How Positive Affirmations & Gratitude got me to the Finish (Triathlon Recap)

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For the back story, make sure you read my last post. It will explain everything. 🙂 This was an emotional and mentally challenging event for me.

I absolutely love the shirts this year!! Not only are they cute, but they’re so comfortable AND they fit me perfect! 🙂 I feel like most race shirts are either way too small or too baggy on me, so I was super excited to get this shirt that fit me so well.

Before I get to the race day recap, let me back up to Friday night – the day before bike set up. I can’t even believe this happened….

So Friday night around 6pm, the kids and I go for a quick bike ride around the block. One last test of the bike to make sure the seat was the right height (as if it magically moved in the garbage, I don’t know) and just to get one last feel on it. Well, literally 2 minutes before we get home, I am going up a hill, I switch gears and my bike breaks. Like, I am impressed at my strength because it is pure BROKEN. The back metal piece – whatever it’s called – is all bent out of sorts and the handlebars are even bent a little.

Uh. The bike shop is closed. I have to drop my bike off at 3pm tomorrow.

Is this the universe telling me I don’t have to race anymore?

Is this a sign?

I worked the next morning (Saturday) so thankfully my husband was able to take my bike into the shop. We were so surprised they were able to fix it – and it was only $50. I wish I would have taken a picture of it, seriously it was an impressive break. I am both thankful it fixed and also a bit bummed because it means there’s no way out now.  That afternoon we took my bike and all the gear to bike drop off. No turning back now!

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Recap —

Swim:

Oh my gosh. So if you remember, I was the last heat of the day to go. I got to the event around 1pm and I didn’t go on deck for the swim till around 3:30. This part is so exciting and nerve wracking. You literally have butterflies in your stomach trying to escape because you’re a mix of nerves and excitement. I think of it as a coin – one side is pure fear and the other is pure joy/excitement.

Usually swimming is my strongest event. Out of swim/bike/run I feel the most comfortable swimming and I enjoy it the most.  I think I was extra nervous and scared this year, for whatever reason. Around 4 it was my turn to jump into the pool. The volunteers and lap counters are just so amazing – they are encouraging and kind. I know they’ve been there much longer than me and you wouldn’t even know it thanks to their spirits and attitude.

I felt okay during the swim. I alternated between freestyle and breaststroke. I began a practice of positive self talk/affirmations as I swam and honestly, this is what got me through. I think it helped so much. It took my mind off the jitters and made the time go by so much faster! There are 10 laps (or 20 lengths) for the 500m swim so A – J. I came up with all these words literally as I was swimming. This wasn’t planned out ahead of time but I truly believed it really helped!

I started off with ” I am amazing. I feel amazing amazing. I am amazing. I feel amazing” and I repeated that for 1 full lap. Then I went to the B and said, ” I am brave. I am brave. I am brave” for lap 2 and so on…..

I finished in around 11 minutes (I think) – which is okay for me.

The transition:

So, this year because it was cold and raining outside (it was around 45/50 degrees) and I wasn’t trying to beat anyone but myself, I decided I would change in the locker room into dry clothes so I would be as comfortable as possible for the run and bike. Well… I’m not sure this was necessary, as it was raining the entire bike ride and I ended up with wet clothes anyways. ha! 🙂 This also added a couple minutes to my transition time which again, I don’t really care, but in hindsight it was probably not necessary.

Bike:

The bike was actually kind of fun in a weird way because it was freezing and windy and raining. Water was splashing on my face, my socks were wet and my butt was soaked. The bike is hard for me. I swear I can’t figure it out. I pedal fast and hard and for miles and miles yet I get no where. It feels like it takes me for.ev.ER.

Finally OH FINALLY DEAR SWEET JESUS I see the end of the bike portion and I literally mutter “ugh this stupid bike I hate you” as I near the end. Then I smile and say thank you four times as I’m handing over my bike to the sweet volunteers

Run:

If you’ve ever done a triathlon or even just a brick of bike/run, you know the feeling you get in your legs when you hop off that bike and start running… it’s …. interesting? weird. numbing? Not sure how I’d describe that but I decided to walk a bit before I started waddling.

The run course was very quiet, but I was not alone which is what I feared. Thankfully I could see a couple people in front and a few more people behind me. I knew there were bears reported on this trail – there always are this time of year in this area – so I remained on alert.

The first mile of the run was rough mentally. I was almost in tears many times and I questioned why I was there. I tried to find a van to pick me up and take me home but there wasn’t anyone on the roads. Mile 2 was a relief. I started to pick up the pace a little bit and then, I started practicing gratitude.

I started with my feet. This is an honest real glimpse into the talk I had with myself with I was walking/running. My self talk went from negative to positive in a matter of minutes, and by practicing gratitude I was able to finish the race with a smile on my face.

I am thankful for my feet. Thank you that they allow me to walk and run. I am thankful that I have great knees! I am thankful that I have strong legs that let me bike and move. I am thankful that I get to do this. Thank you for my healthy lungs and heart beating. Thank you that I am safe. I am so lucky I get to do this! Today is a great day!  Thank you Universe for this day. I am grateful.

And then… by the Grace of God, I turned the corner and saw my kids screaming for me and as all moms do when they see their children at events, I welled up inside and started running a little faster. My youngest yells, “mom! Run!” And I laughed and said, “Kid, I AM running!!” When I crossed the finish line I was so thankful it was over and happy I completed it despite all the mental obstacles I went through.

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This triathlon was not a physical obstacle for me. It was challenging because I wasn’t as well trained as I could have been, but it was more of a mental and emotional workout than anything. It’s silly if you don’t understand, but if you get me then — you get it.

I did what I said I would do.

I crossed the finish line.

I won the race against my mind.

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Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

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