3/6/17

Enjoying the athletic journey


It was around this time of the year, 11 years ago, that I found myself just a few weeks away from what would be the most amazing 8 months for my body.

In April, I finished my first Boston Marathon (my 2nd marathon).

                                                    
In May, I finished my first half IM (Disney half ironman). Who knew that a week or so later I would meet Karel!

In November, I finished my first Ironman (IMFL) and qualified for the 2007 Ironman World Championship.




As a competitive athlete for much of my lie, I enjoy performing with my body. I always set big goals for myself and I make no excuses when it comes to working hard for my goals. Success is all relative as it relates to expectations for race day but for the past 11 years, I have experienced a lot of success as an endurance triathlete. 

Now that I am in my 11th year of endurance triathlon racing (only focusing on half IM distance racing this year), I think back to when I started and I find myself with the same level of excitement, happiness and joy for training as I did when I started. Actually, now that we live in Greenville, I am sure that my love for training is greater than ever before. 

Seeing that my body is 11 years older than when I started, I believe the only thing that has kept me enjoying this athletic journey is the appreciation that I have for my body and what it allows me to do. Knowing that many athletes create great stress when it comes to high athletic expectations, stretching the comfort zone and over analyzing results, I've always tried to keep training fun and enjoyable. Even though I push my body and it often leaves me exhausted, sore and with some niggles, the preparation for race day is truly an enjoyable experience for me. 

In sport, especially the sport of triathlon which involves three separate sports, there are always distractions and uncontrollable factors that can make training and racing extremely stressful and unpredictable. I think it's normal to never feel fully "prepared" and to always feel nervous for an upcoming event, regardless of how well you trained or your previous racing experience.

But when we have an element of pleasure and enjoyment for our journey, we can be more focused, push harder and above all, feel a greater sense of personal satisfaction. And above all, training for an event is much more than being prepared for race day. Training for an athletic event helps us be prepared for the unpredictability of life. Sport teaches us patience, problem solving, how to be comfortable being uncomfortable, how to overcome tough situations and so much more. 

In 13 days, I will kick of my 11th season of endurance triathlon racing with the Great Clermont Olympic distance triathlon, which will conclude our 4.5 day Trimarni Clermont training camp. Two weeks later, I will be racing the Haines City 70.3 with Karel.

Over the past 11 years, I have developed a great love for challenging myself and for stretching my comfort zone while my focus for every workout is not for a specific outcome on race day but to be prepared to perform. Only time will tell what my body can do this season but for now, I am truly enjoying the journey.