Lessons from the Desert – St. George Ironman 70.3

Well, I did it. Raced the Ironman 70.3 in St.George, Utah – one of the most challenging courses in the world. 90 degrees, 30 mph winds, and nothing flat in sight. Finished in 5 hours and 16 minutes and placed at #280 out of 2,700 participants (50 pros). It was incredibly hard and one of coolest things I’ve done. So fun, in fact, that I just signed up for another 70.3 in Arizona this Fall. Some may call that crazy. I call it committed.

So, I’ll keep this one short and sweet, because I have to hop on my bike in a few minutes – the Lake Placid Ironman is less than 3 months away!

Here are a couple of things I learned while completing the Ironman last week:

  1. You must focus on execution and breaking every task down into small, manageable actions. For example, heart rate zones, eating every 30 minutes, drinking two bottles of Gatorade every two hours, etc. By breaking the race down into smaller (measurable) actions it enables you to push through the really bad patches during a race, in business, and in life. One foot in front of the other. Count your breathes. Push through.
  2. It’s easy to run a marathon or lead a company when things are going well, isn’t it? But what about when things are going really bad? Two employees quit, your kids are acting out in school, you got kicked in the face during the swim portion of the race… what do you do? Give up or rev up? Practicing emotional fitness daily (journaling, meditating, reading, exercising, yoga, affirmations, counting your breaths, etc.) will allow you to push through and survive. Before you know it you’re out of the bad patch and on to the good. Just know that a bad patch will come again and if you are emotionally fit, you will be able to weather the emotional, physical, or mental pain.
  3. Those bad patches we were just talking about? They will end. Everything ends. No matter how much pain you are in – at some point it will be over. Maybe not as quickly as you would like, but it will end. Just be confident enough in your ability to weather the storm. Be emotionally fit enough to take whatever comes your way and know you can make it through.
  4. Keep your emotions in check – stay in control. This is especially true for the week leading up to the race or a big business event. Don’t let yourself get all hyped up and all in your head before the big day. Stay controlled as much as possible leading up to the race or speaking engagement and then unleash hell! When the gun goes off or you are handed the mic, let that built up energy out and execute. Using that energy prematurely on worrying, over-thinking, stressing out, or pushing yourself too hard, may make you tank during the event.
  5. Follow a model. Let me say that again. Follow a model. Whether in business or while training you need to follow a plan, but be open to making adjustments and tweaks along the way to optimize performance. You are rewarded on race day for what you do for the days/weeks/months/years leading up to the race. There is no cheating here! Follow a model.
  6. Celebrate! You just crushed it. Have a glass of wine with friends, have a cheat meal, take a day off, do whatever it is you want to do to celebrate. And then get back at it. Better yet, go schedule your next race or competition. When you hit a big goal or milestone you should celebrate! But don’t lose site of your long term goals and make sure you have a plan for your next big opportunity. Growth is what drives us and is why you signed up for that race or got into business in the first place, right?

How do you stay emotionally fit? How do you celebrate? What big goal or milestone do you have coming up in the next six months? Share in the comments below!

 

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