A couple weeks back I competed in and finished the Santa Fe Triathlon, and boy did it teach me a lesson.
I think of myself a pretty good athlete. Picking up sports and learning new physical activities has never been that difficult for me. We all have our talents, and that is one of mine. Wanting to be fit and healthy has led me to be a personal trainer and to start a personal training company here in Santa Fe, New Mexico so I can help others achieve their health goals also.
Ever since college I have thought it would be a good challenge to do a triathlon. That year I incorporated it into my program and went for it. Problem was I didn’t have a bike and there weren’t any near me. “Oh well” I told myself “I tried.” Then about 6 years ago in LA the Malibu triathlon was coming around and I caught the need to do it again. Again I trained and raised funds for it, but right before the race, I hurt my knee. Nothing serious, but there was no way I could run long distances on it. “I tried” I told myself, but I was annoyed I again couldn’t do it.
The Santa Fe Triathlon provided me a way to get that monkey off my back.
I have always used visualization to propel me toward my goals. I have been doing it so long it wasn’t called making a “vision board” it was putting pictures on the wall of things you strived for. About a year before I moved to Santa Fe I made a “vision board,” putting all things I wanted in my life on it. And of course I put all the usual suspects on the board: career goals, family, individual goals, and within all this, something was right in the forefront: “Try a Triathlon.” I stuck it in there not knowing when it might happen.
When we moved to Santa Fe we were unpacking the boxes and my wife came in and asked if I still wanted to have my vision board up. At first my feeling was “Ah that was a long time ago, I need new goals.” And I was about to tell her to throw it away, but something stopped me. So I told her I would put it up. And after that I really didn’t look at it to much until….
Sticking to your goals will help you do the Santa Fe Triathlon…or any other goal for that matter.
I was at a Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce event talking to a group of people when all of a sudden somebody mentioned they were doing the Santa Fe Triathlon and immediately I perked up. It was the same feeling I had had the previous two times, but this time everything was lining up. It was three months away, I had a road bike, and I know how to train to keep my body in balance so I wouldn’t get hurt. Oh it was on!
I set my program and was off! And then something funny started happening to me. Negative thoughts and feeling. It didn’t make sense to me. I was SUPER ATHLETE! I could do anything! But the thoughts and the feelings stayed. And even worse they got more significant as the race got closer. And it still didn’t make sense because I had really progressed in my training. I was down 20 lbs, I had knocked off a minute per mile in my run, and I could make the 400m swim now. Demons were in my head, but I persisted.
Three fourths through my training both my wife and I noticed something on my vision board.
I had totally forgotten about this! This gave my confidence that I could do this even though I felt like my stomach was going to crawl out at any point.
It all came to a head the day of. Of course I hardly slept and my stomach resisted the food I was trying to give it. I always get a little “ancy” before anything athletic and especially before a competition, but this was way overboard. I had to make a conscious choice to go slower than I wanted. Had I gone out the way I wanted I would have destroyed my nervous system and once you push your nervous system too far, the only way to “get it back” is to rest. Resting is not the best way to compete in a race.
Then it was time for the race. I went at the pace that I felt was appropriate concentrating only on what I was doing at that time. Pretty soon I noticed that “what I was doing at the time” was passing people. I was actually kind of in shock, but I tried not to think to much about it because in the Santa Fe Triathlon the swim is last and I didn’t want to drown.
I finally go to the swim portion and I had no idea where I was in the race, so I continued along my pace. I just cleared my head and dove in. I am a very good swimmer, but I did not know if I could run, bike, and THEN swim.
Again, I stayed at my pace and swam. Once again, to my amazement, I started passing people. At fist I didn’t want to because I thought that I would get in people’s way, but once I started I really started gaining confidence. Half way though I was so stoked because I realized that this wasn’t that hard for me and that I should go faster!!! It was awesome!!!
Here I was, the big bad athlete who thought he could do just about anything athletic, being “taught a lesson” by the Santa Fe Triathlon.
My fear tried to prevent me from participating and winning, but through focusing on my goals, and win. I am getting all emotional about it right now just thinking about it!
This is not something just I can do. I’m sharing this so you’ll know that if you set your goals and focus on the task at hand you’ll know that what you are doing is winning!
CLYDESDALE DIVISION RESULTS
356 EKEMBA SOOH TOTAL PLACE #1 SANTA FE
RUN #1 23:57 1:55.4 transition
BIKE #1 39:23.0 3:00.0 transition
SWIM #2 9:18.5
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Vicki Wafer says
Impressive, Congratulations! I love how you didn’t compete – you just ran your race and upped it when you could.
Thank you for the encouragement to do my best and not worry about anyone else.
Thanks Vicki! I always say “just do YOUR maximum,” and I try and practice what I preach.
But of course you were great !! we all believe in you, and now, you too can believe more in yourself. With great love and appreciation, Suby