Motivation

A Triathlon…Who Me?

Perhaps you’re considering a triathlon or have had these thoughts “I could never do that,” or “Who me?”  I’m here to erase your uncertainty and say “Yes you can,” and “Yes you!”

Many folks think of the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI when they think of triathlon.  Understandably, it is one of the few televised triathlons and the largest triathlon event in the world.  But triathlon comes in many shapes and sizes, as do triathletes.  It only takes the thought “I can” to start your journey to becoming a triathlete.

i tri man

Most beginner triathletes start with the Sprint distance triathlon, have a hybrid or mountain bike and borrow or rent a wet suit (if it’s an open water swim).  There are many venues for triathlons including indoor events that are held in a pool, on a stationary bike and treadmill.  For the beginner, the sprint distance triathlon isn’t necessarily about sprinting or being fast, it is referred to as sprint because of it’s relatively short distance (usually 15 – 18 miles total) compared to the Ironman Kona (140.6 miles).  For the Elite athletes, of course – the sprint distance is ALL about speed.

The sprint distance is a great distance to enter the sport and learn the skills necessary to complete a triathlon, such as swimming, biking and the details of transition.

2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon_Swim

Many years ago I started running.  I ran my first 5K and loved it.  Over the years I progressed to the half marathon distance, but running was always very painful for me.  A friend suggested that I sign up for a local sprint triathlon and I had the same thought, “Who, me?  I could never do that.”  My friend was super encouraging and ultimately, I ended up signing up for my first sprint triathlon – the 2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon in Nanticoke, MD which was a 750 meter swim, 15 mile bike, and a 5K run.

2012 Osprey Sprint Triathlon_Bike1

Fast forward to 4 years later and I have complete numerous sprint, Olympic distance triathlons as well as several 70.3 Half Ironman distances.

Triathlon is about consistency – which is one of our core beliefs at I Tri.  Stick with it (whatever “it” may be) and year after year you will get stronger, more confident and more satisfied with your fitness level.  You don’t need to have fancy equipment or an expensive bike to step into triathlon (take a look at the picture above and see the beast of a bike I rode in my first sprint).  These items can come if you find triathlon is your passion and can be useful motivational tools to keep you growing (i.e. “if I complete my first Olympic distance, then I will allow myself to invest in a better bike.”)

There is a lot of fun in learning the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon also is more complex in terms of the details of racing and nutrition.  Some of you may find that joining a triathlon club or finding a beginner’s coach is great place to start.  We highly recommend a USAT certified coach to help you avoid some of the common mistakes that self coached beginners frequently make and mostly to prevent unnecessary injury as a result of going out too far too fast.  Having a coach to lay out a personalized training plan and guide you through the specifics of training, fueling and competing in triathlon is money well invested.

Triathlon is for you – you need only have the thought, “I can.”  Take the steps to your first triathlon today – let us help you!  Together we can Tri!

 

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

 

Tears or Sweat…. How will you pay?

It’s 4:30 a.m. and the alarm goes off. It’s dark outside, it’s cold and my body hurts. The bed is warm, the pillows comfortable, and the voices in my head are not happy about what I’m about to ask them to do. Crawling out of a peaceful, restful, comfy bed is difficult. Strapping on the heart rate monitor, watch and lacing up running shoes is not pleasant. Striking out on a 45 minute hill repeat training session while it’s still dark outside is painful.i tri man

I assure you, the physical struggle associated with exercise is less difficult, unpleasant, and less painful than living in an unhealthy, unhappy body – full of sadness and self-loathing. The constant negative self judgement, the mental self-abuse, the eating to numb the pain and the horrible guilt after eating to numb the pain are thousands of times more difficult that putting my warm feet on the cold floor getting ready to exercise.

Life is hard, sometimes unbelievably hard. We all pay the price to survive. The currency is in the form of a liquid salty discharge. We all chose our method of payment. Sweat or tears. We will give up the salt… one way or another.

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We can pay with tears in an effort to cope with the unhappiness in our lives, our unhappiness with ourselves, with our bodies. We can eat to numb the pain and suffering and then pay for it with more tears and misery. We can listen to the angry judgmental voices in our head telling us that we aren’t good enough, that we aren’t worthy and release the tears to cope with the possibility that those things might be true. This pain last every minute of every day, sleeps with us at night, and is there to face us as soon as we wake.

Tears

Or we can pay with sweat from getting out of our comfortable place, our bed, our normal routine and doing the work, putting in the effort, dealing with the challenge and discomfort of pushing ourselves just a little bit farther or faster than yesterday. We can take on the challenge, with sweat beading on our brows, our muscles screaming in rebellion and put one foot in front of the other over and over and over. Those same voices may tell us that we aren’t good enough, but somewhere inside the truth rings out that “Yes, we are good enough!” We take one more step to prove it. This pain is temporary. We do the work. It’s over. And we are free and at peace for the rest of our day.

