to this big point that I want to share: one of the biggest things I learned about myself in that race is that I need to keep it mental.  I know this because I ran into issues with

  • The Unknown: it was my first race.  And regardless how many books I may have read, advice I received from seasoned athletes, training I had under my belt, it was all new.  Transitions, the amount of people in my way, bubbles underwater during the swim – although it was great, it was unchartered territory for me.
  • Intimidation: hey, it was my first race…This rarely happens to me as I’m one to do everything I can to get myself prepped.  But seeing these athletes with their bikes, cool looking tri-tops and (let’s face it) triathlete-looking physiques.  I’m no slouch, but certainly not going to gracing any magazine covers (yet).
  • Pacing: come on now, it was my first race…!  Excitement and nerves got the best of me in certain spots – I lost good form, my flow was a bit off and I let little things get the best of me too often.  Had to keep reminding myself to stay calm and carry on to reach my happy race place.

For some, getting mental means getting in that zone where you have everything set and prepared.  For me, it means that I’ve prepared enough to stay loose and be flexible with whatever may come my way…

Be it in a race or with business, it pays to keep it mental.  You will always have moments where things are completely new to you; when you’re not the smartest person in the room; or when you’re so nervous that your hands get clammy, you start stuttering or speed through to the end of a presentation.

Get mental. Do your prep work. Find out who’s going to be in the board room and get some background info on all the players. Breath.  Pace yourself. Breath some more.  Find your ‘loose + easy Homer’ place and keep it all in perspective.

What do you do to keep it mental? How do you handle the unknown?

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Waking up at 4:32 in the morning is never something I have planned.  In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find me waking up before 5am – ever.  Unless I’m taking a family member or a good friend to the airport, I’m not doing it.

This past Sunday was an exception.  Not only was I expecting it, I was looking forward to it.  I had a gear bag packed with swimming goggles, a towel, a bike helmet, water bottles and directions to my first triathlon…!…You read that right…

A triathlona real triathlon…no, not an ironman, but a legitimate triathlon sanctioned by the USAT and full of eager spectators, supporters and seasoned athletes.  A triathlon that I was going to participate in as an ‘athlete’ … yep…!

After months of preparation and training, I was both nervous and excited.

Truth be told, the last few weeks before the event, my nervous: excited ratio was about half-n-half.  The last few days, that ratio was closer to 80% nervous, 20% excited. 

 

What was I thinking?!…I’m in over my head…!…I need to put in more swimming time…!….relax, it’s your race – it’s just you out there…you’re not racing for a specific time…!…I haven’t done nearly enough hills! …I need to hydrate more…!…what am I doing…?!…why…!?…breathe, Nars…just breathe…!


And then, before I knew it… it all began.

That Dark Spot in the Pool (Top Portion) is Me

Endurance had an entirely new level of meaning to me.  This is a freakin’ triathlon! Even though I had drills, regimens and plans that I worked on, it was still quite hard – physically and mentally.

I’ll even go so far as to say that it was a harder ‘mental game’ for me.  Even though I put in some hours with my training, I was overwhelmed with a sensation that I don’t often experience (truly).

I was intimidated.

There were some stellar athletes there with incredible form and countless hours & races they had up on me.  I showed up with a fresh out-of-the-box helmet and a rented (and quite nice) bike.  But I remembered the advice of a good buddy a mine who’s a former marine (although they’d say there’s no such thing) – he said it came from some sort of British saying: “Stay Calm and Carry On.”

And that’s just what I did…

  • as I was killing myself in the pool
  • when I was grinding my way up those hills
  • and even after I saw a 60+ year-old athlete pass me by (this guy was in incredible shape – a true inspiration)


Crossing the Finish Line

I stayed calm and carried on.

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I’m glad I did.  Cause even though it wasn’t a ‘pretty’ race for me, I can say three big things:

  1. I finished the race
  2. I fully intend on getting a BETTER time in my next race
  3. I can now say that I am a triathlete – a rookie, but a triathlete nonetheless

Just need to stay calm and carry on.

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