This weekend a bunch of us went up to Cedar Point to participate in a half ironman relay triathlon. Two ladies did the entire half ironman on their own. I have shared a lot of the event via Facebook using videos and pictures so you all can see what it was like. Here, I want to reflect more on how the impact it had on all of us.
The distances for the half ironman (which is officially called 70.3 because “ironman” is a trademarked name) are:
1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run
I did the swim. It was the longest distance I have ever swam in my life! I went through my usual routine right before a race. I put listen to some music, run for about a mile, and then get my wetsuit on and get in the water. The water was cold at first but it was really the perfect temperature for a race. It was also really slugy. It had stormed the week of the race which churned up a lot sediment. When I got out of the water I had a lot of slug on my face and my friends were so nice not to point that out or take pictures.
Besides that, it was a perfect day. Lake Erie was calm–probably the calmest water ever–and I was only doing the swim so I was ready. I felt really confident, but nervous standing on the beach. I don’t like to feel overconfident about anything but I felt good.
Swimming in the pool to train, I began to glean insight from swimming. What else is there to think about, right?? I realized that if I kept swimming no matter how tired I was I would get the the end of the pool. Just like a lot in life, we have to keep persisting towards our goal in order to reach it. I knew that all I had to do is swim to the next bouy that marked the course. I just needed to keep my eyes on that. Keeping your eye on your goal will help you reach it. If I didn’t check my position every fourth or fifth stroke, I might start veering off in the wrong direction and then have to back track. Sounds like some of my clients’ weight loss efforts! I knew all this going in. Even in familiar territory we can lose our way…
We entered the water in a typical wave fashion, where everyone just runs in the water and starts swimming. Its a big free-for-all. Something about all those people really FREAKS ME OUT. I totally lost it! Before I knew it I was hyperventilating and couldn’t catch my breath! Ugh! I was so frustrated and scared and I thought about the lifeguards out there who would just scoop me out and rescue me from this whole thing. But there was NO WAY I was going to do that! Not only would I NEVER live that down, but I also had teammates counting on me and I couldn’t let them down. I also knew that I could do it. I just had to put out the effort and trudge forward.
I thought about how incredibly mental this all is. Each bouy was a speck in the distance-I could hardly see it and it seemed like it took so much effort and felt like it wasn’t getting any closer. But eventually it did and then I passed the next one, and that blue arch at the end that I had to run thru–I couldn’t even see that until I got to the second to last bouy. Gosh, I thought it would NEVER come!! My arms started to ache but it wasn’t too bad–I knew I was just being whiney.
Wow! This was just like life!! I found myself in total self doubt WHILE moving forward! I started beating myself up because I felt like I was the last one in the water (NOT true) and I was letting down my team for being slow (also NOT true).
I realized that the goal isn’t always visible while we are moving forward toward it. But we need to know where it is and that we are doing the right things to move forward. The keys to success in ANYTHING are:
-having a goal and keeping it in your mind’s eye
-having smaller benchmarks to mark your progress and staying focused on each one–knowing that its part of a bigger picture
-knowing what to do to move toward your goal and DOING it no matter what (I couldn’t just stop–i had to keep moving forward).
-stop listening to negative self talk–know that its NOT true.