Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Augusta 70.3 2011
"How many people in the world, know what it's like to truly achieve their potential in anything? How many people in the world have even tried? Truly dedicated themselves to it -- shed all distractions, moved into a plastic bubble, spent all day thinking about it, answering questions on it, trying to learn about it, baring their whole lives to the world so that there is no question/no doubt about what it takes. We can debate about the GI of wheat germ, on drafting, on whether 85kb of code is showing off, on whether to use 10K or 5K race pace for intervals -- or we can buckle down and train all out, every day.
So, our "potential" is a moving target. What I do is try to train myself to the best of my ability. Then I work on mental skills and race execution so that I am able to race to the maximum potential of my fitness. True satisfaction comes from working towards a goal and then performing to our potential given the circumstances.
In training, build your race mojo.  Don't spend it."

Did you reach your potential last season, will you reach you potential this season?  How will you know if you've ever really reached you potential?  A few months ago an aspiring professional triathlete friend of mine brought up "potential" during our conversation.  I didn't have a whole lot of thoughts on the topic.  He was the first to introduce me to the idea that we may never really reach our potential, because our potential is a moving target.

As I've pondered potential, and of course my potential for this season and the years to come in triathlon, and read more triathlon books than I thought existed, I've realized that as I grow so too does my potential. As I peaked last season and had some of my best races, had I reached my potential?  I don't think so, I think my potential grew - giving me more room to improve and develop as an athlete.  So is there ever a point where your potential becomes stagnant?

Stanislav Krylov at DC Tri 2011
As Coach Gordo said, Our Potential is a Moving Target.  Never settle when you are passionate about something until you are satisfied.  A fellow DC Tri Club member said 'I'm full of potential" - which is a nice compliment, but isn't everyone full of potential?  What matters is our ability to tap into that potential, to push ourselves past the limits we thought existed, our passion for our sport, and our willingness to train when no one else is watching.

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go." -T.S. Eliot

Friday, January 13, 2012


"There is a difference between interest and commitment.  When you're interested in something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results."  Dr. Kenneth Blanchard

I survived my first week of my 3rd full time clinical and Ironman training.  I have to admit I'm glad I have 0 commitments outside of the internship and training, because I would have missed all of them.  I'm not complaining, I know that what I am working towards is not for everyone and you have to be a little crazy just to sign up for an Ironman.

J.B's Wedding with the best friends ever.
When I registered for the Ironman I knew I would be sacrificing a lot throughout the training cycle leading up to Louisville.  I will miss out on happy hours, great times with friends, birthday celebrations with friends and family, trips, vacations, graduation parties, and other events I've yet to think of.  I will be at everything I can make it to and I apologize in advance for the special events I miss, but understand that I've made the decision to train for this properly, achieve the goals I have set for myself, and commit my lifestyle to achieve me triathlon goals in 2012.

I participated in a Mental Training for Triathletes webinar on Wednesday night.  During the course the following quote was shared with us, "He who has a why to live can bear almost any how."  -Friedrich Nietzsche.  This quote has prompted me to really consider why I have committed myself to Ironman and why others are committing themselves to Ironman in 2012.  The importance of having a 'WHY" was stressed in terms of triathlon/Ironman throughout the webinar.

Mom, Brother, Me at YHH in Sedona, AZ.
I've reflected on 2011 - the ups and downs of the year, and I've envisioned 2012 and the opportunities for success that are on the horizon.  2011 in race numbers for me included 18 races in 6 different states, 9 triathlons, and 7 podium finishes.  2011 outside of racing included the start of full time clinical internships, meeting great people in the DC Tri Club, hosting a professional athlete, the biggest loss in my life/the hardest day of my life, and a family trip to Your Heart's Home in Sedona Arizona.  2012 presents opportunities in all facets of life - a new age group to conquer in triathlon (and possibly set my sights on a pro card), my 2nd and possibly 3rd 70.3, my first 140.6 (IMKY), graduating as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, finding a job in an area I want to call home (DC, Georgia, west of the Mississippi?), at least 2 awesome weddings for friends, a tattoo or two, and many more memories that are yet to be made or conceived.

