Thursday, May 12, 2016

14 things Bout triathlon

This Saturday, I'll start and aim to finish my 14th Ironman.  Little did I know that when I did my first Ironman in 2010, that I'd still be racing and that I'd continue to get more serious and competitive as the years passed...cheers to endurance sports where being young isn't an advantage!  In honor of this 14th start, I wanted to take a look at 14 of my top things all triathlon...lessons learned, top tips, and the best (to me) parts of tri.

I hope to see many of you in Texas this weekend and BEST MECHANICAL LUCK to you 

1. The number one thing I love about this sport is the people that it's brought into my life.  People always joke about the lack of social life of triathletes.  We may not have a typical social life, but I have Friday night spins with my girls that end at the wine bar, hours upon hours of uninterrupted (OK, maybe it's interrupted when we're working hard) chatting with them on the bike on a Saturday and coffee after a swim.  Now who's not social?!  Triathlon has brought me some of my best friends and fondest memories. 

2.  Comparison.  Tough for all of us not to do, but we must try not to compare ourselves to others...their body fat %, their more fancy equipment, their opinions on XYZ, etc.  Once you start comparing, you will think "man, maybe I'm not as good as her because of X".  I've learned that skinny doesn't always equal fast (simply a blend of genes and a dedication to diet), and old equipment doesn't equal slow.  Keep that in mind at the next race expo you go to and have confidence in YOU and YOUR abilities.  Isn't that why we got into this sport? To see how good we can be?!

3. Avoid the chatter race week. There is absolutely nothing you can control but YOU.  Focus on you and what you are doing in that moment to be your best.  Really, this is in life too, not just sport, right?

4. Race week it's time to stick to your plan, your tried and true regimens.  The expo has hoards of shiny new toys, fun looking sports nutrition...You're in new place with FUN food, the list goes on...Buy the treats and shiny new gear but don't use them until after race day.  Consider it a post race treat!

5.  Be nice.  Everyone's nerves race week are off the chart, which doesn't always lend itself to sweet as pie behavior.  Try to take a deep breath, remember others are stressed and see if you can you they will too!

6. Be aware.  This is an individual sport, but you are sharing the course with 2k+ of your TRIBE! This is your chosen group of people, don't let a race turn you into a massive d-bag.  The sport is small, people remember that stuff!  Look before passing, give a girl and "on your left!", and every once in a while, a "nice work" will help someone who's struggling get back on pace.  

7. Day in, day out, we work.  We "grind".  It isn't usually pretty, contrary to all of our insta pics and Twitter feed would have you believe.  You have to find the pleasure in the daily routine of triathlon.  Sometimes it's not fun, you feel like you can't add 2+2 without questioning yourself and all you can say to your partner after a day of training, is what's for dinner?! 

8. Triathlon has allowed me to find my special place in the world.  Ever since that first trip to Kona in 2010, I've been hooked.  I'm overwhelmed with emotion everytime I touch down on the Big Island.  It's got a hold on me.  I love Europe, and have many places I still want to travel, but I don't think any other place will soothe my soul or feel like home like Kona does.  

9.  Health.  I know we live on the other side of crazy with how much training we do, which can be considered too much exercise, but I am healthier now then when I started this sport.  I was still a drinking, partying gal who had packed on a few too many lbs! I loved to exercise, but I hadn't made my body my priority...we've only got the one, time to treat it right!

10.  Race morning will suck.  If you're anything like me, you're typically so nervous that it's hard to eat the 1k kcals you need pre-race, you're wondering "why did I sign up for this?!", the line at the port o potty will be long, and no matter how many times you've already gone, you will need to go again.  Pretty much until the gun goes off, you'll be a bit of a hot mess.  Try to find peace with that, know that it will be like that and accept it for part of the day.  

11. The night after an Ironman, I am hardly able to sleep.  Part of its due to the adrenaline still pumping, the gobs of caffeine that I had throughout the day and then part of it is due to just being pumped for crossing another finish line. Thank God for social media...I am typical MORE than caught up after a race 😂 I typically can't eat that much post race, so I always know that I will be starving at 2AM and have snacks on the ready for when I wake up!  Remember all that fun food you wanted to try?  Now's the time!! 

12. Self discovery- not in the new agey sense, but triathlon takes up so much time that you will truly find out what is important to you and what is not.  And you'll pretty quickly find out if you're passionate enough about the sport to minimize time spent doing other things you like in the pursuit of achieving your best.  There needs to be a balance for me, but I've learned over the past few years that the balance isn't an equal one (as MUCH as I've tried to fight this)...i don't get to drink as much wine as I want as it packs on weight, disrupts my sleeping and isn't helping me win Kona!  Darn it...can't they make a wine that does all of those things?!

13.  Discipline. Triathlon is important to me.  So is my job, my family, my friends. I want to do them ALL to the best of my abilities.  That means I need to be as efficient as possible.  I try to cram as much as possible into each day so that I can do everything that I want to do in this life.  The only downside to this is when I do try to slow down, I'm not very good at it.  I hustle around the house tidying up, unable to sit still, and continue to reply to emails quickly even when I have a bit more time, simply because I am always in that mode.  Something to work on I to savor the moment and really focus.

14.  The finish line.  No matter how your day has gone, the finish line of a race is a beautiful sight and brings with it such a feeling of accomplishment and happiness.  Have you ever looked at those pics? Hands in the air, jumps for joy (I don't know how they do it), tears of happiness, and faces full of pride for what they have just done.  We ask a lot of our body and mind on race day.  Take that last mile or two and be grateful for what you have just been ABLE to do and celebrate that.  

Now it's time to put the final preps in place for race day and relax!! 


Dana said...

Thanks for sharing, Hailey. Do your thing and I wish you al the best w/ 14.

Unknown said...

These are great words of advice!! Thank you.

Andrea Tyler said...

These are great words of advice!! Thank you.