“Ready” to tri

Ready – 1) being in a state of fitness for some experience or action; 2) having a desire or inclination

Ready seems to be the word that is at the top of the vocabulary list right now as we are gearing up for the MIM triathlon.  “I don’t know that i’m ready.”  “Do you think i’m ready?”  “What if i’m not ready?”  “I don’t know that i’ll race since i’m not ready.”

Take note that the 2 definitions of “ready” encompass both your physical and mental readiness.  To be “ready” you must train and prepare your body but you must also train and prepare your mind.  I find it interesting, and a tad disconcerting, that some of the tri group are doubting their readiness for race day.  This is simply doubting their mental readiness.  I know these people have a stronger mental muscle than they’re showing when they’re allowing these negative thoughts.  As the coach, I am certain that every person in the group is physically ready!

How do you know if you’re ready?  We have been swimming at least 1000 – 2000 yards (depending on Sprint or Olympic) at every single swim for the past several months.  The race is 440 m.  Looks to me like you’re physically ready.  We’ve been cycling 20+ miles at every ride.  The race is 12 miles.  Looks to me like you’re physically ready.  We’ve been running 3-7 miles at every run.  The race is 3 miles.  Looks to me like you’re physically ready.   So, the question is “are you mentally ready?”

If I backed out of everything new that was thrown my way that I was nervous about or didn’t feel “ready” for, I would live a pretty dull life.  When I headed down to Oxford for the Rebel Man, i had serious doubts but I knew i needed to push these aside.  I kept telling myself, “you know you can stay afloat for 440 meters, even if it requires floating or dog paddling.  You know you can bike 15 miles, even if it’s slower than you’d like.  You know you can do a 5K, even if it means you have to walk some.”  I knew in my gut that I could manage all of those distances.  I was still terrified.  My swim was terrible and I was disappointed and even had some moments of embarrassment and I had to make the conscious decision to squash those negative thoughts and tell myself that I deserved to be there as much as anyone else, that I was ready, that i’m no quitter, and that I was determined to persevere.  I was less than 150 meters in with more than half to go and i started the “i’ll never do this,  i’m going to drown,  i can’t swim this distance,  i can’t breathe.  i can’t reach” thoughts and I knew I needed to nip them in the bud.  I knew I had to stop the negativity so I began to repeat to myself, “you can do this, you are doing this, you can float, you will not drown, you’re doing great.”  I cannot imagine how disappointed I would be had I not pushed through and done the race.  Believe it or not, it ended up being one of my greatest racing experiences to date.  I really believe that it’s these moments that make you strong.

Do you think Keith felt “ready” as we were driving to Louisville, KY knowing that he was going to swim 2.4 miles in the river, bike 112 miles, and then run his first marathon?!?!  Of course he had doubts.  He wouldn’t be normal had he not.  He had actually never completed any of these full distances and had certainly never strung them together but he knew that he wanted it bad enough he would persevere.  I can tell you, even when doubts would arise, he never once thought of backing out of the race.  He believed in his training and fortunately for him, has incredible mental strength.  He was determined to believe that he was ready.

Perseverance- continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition

If you didn’t feel a little uncertain when embarking on something new and unknown, you would probably be a little abnormal.  You cannot tell me that you can’t swim 400 meters when you’ve been swimming more than that!  You cannot tell me that you can’t bike this distance when you’ve been biking more than this.  It may just be that you check your ego at the door and decide that you might not do as well as you would like in one of these disciplines and that’s exactly what makes up a triathlon.  As Kathryn Bertine, pro triathlete says, “triathletes embrace the concept of embarking on a journey, without knowing how it will end. Living in the moment and trying your best without any guarantee things are going to go as planned.”  I think this is the perfect summation of what it means to be a triathlete.

Here’s to being ready!  Here’s to persevering!  Here’s to becoming a triathlete 🙂

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