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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.