Goood morning, Reno! These Robin egg blue skies are pretty freaking sweet, which means that summer is upon us, which also means you need to be outside as much as possible! Ah, the glorious sunshine.
It’s no secret that September is my favorite month, with May coming in a close second, but June always holds a special place in my heart. 2013 went down in the record books for soooo many reasons, but one of the many cherries on top was the completion of my first IRONMAN in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in June of that year. Craziness!
At the heart of the matter, it’s a very simple event: you swim a bit, bike a really long ways, and then somehow figure out how to tack a marathon onto the end. Gross oversimplification, of course, but you get the idea… for a more detailed read on what I learned from all those races, you can check out this old post here. Too much to share without losing you lovely readers to a mid-morning nap!
I look back a mere five years ago, and think on how much has changed in such a short period of time. Shoot, I just found an old picture from twelve years ago when my friends and I road tripped to Six Flags and the beach. That was a shock seeing how young we looked! Bunch of weenies, haha!
It’s hard to convey how much my first, full length triathlon was NOT about the physical accomplishments. I mean, yes, it took a silly amount of training and preparation, but crossing that finish line wasn’t about the swim, or the bike course, that horrid run, or my race pace, but was all about the emotions, the investment of time and resources, pushing through the super challenging workouts and life experiences, and the personal growth such an adventure brings. It was also about the road trip and the stories exchanged during the 14 hour drive there and back. Literally “the journey.”
In some ways, it was about finding myself… and in other ways, it had nothing to do with me at all. When I see friends doing incredible things, it’s an inspiration, especially when those races or adventures are so far out of my comprehension that they bring me to find ways to chip away at new goals, only to one day find myself at the starting line. I possess no great abilities or willpower; I simply plod along, drawing from the motivational power that the people I surround myself with generate. Encouraging strengths in others help you unearth areas about yourself… areas that let you dig deep and blow past your comfort zone.
A plan slowly emerged out of the murky darkness, was followed and then discarded and revisited many times over the year and a half of specific prep that it took to get ready for Coeur d’Alene. As with all things, the first time you summit a gargantuan mountain is the lasting experience you will never forget. That first time you break through the finish line tape of an event (race or non-race) that at some point had been impossible, unreachable, or borderline hopeless, you immediately understand that it is now not only possible and attainable, but that you are perfectly capable of accomplishing it with greatness!
I recently went on a really, really, really long trail run that I had not trained for nor did I have any specific prep time invested in other than a few 8, 9, or 10 mile jaunts in the past month. I mean, yes, it totally sucked, but I got through it with my friend, mostly because I knew I could do it, not because I had been preparing for it. Establishing a base level of confidence is critical in getting through the challenges life brings, or the ones you seek yourself, and it was truly an issue of mind over matter. I have slowly figured out that that is precisely what all of these various races and training activities I participate in are for – preparing me for the moment when I am unprepared!
At the end of the day, those who inspire courageous and fearless behavior to those around them are those who are confident in their decision making, their teams, and their place in life, and will be the ones who make it in the long haul.