Yea that’s me up there...
I remember the first few triathlons I did WAY back. Even though I was at the peak of my athleticism at 24, I had NO IDEA what I was doing which made me extremely unprepared as far as my expectations were concerned.
What I knew: How to swim, ride a bike, and run
What I didn’t know: Where to go, how to get from one sport to the other (transition), and how painful it was to go from sport to sport without having trained those sports back to back.
Life seems to be like this for most people right now. We SEEM to know the basics of how to get through life in a “normal” setting. But when things change, it gets hard, it gets confusing, and what we thought we knew has MANY more facets than we had thought about.
In the world of swimming, one of the hardest things to learn (especially as an adult) is “how to breathe”. Isn’t it odd that we FORGET how to breathe??? I mean... It’s Inhale...Exhale right?
Right! But when you add the anxiety of water and buoyancy, with the lack of rotation in the hips and increases heart rate... Breathing is not the highest priority in regards to getting to the other side of the pool. That is, until you realize you are half way down, can’t breathe and now have to stop. This, to me is where part of the world is. We have forgotten the MOST fundamental things in life and now we have to pause, catch our breath and regroup before we can continue. Swimming is one of the hardest skills to learn if we wait until we are an adult. Life will drown you if you don’t learn to float. Keep it simple, move efficiently and don’t forget to breathe!
Cycling is a different beast. The saying ‘it’s like riding a bike” does NOT apply to an “aero” position if you have not done it before. Riding sat back on a huffy does not translate to being up and over the front wheel while resting on your forearms. The first time you “clip in” to a moving bike does not mean that you will be able to get off of your bike very easily. Sure it has benefits of pushing and pulling, but it also has threats to safety and staying upright when you are no longer moving forward. Life, for some may be more like cycling. You are clipped in and riding through life. Unlike swimming, where you cannot stay afloat or breathe, in cycling you are able to breathe whenever you want and may have a false sense of security. Forces of nature affect every moment you are on a bike. You will experience resistance if you go up a hill or face the wind. You might have to slow down and forget you are clipped in and may crash. You may know the basics, but you have never been in this position before and its a fragile and unfamiliar position to be in. Know that it’s OK and when you fall, it WILL hurt. But learn from it, keep your legs moving and don’t forget to be able to stop yourself next time before you fall.
Running is something I FIRMLY believe we are built to do. It’s locomotion. It’s a motor skill. It’s one of the first things we learn to do as a child. Yet, it hurts SO VERY BAD. Where do we lose our ability to do something so very basic to human movement? At what point in our life did we become unable to move forward fast? Running hurts. It makes our heart rate go up, our breathing gets uncomfortable and we find ourself further down the road than we wanted and then realize we have to get back. For some, you may find yourself here. You know what to do, you were built for it. You know it hurts because you have done it before. The cool thing about running is it requires Self, clothes, shoes. That’s it! We don’t need a pool. We don’t need a bike. It’s just us and the road. It’s “primal” right? So now you just have to “get back on the horse” and start rebuilding your endurance right? Nike says it best “just do it”.
I titled this one “The Great Transition” because regardless of how well you know the sports, if you are not well enough prepared for this strange period of time in between “what you know”, it makes the ENTIRE race slower. This was my experience. I realized that even though I knew how to breathe and move efficiently in the water, I had NO IDEA where to go to get my bike. Once I found my bike, I didn’t know how hard it was to put cycling clothes on while wet, then forgot I had to wear a number so I had no pinned it in the right place and it ripped while putting my jersey on. I forgot to buckle my helmet so when I got to the “mount line” they told me to buckle my helmet before I crossed the line. I had not practiced getting onto my bike with clip shoes and couldn’t figure it out and fell over. Once I finally figured it out got riding and got back to transition line, my anxiety was super high because on that ride I realized that I ALSO did not know what to do to get from the bike to the run. I was getting yelled at by volunteers for not getting off my bike at the right time. I’m pretty sure I almost tore my groin trying to run in cycling shoes on pavement and I realized I completely forgot to drink any water. So my run, as well as I knew how to run, was lets just say... sub par...
Because I was so unprepared, my transitions added about 9 minutes to my time. To put this into perspective, once I was good at them, I could transition in less than :30.
Moral of the story: There are things we know how to do very well BUT, there are transitions in life. We are in one RIGHT NOW! How well are you prepared for this transition. Are you focused on what is happening to you or because of you? Are you a victim to your circumstance? Or are you taking this in to be better prepared next time? WIll you learn and grow through this LONG transition? How fast will you be able to come out of this transition because you have BEEN prepared for this season?
Food for thought!
Knowledge + Application = Transformation