Tri Talk Tuesday – Lessons Learned

Holy heck, Batman. This weekend, it sucked out all my life force. This is my first time looking at a computer in four days. Blogging, what’s that?

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But it is Tuesday. I’m not sure where Monday went, my dog probably ate it up along with his birthday cake. But here I am. Better late than never I suppose. Miranda, Cynthia and I are all (barely) linked up today to chat about what Lessons we’ve learned from triathlon and racing.

Triathlon has indeed taught me a lot. However, I can’t always find the words to really say what it truly means to me since so many of the lessons I’ve taken away from triathlon are personal and internal.

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I really love the bird quote because I feel like it truly personifies everything about racing that is so spot on. People say so often about racing “Oh, I could never do that” be it a triathlon, a 5k, a half marathon, a mud run, whatever. They only consider the physical side of the challenge at hand. But honestly, most of racing is mental. It boils down to how much you believe in yourself and how much you can persevere and get yourself to that finish line.

Triathlon is about not discounting yourself and your achievements.  

At the end of the day it’s you versus yourself. Sure you’re racing against however many other hundreds or thousands of athletes, but everyone runs their own race. It is an achievement in and of itself to start, to compete, and persevere, to finish. And it’s not just about the race. These kinds of lessons that you can, and I have, taken away from my races are lessons for life. Sometimes we struggle, we suffer, we feel like everything that could go wrong is and will and does. But no matter the circumstances, sometimes just finishing is enough.

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Take for example a recent endeavor of mine; Delta Lake Triathlon. I ran this race a few weeks ago now under less than ideal circumstances in terms of the amount of sleep and nutrition I got going into it. When half way through the bike leg I started to unravel and I hit the run course thinking that I was in for my worst race ever. I was suffering, I cried, and huffed and made a fit, but I finished. Not well, not to my standards I set for myself, but I finished. And I felt like I had the worst race possible. And then, miraculously, I won. I took first place for my age group. And I realized that my accomplishments are not to discounted. Every step I took in the horrid run was a step of mental strength and desire and that is not to be discredited.

I’ve learned a lot from triathlon. I’ve learned that I am strong, I am capable, and I am more than I give myself credit for. Honestly, I believe everyone should have to do something that scares them, something they think about and they’re immediate thought it “I could never” because you never know unless you tri, and you’d be surprised how much you’ll surprise yourself in the process. In the finish.

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When I ran my first triathlon it was on a whim, on a personal need to know I can do this because I decided it to be so. And I did. And in that moment I was so alive. Then I decided to up my game and because it is incredible what you can do if you just decide to do so. Life is too short not to chase your dreams. Life gets in the way, so why wait?

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When I registered for Ironman 70.3 Syracuse, it was on a tri-high and I thought, “No problem“, then through all the training, you waiver. It’s hard not to second guess yourself, to think maybe you’re in over your head, to doubt your ability. But that idea, that never discrediting yourself idea, it is so important. I questioned myself plenty during Syracuse training, but I finished. I finished strong, under my goal time, I did that. I had support and love and encouragement from my family throughout the process, but at the end of the day I was the one in that lake, the one pedaling that bike, and the one mentally convincing myself to take just one more step up those brutal hills on the run course. I believed in myself and I was right. I was amazing.

Triathlon and racing is not all about the physical component. You have to be committed mentally, emotionally, all of it. And the things we can learn from triathlon are beautiful, incredible lessons that aren’t just specific to racing or triathlon. Knowing that I can accomplish such extreme challenges in traithlon has bled over into my real life and the confidence and mental fortitude I’ve developed from it is something that I will always value and cherish. It has made me a stronger person physically, mentally, and emotionally. It has provided me with the knowledge that I can do anything with enough determination, grit, and hard work. It has humbled me and given me confidence all at once. It has made me who I want to be. And that is a beautiful thing.

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Next week’s theme is Race Etiquette! Feel free to link up and join in!

20 Thoughts on “Tri Talk Tuesday – Lessons Learned

  1. Love this post! So inspiring:)

  2. I have just taken my first and little step towards a triathlon and I have already learned that I can. I can anything that I set my mind into and work hard to achieve.
    I don’t feel comfortable about riding a bike. In fact, I am really afraid of it. Just being able to do those humble 11km was major to me.
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience!
    Debbie Rodrigues recently posted…Triathlon: The First StepsMy Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 7, 2014 at 8:47 am said:

      You’ll learn to love that bike soon enough! Congrats on deciding on triathlon! You’ll be hooked =)

  3. There is so much emotion in this post. I found myself reading it, nodding my head. I don’t do tris (though I want to in the next few years, once I buy a bike), but so much of what you said relates to my events as well. So well written, awesome post!
    The Famous Mudder recently posted…Week 21 RecapMy Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 7, 2014 at 8:48 am said:

      It’s definitely lessons anyone can take away from anything they pour their heart and soul into. Be it racing or anything else they’re passionate about it. And I can imagine the kind of lessons you take away from your crazy races!

  4. Attempting my first Olympic distance tri on Saturday and this is what I needed to read this week – especially the bird sitting on a tree quote!

  5. I can relate to so much of this…and I love your choice of quotes! I have trouble finding the words to describe how training and racing triathlons makes me feel.. .it’s all so internal!
    Kristin (@SweatCourage) recently posted…IMMT Training Recap- TWO WEEKSMy Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 7, 2014 at 9:10 am said:

      It is very internal. Feel free to steal all the images if you want.

  6. Love it !! And yes, we learn so much about ourselves while running/tri-ing.
    The one that always surprises me is – was I always this stubborn? 🙂
    Smitha @ FauxRunner recently posted…Race Day PreparationsMy Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 7, 2014 at 10:01 am said:

      Ha! Yes! I can’t figure out when I became so stubborn but that’s definitely part of it!

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more. Triathlons have taught me to give myself more credit for being strong and dedicated. I love the mental power it requires because it’s surprisingly tough to believe in yourself six hours into a race when you’re dead tired. But when you do, it’s the best feeling in the world 🙂

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 7, 2014 at 10:03 am said:

      The mental toughness is one of my favorite side effects I’ve gained from racing!

  8. I love the bird quote. It rings so true. Sometimes I beat myself up so much on the inside that I forget how far I have come. This was a great post to remind us all to stop that and be proud! Thanks again for hosting the link-up.

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 7, 2014 at 10:05 am said:

      Thanks for participating in the link up! It is important to stop and be proud of our accomplishments sometimes. It’s so easy to get caught up in always trying to do it all without realising how far we’ve come.

  9. I love this, while I don’t race tris, it was so inspiring to read. You are, of course, AMAZING and I am always in awe of everything you accomplish!
    Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles recently posted…MRI Surge & Beta Product ReviewMy Profile

  10. I especially connect with what you have to say about running your own race. Yes, it can be a competitive environment and everyone wants to do their best, but more importantly it’s about the experience and doing something that challenges the mind and body to the extreme. I have learned so much about myself as a person just in the short few months I have been doing triathlons. I think every training day and every race teaching a new lesson, both big and small.
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted…Cascade Lakes Relay – Team Scrambled LeggsMy Profile

    • Courtney@ The TriGirl Chronicles on August 7, 2014 at 10:07 am said:

      It definitely doesn’t take long to learn something from racing. Glad you found your love for triathlon! And yes, even the small take aways are very worth their weight.

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