Sweat

In the times in my life when I have been unfit, overweight and unhealthy – the mental anguish and emotional pain that I endured was far more difficult than any physical discomfort I felt while competing in a 70.3 Ironman. If you are enduring the mental pain of living in a body that you aren’t happy with – the physical work to overcome the emotional pain is so worth it and so much easier than the pain you are enduring every minute of every day.

You are good enough. You are strong. You can do this.

How will you pay?

 

Chose to take your first step today.  Chose sweat.
Contact us… let us take that step with you.

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

To Resolve or Not to Resolve

As 2015 comes to a close, many of us find ourselves reflecting on the past year, pondering our current place in life and considering possibilities for the future. It can be a warm and peaceful time. It can also be a source of stress or frustration if we find ourselves not where we had hoped we would be professionally, personally, physically. There is always the debate over New Year’s resolutions – should we? Shouldn’t we? Are they useful, helpful, meaningful or useless and ridiculous? To resolve or not to resolve, this is the question.

i tri man

There is no perfect answer – it is a very personal thing to many folks. New Year’s resolutions can be a double edged sword. On one side of the sword, it can provide the motivation and spark to kick start a stagnant physical fitness or healthy eating journey – this is wonderful, helpful and energizing. On the other edge, should your resolve begin to fade in March (if not sooner) and none of the things you set out to do are in place, those same motivational resolutions can become the negative judgement that you hold against yourself – emotionally flogging yourself for your failure, lack of commitment, and inability to fix years of issues in a few short weeks. Many times we make giant lists of all of the things we perceive to be wrong or out of balance in our lives. Our resolutions become one giant long “to do” list that places tremendous pressure on us. Three of the top New Year’s resolutions every year are to eat healthier, exercise more and to lose weight.

new-years-resolutions

Long ago I stopped having a body weight goal and began making my resolutions external achievement goals (like a race or new sport). Over the years, I’ve come to embrace the turning of the New Year and time of reflection. Having specific short term and long term goals for the coming year can be very helpful in keeping us on track. The goals need to be measurable and controllable. The goals need to be realistic and attainable. I recognized that by attaining an achievement goal (completing the race or learning a new sport, or completing a former race, but with a better time) that physically I would be improving and getting stronger. If I was getting stronger and improving, then my weight would surely follow. This approach has proven to work very well.

Having goals like committing to go the gym a certain number of times a week or join a new class at your gym are very achievable goals. Goals such as only having desserts on Friday nights instead of every night is also very controllable. You may not be perfect (in fact I’m certain that you won’t), but if you are better than you were last year, more consistent, more consistent for longer, committed to getting back at it after you stumble – those are HUGE SUCCESSES!!

In the moments when you may find that you are off track, not following your resolutions or drifting back to your former habits – those are the moments to be gentle with yourself. Those are the moments to allow yourself to accept that you aren’t perfect – you never will be. It is this fact that can derail us so quickly. We all say to ourselves “No one is perfect.” We will even comfort a friend who may have stumbled or is failing to achieve a goal. We will tell them, “It’s ok. No one is perfect. Just keep trying.” And we all believe that to be true. Yet when we find that we have fallen short of our imagined perfect self, we are cruel and harsh with ourselves. Our inner self talk can be quite painful and relentless. Remember, it’s not about perfection it’s about what you do most of the time. When you realize that you are not headed the way you want, remind yourself that you still have the desire to try one more time. Be compassionate with yourself as if you were talking with a dear friend.

It is the drive and commitment to keep on starting that is the most important resolution you can make.

Happy New Year

Let 2016 be your year of continued resolve – the year you find your external achievement goals that will keep you focused and committed (most of the time). Let 2016 be the year that when you stumble, you smile and remember that all you have to do is get up, dust yourself off and keeping moving forward. Let 2016 be the year that you resolve to always keep trying. And if you’re looking for a little extra support… we can help.

Happy New Year from I-Tri!!!

i tri man

** None of the information on this site is intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.  Always seek the input of your medical provider regarding changes in diet and physical activity levels.

Power

Every athlete’s (and yes, you are an athlete) power starts in the same place.  Whether we start or stop, run hard, run faster, run longer is all controlled in the mind.

Present Moment

All of your power is in the present moment. 

It was this truth that released me from a lifetime of inner pain and turmoil.  The moment I recognized that the past is over, what is done is done, and that the future is a reflection of what I do each and every moment I was free from my old patterns of thought and behavior.  Right now I affect my path, in this very moment in time.  The past is over.  Yet much of our conflict seems to come from being caught in the past, past habits, thoughts of the past, carrying the pain of the past.

And as much as the past can stall our growth, so can simply wasting time thinking about things that have not occurred.  As I worry about the future, daydream without action my power is sitting idle.

Ghandi said,

“The future is determined by what happens in this moment.”

