Sunday, January 4, 2009

Keeping Your Cool

This is an article I wrote a few months ago for Competitor Magazine, and hadn't published it here yet....

Competing in a triathlon can put you through the ringer physically as well as emotionally, especially when things go awry. But keeping a level head can be the difference between the finish line and disaster.

Pushing one foot in front of the other, I glance to the right, and check the mile marker. It reads 23. Amazing. Just over 5K to go! How many times in my life have I run a 5K? So simple. So easy. Suddenly, there's a slight spring to my step. I can feel my foot-strike improve, and the sense of rhythm and speed begins to return. It has been perhaps the darkest four miles of my life prior to this moment. I've walked through aid stations, trying to grab everything I can; worried I won't be able to run again. My only focus and hope? GET TO THE NEXT AID STATION! DON'T STOP MOVING! Meanwhile, I keep looking behind me with a few prayers here and there not to let fourth place catch me.

With less than one mile to go, I realize I'm going to podium at an Ironman. I feel a cold rush over my body, goose bumps visible. Without control, my eyes begin to swell up, my breathing accelerates. I'm overcome with the emotion of perhaps my greatest success in the sport of triathlon (heck, maybe one of my greatest in life). The many hours and sacrifices are all being cashed in. With half a mile to go, I'm crying. I round the final corner - Mike Reilly's voice brings me home - I jump up and down, pump my fists and grab the finish tape, yelling at the top of my lungs.....

Read more at Competitor Magazine.

Coach Vance

1 comment:

Shawn Moran said...

Jim,

I enjoyed the article. I will definitely be using the wisdom contained within in 2009. I signed up for Vineman 70.3 and am looking forward to the challenge. Are you doing XTERRA Real?