We now have a little less than 13 weeks until Ironman Arizona (IMAZ), and I’m definitely learning some important lessons in my training journey. I guess the main lesson I’m learning is something I see in my husband when we go out to train: It’s not what you have left in your legs; it’s what’s in your head.
Even before we started training for an Ironman together, I could have told you that the biggest difference between him and me is that he knows he can do it, whereas, I need to prove to myself that I can do it.
But his way is so much better.
I think my way will get me to the finish line. But his way gets you there with panache, with style, with spirit, with courage, with flair, …. with an emphatic exclamation point written in the sky by a plane! That’s the way I want to be.
And it’s not just at the finish line either. It’s in training, swimming that extra 50 for time; getting up that next hill even though your legs are tired; running that much faster now, because now matters. It’s like exercising the “now muscle”. That muscle needs to grow and be nurtured. I don’t even know if I’ve ever exercised that muscle before! It’s the muscle that kicks in when you see someone passing you near the finish line, and you give it just that much more so you can pass them back.
What I’ve never understood about that muscle is that I always thought its source was competitiveness. (I’m about the least competitive person you will ever meet.) But what I didn’t realize is that the source of the “now muscle” is something vital to our very core. When we’re in the moment and we need to fight for our lives, can we rise to the occasion? Can we push the limits? You don’t know unless you try. If you never try, that muscle never gets exercised. Don’t think of it as being competitive and showing up another person. No. It’s showing yourself what you can do. Now matters.
Taking the whole idea a bit further, I’ve also found that the triathletes I most admire (those I actually know in person) are the ones who exude joy for the race. They’re so happy to be there and so sure of why they’re there. And, as a consequence, they totally rock it every time. That’s the triathlete I want to be.
The easiest way to sum this up is to say that attitude is everything. I hate to be so boring and go back to that pat phrase. But it’s really true. Do your training, sure. Put in the hours and the miles and the sweat. But get your head right, too. That’s where it’s at, baby!