Ever thought to yourself “I’ll feel confident after I’ve done the training” (or the event)?
It’s a trap I think we all fall into from time to time.
Going into an event with the right mindset and mental strategies is one of the most important, yet overlooked, aspects of race preparation.
And all too often, I’ve seen women adopt this approach, finish the training and fall apart mentally on race day. Or they cross the finish line but don’t feel any more confident about their abilities after the race than they did before.
But as you’ll hear from Melissa Urie in today’s episode of Sparta Chicks Radio, going into an event with the right mental strategies in place to deal with the (expected and unexpected) challenges is the difference between struggling and thriving, between hating the experience (thanks to the heat, cold, rain, wind or hills) and being grateful for, and enjoying, the experience.
Just 2 weeks before we recorded this conversation, Mel became only the second woman ever (and 1st Australian woman) to finish the Epic 5 - an appropriately named event consisting of 5 Ironman distance triathlons (that’s 224km or 140 miles of swimming, cycling and running) every day for 5 days on 5 different Hawaiian Islands.
Not a bad achievement for a woman who had no running background when she started in triathlons: “I thought running was stupid. I thought why run when you can walk.”
In this conversation we discuss:
- why she wanted to do such a seemingly “impossible” race in the first place (quite simply, it scared her),
- her strategies for dealing with the heat (these strategies work equally well for cold, wet or windy conditions as well as a race with lots of hills or stairs),
- how you inspire people around you (without realising it) when you go out and chase your dreams,
- the hallucinations she experienced functioning on just 14 hours of sleep over 5 days, and
- how you can achieve far more than you think you physically can with the power of your mind.
Some of my favourite quotes from this conversation include:
- “I learnt how strong my mind is because honestly, I shouldn’t have been able to physically finish that race" (when speaking about doing Ironman Cairns just 4 weeks after breaking her arm)
- “The way I try to live my life is if there’s something that’s scary and intimidating, I try and move towards it, instead of away from it.”
- “To look at me, I don’t look like a superhuman athletic person…I just look like I’m an ordinary person. I just have extreme mental strength and I’m very very fit. But athletically I don’t typically look like someone like that so I’m always underestimated.”
- “I would never say “it’s really hot” because as soon as those words came out of my mouth it suddenly became my truth. So I would let myself think it but I would never say it. Anytime someone said “it’s hot”, I would never agree with them; I would always say “oh it’s not bad”. I’m saying to myself “it’s actually ok, you can cope with this”.
Even if you aren’t involved in triathlons, I have no doubt you’ll learn from and be inspired by Mel’s story.
Notes and resources
Only female in Hawaii's Epic5 challenge is Aussie Melissa Urie - Morning Show (Channel 7) March, 2017