A discussion about dealing with events, challenges, unexpected problems, and most importantly, those challenges life throws at you during the race season.
When I first agreed the schedule of articles with Dana for my 303 Column, Face your fears seemed like a good end of season challenge, little did I know what challenges would lay ahead of me.
In terms of fears, no matter what you are afraid of, someone else is probably more afraid but will get over it. That’s what makes a champion, looking fear in the “eyes” and fbeating it. That’s your challenge, take something triathlon or sport related that is really different, something you didn’t think you could do, something you were afraid of and do it!
For me this year it will be very different, after 18-years of triathlon, I’m planning to make the start line at the Without LimitsOktoberfest Triathlon. Last time I was at the Union Reservoir for the Outdoor Divas triathlon, to support my partner Kate in her race, I had a full-blown heart attack and was taken away post-race in an Ambulance (3).
I’ve seen people take on and achieve much bigger challenges. A club colleague of mine in the UK, was training for Team GB, when she was hit and paralyzed from the waist down. Just a year later, Paula Craig was the first Team GB Para-triathlete at the ITU Worlds in Cancun in 2002. You don’t have to look far to see incredible stories. I was amazed to see the progress that BBSC Endurance Sports Craig Towler had already made after losing both his legs after being hit by a driver while out training. (1).
I’ve stood at the start line for many races, both open water, with high waves, and frenetic pool based triathlons and heard people expressing grave concerns about their ability to start, much less finish.
To this day I can remember a race in the UK in 2006, pool swim, all the competitors lined up down the side of the pool waiting for the start. The pool was crazy, arms thrashing everywhere, there were as many as 6-people per lane, the noise was crazy, there were almost waves as the water crashed against the sides.
The guy next to me was, like me, 6ft tall, and he was having serious doubts about the swim. I told him it would be fine. He wasn’t convinced. I pointed out that while racking my bike I’d spotted a prosthetic arm in transition. He looked puzzled. We scanned the line of swimmers and couldn’t see the “owner”. It turned out to be the first ever triathlon for Claire Cunningham (nee Bishop). Claire is a medal winning and Champion paratriathlete for Team GB now and just 5’6” tall.
How must Claire have felt that day?
There is nothing special about these athletes. They don’t have a superpower, they take the challenges and setbacks and find a way of getting past them.
Most of us don’t face triathlon with anything like those challenges. Whatever you decide to do over the next few months, tackle something that challenges you, something that proves you are still alive. No matter if that is taking on a greater distance than you thought possible; going faster and placing higher than you think you can; getting out and becoming the hill climber; the cyclocross athlete and more.
Each of these “fears” can be broken down and divided into constituent parts; each of those parts you can find a way to address. As Claire says on her website “Nothing is impossible, you can find a way”. (*2) Create goals for each part, after you’ve achieved those goals, start combining the parts and setting new goals.
Look for help from coaches, books and videos. With not much of a racing season left, why not pick a fear and set about facing it before next season?
Me, I’ll be working the mount/dismount line for the upcoming 5430 Harvest Moon race, and then I’ll be doing everything I can to start, and finish the Oktoberfest triathlon in a few weeks.
I can’t thank Gaby and the EMT’s at Rapid Response Paramedic Services, the Mountain View Fire emergency crew, especially Carlos who, coincidentally volunteered with me at Ironman Bouler 2016; Dr Paik and everyone at Longmont Unit Hospital enough. Really!
Mark Cathcart took up triathlon in the late 90’s to get fit for adventure racing, which to this day he has never done, and has since taken part in 170+ events. His pragmatic approach to training, racing, and life have lead in from being the Chairman of one of the bigger UK Triathlon clubs 15-years ago; British Triathlon volunteer of the year; a sometime race organizer; The organizer and ride leader for Austin Texas award winning Jack and Adams triathlon shop; doing sometime Sports Management for development and professional triathletes; he has attended all the Triathlon Business International, and Triathlon America conferences, where he usually asks the questions others won’t; moved to Colorado in 2016 and is a co-owner of Boulder Bodyworker
Hey Ladies! The PERFECT First Tri For You Or Someone You Know!
Have you always thought how fun/awesome/challenging/life-changing it would be to complete a triathlon, but you thought you could NEVER do something like that? Well think again! Without Limits, the top multisport racing company in Colorado, has something just for you!
The Outdoor Divas sprint distance triathlon has been awarded the best women’s event in Colorado by Competitor Magazine and is a safe place for women on all ages, shapes, sizes, abilities, and backgrounds to come together and experience what it is like to become a triathlete.
A few things make this race ideal for beginners…
1. It’s a women only event so you can feel supported and safe.
2. It’s capped at 600 women so the numbers aren’t overwhelming in the swim and transition areas.
3. It’s a sprint distance which is 750 meter swim, 12.9 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run/walk.
4. Each swim wave only has 50 swimmers so there is plenty of space to avoid getting touched and swam over by other swimmers.
5. There is a swim wave designated for first-timers only with more safety and support, and fewer fast, intimidating swimmers.
6. The water is warm enough in July you don’t need to wear a wetsuit.
7. You can use ANY type of bike to ride. You don’t need any fancy gear.
8. You can walk the entire run.
9. If you are a mom of little ones, there will be a kid sitting area during the race so you can focus on yourself and your race.
10. There is no time cut offs so every single person can finish!!
This race is held at the Union Reservoir in Longmont which is fairly flat with smooth roads, and amazing views.
When my mom turned 50, I gave her a race entry into an all women triathlon. She was so scared but I promised her she would cross the finish line with my help. She had never been an athlete, was overweight, and had arthritis in her knees and hips. The race she did was similar to the Outdoor Divas Sprint Triathlon and with the positive environment, the support from the volunteers, families, and other women racing, and the sense of accomplishment she felt when she crossed the finish line, she went on to race 3 more all-women triathlons. She considers these some of her top accomplishments in her life!
I want that for each and every one of you! Please share this with any woman you know who may want to challenge herself, accomplish something incredible, try something new, have an excuse to get into shape, looking for a new hobby, or just want to have a fun experience surrounded by other positive healthy women.
Check out all the race info today and make sure you register ASAP! Due to the low cap, this race has sold out the past 9 years. Last year reached capacity on June 20th so please take advantage of the early registration!