 The question remains Why Ironman in 2012 and why Louisville? Louisville simply because I see myself in the Eastern Time zone in a drivable distance, it's at the right time of year I wanted for an IM and it's the most realistic race to get family and friends to. If you haven't realized yet I love to push my body to limits I never thought possible.  A year ago I remember having a conversation with my dad and saying "I don't think I'll ever do an Ironman but I'll run a marathon eventually. Running 26.2 miles after a 112 mile bike ride is just crazy."  Now I sit here with 1 marathon under my belt and my first Ironman 225 days away.  Over the summer I began to consider racing an Ironman in 2012 or even possibly late 2011.  IM Cozumel 2011 was still open and I had mentioned going to Cozumel for 
Thanksgiving to my dad and his response was "Why not, you could do that if you add in some more training".  I was adding miles to my long bike rides and runs and realizing Ironman was completely possible and I might actually be kind of good at it if I train properly.  I continued to focus on Augusta 70.3 at the end of September as well as Rockett's Landing and Nation's Triathlon (3 races I wanted to do well at in late 2011 racing season).  After finishing Rockett's Landing with a new PR and 3rd place finish my dad responded to my race report, closing his email with "The Future is Bright".  About 12 hours after reading that email from him I got news of his accident and began the longest journey from DC to MI and the worst days of my life (July 27, 2011).  Two and a half weeks later my brother and I went to race in the Luray Triathlons - triathlon for me became a coping mechanism.  Hours on the bike or run are meditative and time in the water is relaxing.  After two of my best performances in Luray I began to focus more time and energy into triathlon.  Shortly before IMKY 2011 I decided that 2012 would be my year - I was ready to commit my lifestyle to Ironman training.  On August 26, 2012 I will don my black armband, walk down to the river, with a smile because I'm there and with the confidence knowing that my body and mind are ready.  No day will be harder than July 27th 2011, and I know my dad will be with me every stroke, mile, and step of my 140.6 journey through Louisville, Kentucky.

Why did you race 140.6 or why will you race 140.6?


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fear of Success

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Willamson

Marianne Williamson's quote has been a favorite of mine ever since I received The Champion Within for Christmas when I was probably 14.  We may be all too familiar with The Fear of Failure but are we aware of a Fear of Success?  Fear of success can present itself in any athlete from the weekend warrior or age grouper up through the professional ranks.  When I first learned about the fear of success I was skeptical, but as I grew as an athlete and my mental skills and as I continue to grow the fear of success is all too real.

The fear of success can present itself as:

  • a fear that you will not be content, happy, or satisfied once you reach your goal
  • belief that you are undeserving of all the good things and recognition that come your way
  • feelings of inadequacy
  • a belief that no matter how much you are able to achieve or accomplish, it will never be enough to sustain success
  • and of course any other number of ways specific to each individual athlete
W-League Soccer Action
As I've looked back at previous athletic ventures I've been able to reflect on different instances that I believe were related to a fear of success.  There is a fine line between being confident and humble or cocky and arrogant.  At times we shut down, perhaps lose confidence in our own abilities, because we don't want to hurt feelings or step on others toes.  As the quote above says, Your playing small does not serve the world.  Are you making yourself better or those around you any better if you shut down and give less than your best?

As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  Giving all you have to all of your endeavors pushes those around you to be at their best.  The greatest respect you can pay an opponent is (humbly) crushing them.  I've noticed some athletes may set unquantifiable goals, goals they know (because they already have) they are able to achieve, or goals that don't push them to any limit.  Other athletes I know may fear their "real" result of a race and continually use the excuse, "I went out the night before, but hey I still did pretty well".  They are hiding from their own successes and prepared with an excuse if anything should go wrong on race day.

For some the idea of standing on the podium sounds great but they don't know how to handle it or they don't want to compete head to head with a friend.  For others, it may be on a much larger scale, of say qualifying for the Olympics or a Pro Card.  The idea of the Olympics sounds awesome but what happens once you do qualify?  Sure you've already committed yourself to qualifying and now you must commit yourself to competing on arguably the world's largest stage.  Trust that if it's what you want and where you see yourself the support will be their for you.  For other athlete's (most of us) it is on a much smaller scale - say achieving that new mile or 5k time you've been working towards.  Once you achieve it, what will you do?  Embrace your success, celebrate, and continue on your journey by setting a new goal.

Every individual has their own goals and limits, but one should not fear pushing those limits.  It's through mistakes and failures that we make the biggest gains and learn the best lessons.  As we all plan our 2012 season and begin to set goals focus on setting quantifiable goals - such as achieving new times, distances, or heart rates during specific workouts.  Don't sell yourself short, use 2012 to reach for your potential.

Have you set any 2012 goals yet?  Do you experience any Fear of Success?