"My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man's doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny." ~ Elaine Maxwell
Body marking. Elites and beginners. Transitions. Running shoes. Wetsuits. Waves.
Swim. Bike. Run.
Preparation, and Life
"Success must be felt within before it can be seen on the outside." ~ Unknown
The sport of triathlon involves three different sports, all combined during one race. Swimming, biking, running. To find success in this sport takes practice and dedication. And this all begins with the mental preparation in order to succeed at the physical challenges. Being excellent in only one of these three sports isn't going to win the race for you. Life Lesson: In life, we have many things we do. Those things are "won", those things are improved in the dark hours when no ones watching. It's that time out there, when everyone else is sleeping, watching television, going "through the motions" – that you become who you truly can be. It's in how well we're preparing ourselves – in body, mind, and spirit.
The Swim, and Life
The swim portion of triathlon is the most challenging part of the race for me. I consider myself a mediocre swimmer, at best. And even with practice time in a local pool, I still find this to be the most difficult portion of the race.
- During the first triathlon this summer, a tragic event happened. One swimmer, new to the sport, died of a heart attack while swimming. This was a very sad moment to what was an otherwise wonderful day. Life Lesson: Life is short. And we never know when our time will be up here on earth. Seize the moments in your life that give you much meaning. Live each day to the fullest.
- During the first triathlon, I was challenged in getting a rhythm that worked for me, slowing me down, and causing me to revert to different swim strokes in an effort to get a normal pace going. In the second triathlon, I focused on keeping myself calm to start with, and it all went much smoother. Life Lesson: Sometimes in life, as much as we prepare – things don't always go as planned. And when that happens, we can make adjustments. Change for the sake of improvement. And then when we find something that works, use that as the barometer of how to do this in the future.
Transition, and Life
Between each event, there is what is called "transition". This is the place where you switch from swimming to biking, and then again from biking to running. Transition is just as the name suggests – a transition from one thing to another.
- I finish the swim – exhausted, wet, barefoot and shirtless. And now it's time to find my bike and head out. Get a drink, put on a shirt, helmet, gloves and shoes. And go. Transitioning from one event to the next. Life Lesson: This happens in our lives too. Moments where we have to switch gears, maybe drop one thing and start another. And in these moments, we can sometimes get irritated, frustrated, angry. Or – we can choose to have an attitude that is filled with abundance. And in those moments of transition, really let the experience of the moment "be".
- I finish the bike – put on running shoes, get some more water, a few bites of a nutrition bar and head out. Life Lesson: Proper nourishment is important for our growth. And this is more than just nutritional nourishment to feed our physical bodies. This is also mental and spiritual nourishment to feed our souls. Do this – all of this – and you will be on a path of having a body that is fed in so many more ways than just the food we eat.
The Bike, and Life
Two wheels, out on the open road. My favorite portion of the whole event.
- Helmet or no helment. Gloves or no gloves. Bike shoes or running shoes. Road bike or mountain bike. Lots of choices. Some things are required (like helmets – your head is worth protecting!), some things add a level of comfort (gloves, and bike). Some things improve performance (bike shoes and bike type). Life lesson: In life, you'll have decisions to make. Some will be for your own safety and protection. Others will provide comfort in your life. And others will help you improve your performance. All of these are important decisions, and if you can find some harmony in your life, by giving all of these areas focus – then you've reached a spot that brings the connection of body and soul together.
- Some parts of the race are just easier than others – based on terrain, personal experience, and preference. Life Lesson: In life, too, some things we do will be more enjoyable and fun than others. That doesn't mean the "not so fun" parts don't have to be done. Maybe we forge forward ourselves and do them. Maybe we bring in someone else to do these things (we don't have to go it alone). In the end, it is all part of the journey, and even in things which hold great meaning for us, there will be moments that aren't our favorites. And if it does indeed all matter, then we'll find a way to do this too. And our journey will continue.
The Run, and Life
The last leg of the race. A 5K (3.1 mile) run, after just swimming and running. The end is near, yet still so far.
- Some courses are flat (the second triathlon) and some are not (the first triathlon). Life Lesson: In life, you'll have some days that are easy, and others that are more difficult. Through it all, you dig deep in those things that matter – and you'll find within you a way to keep going. Of those things which matter deeply, the path, no matter how overgrown or scary it seems, is so worth traveling down. Keep believing in you. And keep going after all that matters.
- Starting to tire, the run can prove challenging after everything else that's taken place. Life Lesson: There will be days where we'll feel exhausted. There will be moments where we'll want to stop. And in these moments, it's important for us to realize that we have a choice to make. Is it worth continuing on? Only YOU can answer that question. And in these moments, this is when we define what has the greatest meaning to us, and what' s worth fighting for.
Post Race, and Life
The finish line. Completion of the race, what an exhilarating feeling!
- Crossing that finish line, coming in at the crowd is cheering you on – what an exciting finish, especially after moments that have been challenging out there on the course. Life Lesson: Being out on the course, or being out there in life, doing our thing – this can sometimes be the lonely or less glamorous part of our life. And then you reach the finish line – you reach that spot you've been striving for – what a place to be at! And that's one more step along the journey, and one that feels very satisfying.
- In the first triathlon, one of the competitors was an 83 year old lady. Out there with everyone else, competing! What a shining example of never giving up. Life Lesson: There are probably several life lessons we can take from "Agnes" and what she did. For today – this young (at heart) lady showed that we can do whatever we set our heart to – and we don't have to be limited by what the world tells us the limits are. Set your own limits, and reach for the stars when no one believes except you. And be so awesome in it all! You can!
"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." ~ T. S. Eliot
Life is what you make it to be. It doesn't matter what your social status is, how much money you have, where you've been to, or how successful the world thinks you are. What matters is that which comes from the inside. What matters is going out into your life, listening to your heart, and trying those things which have deep meaning for you. Life is full of so many possibilities, for each one of us.
"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you." ~ Dr. Seuss
Go out into the world today. Be you. That deep-down you that is your soul! Let it shine. Let YOU shine!