by Coach Steve
What percentage of The World's population actually gets 'off the
couch' and does a workout where they move under their own power
and get their heart rate up? Now how many of them have competed
in any endurance sport during their lifetime? And how many of those
athletes have raced three disciplines nonstop in one day? Very,
very few. Triathletes are a unique group.
It's cool to move efficiently—and fast—when you're
the motor. The uninitiated are either in awe, or just don't get
it. Describing the satisfaction of tuning our bodies and minds through
endurance sports is a challenge; sometimes it's just easier keep
moving and teach by example.
How fortunate are we to have the health and leisure to participate
with workout time 100% dedicated to ourselves? We're also fortunate
to have the support of our significant others, kids, and friends
that wait for us to get back after workouts. And then we drag our
'support crew' to races—have you ever watched an Ironman from
start to finish? It's inspiring, but a very long day.
Our events are in fabulous sunny locations (OK, usually); parks
with pristine lakes; beautiful beaches with clear ocean swims. They
close the race venue for the morning so we can safely participate
in our event like kids on a playground. Sometimes they even shut
down the roads so we can crank through the streets like Formula
1 drivers—with a few less horsepower. Show appreciation to
the race hard-working organizers, even if they did charge a bit
too much for entry :) Thank the volunteers.
We get to spend the day in skimpy Lycra: hard bodies, average bodies,
even some large bodies, but no one judges on race day.
You may not be the most genetically talented; you may not have
been a world class athlete in your youth, but you've trained for
three disciplines anyway. Maybe you're not fast enough to be competitive
in your chosen sport, but if you can get pretty good at three there's
a shot at placing among your peers. You’re brave enough to
start the swim among a mass of flailing arms and legs, hammer on
the bike with burning quads, then start the run with miles of racing
already in your legs. Triathlon is about self-actualization, finding
So when you get to a race, honor the spirit of the event by putting
in your best effort. Compete yes, but only against yourself. Compare
your race day effort to the less fit, less experienced, less prepared
you. And if the day doesn't go as well as you’d like, take
satisfaction in the effort and dedication that prepared you. Sometimes
effort measures success better than results.
And if you win, enjoy your 15-minutes of fame. Acknowledge your
adoring fans; be courteous with the press and humble during your
victory speech! :) You may not always be in this position, so savor
the moment and collect your memories.
Enjoy the day and take in the experience. Not just the competition,
but the positive energy of the event. When you look back years later,
your place on the results page will matter less than the feel of
the experience and the pride gained by daring to participate.