For six-months I’ve been coaching a friend train for her first 70.3, an Ironman half distance triathlon. Race day is next month, and last week she seeked an inspirational spark. Something that will spank her ass, give her strength, and move her fine bad-ass all the way to the finish line.
She is physically ready. She is mentally disciplined. Yet she felt lost. She had doubt. So I thought … there is only one thing left for me to do. Talk about the power of her spirit and what fuels her spirit. That fuel is her private reserve. Ultimately, when her mind and body shut down, her spiritual reserve will carry her to the finish line.
So, I shared my #1 tip to tap into our private reserve, no matter the race: personally, professionally, and athletically. While sharing it she cried. She loved it. She said she now has the physical, mental, and spiritual strength to take on the race.
Her reaction got me thinking. Maybe others need to tap into their private reserve too. So I am sharing, hoping it will bring joy and excitement to others as they run this race called Life.
This tip is a process that starts a few weeks before race day. It starts with you, the athlete, acknowledging that it takes a tribe to get you to the finish line, that this race (Life) is bigger then you. It is about you, your tribe, and your combined purpose.
Your tribe includes family members who cooked your food, or woke you at 4am for a swim, or a let you sleep while they took care of the kids or household items. Maybe your tribe includes a co-worker who inspired you to keep moving when you wanted a day off. Maybe it is someone in the news or a friend going through a tough time who inspired you to keep moving. Maybe it is someone who said a kind word when you felt tired and defeated. Maybe it is a doctor who nursed you back to health. And let’s not forget the most loyal tribe member … your dog who ran along and pulled you up a hill when you wanted to walk.
You get the gist. Your tribe has many faces, many types of love, many elements of support.
Next make a list of your tribe, number them one to whatever.
That list is the heart of your private reserve.
That list represents your heart, your love, your strength. While running devote the miles to your tribe. Visualize them running with you, cheering you on, telling you that you can do this, to finish strong.
In turn, with every step, breath and heartbeat send them love and strength (especially if their life is in pain).
Spiritually support your tribe. Say a prayer for them. Think about them. Think about what they mean to you. Think about your last conversation, and how they are doing. Talk to them.
Use a hanky to keep track of your tribe. Get one with a light color. Then with an ink pen (black, blue, pink, green … whatever color you like) list your miles (1-5, 1-10, 1-13.1, 1-26.2 etc.) and write a tribe member next to a mile marker.
If your list is longer then your distance … group your tribe with a mile marker i.e., Mile 3: co-workers, Mile 7: niece/nephews, Mile 10: Aunt Betty and Aunt Fran.
Let your tribe be your spiritual inspirational spark. That simple positive act of paying it forward, of devoting time to them, of praying for their peace/happiness … that will give you an inspirational spark and fill your spirit with energy to cross the finish line.
Put the hanky in your running bag or your T2 bag (the bag you’ll use when transitioning from bike to run).
Grab it. Tuck it into your running shorts. At the start of each mile pull it out. Read the name and send them love for that entire mile.
One Final Note:
When running use the hanky. Wipe your sweat with it. Dust off dirt with it. Blow snot in it. And if you must … use it in the bathroom. Your tribe wouldn’t want it any other way.
Always Tri. Never Stop.
Featured image provided by Flickr.