Tri-ing to Face Your Fears

author : mnatwood
comments : 2

One of the biggest things that can hold us back from tri-ing is pure and simple fear.  F-E-A-R.  Fear of the open water. Fear of the wetsuit. Fear of the bike, the climbs, the down hills, the transitions, the Spandex. Oh my! 

Of course, there are many potential things to fear about the big, scary triathlon dragon! But it’s important to remember that fear is a dirty, rotten liar---and we must learn to overcome it in order to move forward with our dreams.

I am the mother of two children.  I had two birth experiences that were terrifying, but those experiences paled in comparison to my first open water swim in April of 2011.

Suffice it to say that I finally understood why drowning people take down others in the process of drowning.  When I was in that sixty degree water for the first time, feeling like I was being suffocated by my own wetsuit, I thought I would take down my coach AND my husband to get out of the water. Each time I would begin to swim, I would start off okay, but then five strokes into each set, I sat up, sputtering and gasping and melting down from the fear. I was wheezing profusely. Face back in the water, swim a few strokes, feel like I was being buried alive, then pop up again, panic and cry. Eventually, we made it back to the shore. Once I had my feet back on the sand, I was dizzy. I was deflated. I was scared. But I was mostly sad.

But two weeks later, I finished my first Olympic distance race. And with an ocean swim to boot! So what changed?  How did I go from a complete panic attack in the water that day to finishing an Oly distance race and alive?  

Well, it was all about my mindset. I told fear to take a hike. I recovered from that disastrous swim and I tried again.  I went back to the lake the next weekend.  I looked the monster in the face and I won. I told fear to take a hike. I used my positive energy and thoughts to control my fear.   

As a beginner triathlete or someone who is interested in tri-ing, sometimes the biggest FEAR is just starting.  First, you often don’t know how or where  to start.  You don’t know what to do for workouts, where to go, who to call.  It’s an exercise in complete flailing usually – and believe me, I know all about flailing!

So to overcome the FEAR of starting out on your triathlon journey for the first time OR for training for that first big race, you must remember FOUR important rules:

1)     Believe wholeheartedly in yourself

2)     Cling to those people who believe in you (ignore those who don’t!)

3)     Recognize when you should stop

4)     Know when you should continue going

In my first open water swim scenario, I believed in myself. Believing in myself was what got me into the water in the first place. I believed in myself until I started freaking out.   But then I had my coach and my husband to help me.   Next, I could have stopped that day, but I didn’t. I did not let the fear win. I did not let fear defeat me-- I knew when to keep going.

Now, I’m not telling you about my first swim to scare you. Rather, I want to give you hope that no matter how dark or scary  a place you might find yourself----you can rise up, and you can keep going. And you should keep going.

That is the precisely the key to facing fears in triathlon:  know when to keep going.

Don’t give up just because the training is difficult.  Don’t let fear win just because you find yourself uncomfortable. Dig down deep inside and find your dragon-slayer---and kill that fear dragon.  And you’ll find yourself at the finish line before you know it!


About the Author:

Meredith Atwood, better known in the blog world as "Swim Bike Mom," is a writer and attorney. In just over a year, she went from super fat to the finish line of her first half Ironman triathlon. Since that time, she has finished several half marathons, triathlons and even a second half Ironman.

About the Book: 
  
Triathlon for the Every Woman is a hilarious, fun and informative read--full of expert advice, training tips, and stories to turn a tired, busy woman into a tired, busy woman TRIATHLETE--no matter her size, age or place in life. 

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date: April 10, 2013

Author


mnatwood

Meredith Atwood, an overweight and overworked wife, mother and attorney, went from the couch to the finish of a half Ironman triathlon in a little over a year. Her book, full of contributions from expert coaches, nutritionists and athletes, takes the reader through the disciplines of swimming, biking and running.

Author

avatarmnatwood

Meredith Atwood, an overweight and overworked wife, mother and attorney, went from the couch to the finish of a half Ironman triathlon in a little over a year. Her book, full of contributions from expert coaches, nutritionists and athletes, takes the reader through the disciplines of swimming, biking and running.

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