On May 6th, I completed the St. George Half Ironman, ranked as one of the most difficult half-Ironman races in existence. And boy, was it hard! I had trained and prepared the best I could, but sometimes you can’t know exactly how to prepare until you are in the middle of the event. So, all said and done, I want to share with you the five things that got me through the (name again) Ironman. Enjoy!
- Eat salt – Or your muscles will cramp up and you will die and get hit by a car. (At least that is what my coach Hector said! Maybe he was exaggerating…just a bit.) But for real though, when you are sweating profusely like you are during the half (or at least I was!) you lose a lot of electrolytes, the “spark plugs” for your energy. You need to replenish these stores or you will be out of the race before you know what hits you.
Life lesson: what do you need to maintain your momentum in the pursuit of your goals? Do you know yourself and what is sustainable for your own body, mind, and spirit? Are you taking the time to find rest, inspiration, and community – whatever it is you need to not experience burnout? Are you willing to make those things a priority even if others think you’re “not working hard enough?” or “being selfish”?
- Check your ego at the door – and try YOUR best! People are going to pass you – people older than you, fatter than you, younger than you, less ripped than you — they will glide past you like you are a toddler trying to walk for the first time. Don’t think about that. Run YOUR race. No worries – keep your head down.
- That being said, be competitive!– win, beat, own, take others on! It’s amazing to see what happens when you stop worrying about your ego; you can give it your all no matter what. Guys twice my age are doing this thing 45 minutes faster than I was! Imagine if they had just said, “ah, well, I’m old. Just finishing it will be good enough.” No! Get after it with everything you’ve got!
- Do it for someone or something other than yourself – This is for when the demons start talking to you—when things get hard. If you’re only doing it for yourself, when the going gets rough, it will be all too easy to make excuses..slack off…drop out. To finish strong, you will need to call on your root systems –the people you love and care about — to get you through.
Tip: Note the name of the person or cause you are competing for before the race – keep your goal in front of your mind, or even write it physically on your arm or race tag. This is applicable to anything difficult you challenge yourself to in life.
- Have fun! – When you’re enjoying yourself, you get the most out of an experience you chose to train and prepare for. Don’t waste it! How could you make what you do more fun? (hint: see number 3 🙂