Your Power is Now

So as I ponder these things, I recognize that our lives are the summary of our choices – a compilation of all the actions and decisions we have made.  Digging deeper, it is easy to see that our lives are a reflection of our thoughts and specifically the thoughts that we act upon.  I have thousands upon thousands of thoughts every single day.  I do not respond to each of those thoughts.  There is a split second in the present moment where I choose to act.  It is at that very instant that I affect my path.  So simple really, yet so difficult to master.

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

  • You think thoughts.
  • You choose to act.
  • You act.
  • Your action has an affect.
  • The affect of your action becomes reality.

If we wish to change our reality, we must start at the beginning… we must change the thoughts.

Our thoughts and the patterns that our thoughts take have been shaped and learned from a very early age.  For the longest time, I believed all of my thoughts, and that I had no means of changing the way that I think.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I am not my thoughts, I am greater than they are.  I am the awareness within, wading through the thoughts.

Your power is in this moment.  Control the thought, choose to act, change the path.
Believe simply that you CAN.

Sign Up – To Keep Motivated

People frequently say things like “I wish I had your motivation,” or “I don’t know how you keep motivated” as they are struggling with their efforts to get fit. While getting started is often the hardest part of leading a fitter lifestyle, staying motivated is the difference between getting the results you want and finding your way back into the old habits that led you to an unfit lifestyle to begin with. Finding focus is one thing; keeping focus is a completely different animal.

i tri man

Many times a conversation with a doctor, or a long hard look in the mirror will spur the recognition that you need to do something different and will drive you to those first difficult steps of starting. But weeks later, you find that motivation has started to fade or drifted away, the conversation with you doctor “wasn’t that bad, was it?” As humans, we have a great capacity to forget or with time, dismiss things that were once impactful and noteworthy. And if you have been leading a lifestyle that is not resulting in the physical health and fitness that you desire, slipping back into those old habits and forgetting why you wanted to start in the first place can happen to any of us, especially as the challenge of pushing yourself gets harder, long unused muscles get sore, and results aren’t instantaneous.

How do I do it? How do I stay motivated? It has been a process to say the least. Now at 43, I have found the combination of focus and desire that keep me going. It wasn’t always this way. I too had many cycles of start and stop, and start again. It is difficult to start, it is even more difficult to start again because we realize how far we had gotten the last time we started, how much work we had invested and we let it all go; we have to do it all again. For me, in time, the gaps between exercising and eating healthy and not have gotten smaller. What once use to measure months (or years) between starting again is now measured in days off.

Flowers Plantation Sprint Triathlon Fun

Dragging myself to the gym in pursuit of the almighty lower number on the scale did not offer me the pleasure, focus or motivation that would last a lifetime. As long as the scale was moving, I was happy and would continue. But we can’t lose weight forever, and as we get stronger and leaner, there is less to lose. When the number going down on the scale slowed down, so did my motivation. There were days when I would dread the smell of the gym, dread waiting for weights, or couldn’t bring myself to climb on that elliptical one more time.

“So what did you do,” you ask?

I found my focus in races. After much encouragement from friends, I ran my first 5K. It was hard, I was slow, and finished near the back of the pack. But I loved it. I felt such a sense of accomplishment, I loved being with the other runners, I loved feeling like a runner. That first race kicked off a cycle for me of setting short term goals, the goal of running my next event or race. It eventually led to longer term goals, thinking about races of long distances that would require more time to train for and thus kept me motivated. It gave me an identity. I was a runner.

10K Road Race

Signing up for a race, knowing that the date is out there and that money has been spent on it, that my friends know about it, that there is some cool gear and a medal waiting at the end has been the difference for me. It could be the thing you need to help you stick with your program.

Perhaps running isn’t your thing. There are many types of events or activities that you can get involved in. Swimming, cycling, walking, running, hiking, triathlon. Perhaps you don’t know how to swim. That’s ok, learning to swim will give you focus. It will give you some short term goals (I will learn to swim better) and some long term goals (I will be able to swim half a mile without stopping). 2 Mile Swim

Perhaps you have a bike.  There are some great for charity rides that you can commit to doing. These rides often have multiple distances, so you can find one that challenges you but that you can still manage.

Cycling

 

Maybe events aren’t your thing. That’s ok too. The key is to find something you truly enjoy doing. Getting results is great, and quick results that often happen after being sedentary for a long time can be motivational. But in time, if you don’t love what you are doing, you may find your motivation falling off when the number on the scale going down slows down. If you truly enjoy the activity you are doing, it could be the difference between sticking with your commitment to live healthier and finding yourself in the dreaded “start again” cycle. Doing something you love will help keep you focused through the plateaus that we all experience.  Remember, it’s what we do MOST of the time that matters.  Doing something because you enjoy it will keep you going back to that activity MOST of the time.  Loving your activity or activities will bring consistency to your fitness journey.

Sign up for your race today. You won’t know how much you love it, until you TRI.

i tri man