What's the Worst that Can Happen !?
Chatting with a friend about triathlon struggles...
"I love reading and hearing about the struggles, it reminds me that this is hard and we're all human."
It's true! We have some amazing triathletes but things happen! Both within and out of our control. It's usually funny and entertaining AFTER the fact, but during the struggle feels like the end of the world. I have compiled some of my favorite struggles that some of the BEST triathletes have experienced...
- 2 (not 1, TWO) flats in first Ironman. 1 at 17 miles and 1 at 70 miles. I guess the silly part of this is, the athlete was only carrying 1 tube. Doh!! So note to you, you have two tires, always carry two tubes!
- Last person on the bike course. I mean, someone has to be last, but what a mind struggle to know you ARE the back of the pack!
- Bike malfunctions. This is a given... drop a chain, bust a tire, broken levers, lose gear shifting capabilities. Holy suck! What do you do? Quit? Wait for a course mechanic? Deal with it.
- Injury mid race. Most of us have experienced an injury leading UP to a race, but what about when you get injured DURING a race!? Again, do you quit? Push through? A struggle between mind and body...
- Lose nutrition, as in, it flies off your bike, you drop it, or plum forget it! Nutrition can and will MAKE or BREAK your race! If you forgot it, luckily you will know the night prior to your race and replace it. But if you lose it mid-race... beg borrow or steal!!
- Bodily fluids. Not your own! Here's a disgusting struggle: getting spit on, peed on, sweated on, or thrown up on. It's all happened.
- Forgot bike shoes. I know an athlete that went all the way to another state for a race and it wasn't until race morning that they realized they had left their bike shoes back home. OH NO! He rode the entire 112 mile course in his running shoes (in case you're not a triathlete, bike shoes clip into your bike pedals allowing you to both push and pull).
- Forgot helmet. Well, she didn't really forget it all together. She brought her race helmet but realized the day before it didn't have any vents in it. Who makes a helmet without vents!? In the heat of Los Cabos, Mexico, she would have died. Emergency trip to the local bike shop for a new $60 helmet...
- Started period. An athlete was sharing with me once how she started her period during an Ironman. What's worse than sweaty blood running down your leg for 26.2 miles !?
- Seasick in the swim. So seasick that you are projectile vomiting!!
- Being terrified of the swim <---- do I really need to elaborate !?
While training for my first Ironman, my Coach at the time had me write down absolutely everything that could go wrong during the race and how I would handle it. Not only did it relieve some of my worries, but if/when something DID go wrong, my brain already knew what to do. And in fact, I'm the one who ended up with TWO flat tires in my first Ironman. I quickly changed the first and sadly, had to wait for a mechanic for the second. 1 tube...SMH!
The point is, we all have struggles. Mental. Emotional. Physical. Within our control and outside of our control. Doing this anyway, despite everything that COULD go wrong makes us stronger and more bad ass. It does! People often say, "there's no way I could..." That's just not true. If you're well trained, well rehearsed, and confident, you COULD. YOU CAN. YOU WILL.