Found on Ironman.com and written by Jessica Elliott
If any of these quirks describe you, watch out, there may be a PR in your near future.
Triathletes come from different backgrounds, range greatly in age and often take completely different approaches to training and racing. But, deep down, we know we’re all cut from the same cloth. That’s why there’s an instant camaraderie among us—it’s clear that we share the same sort of “crazy;” those personality ticks that keep us going day in and day out. The idiosyncrasies that justify jumping out of bed at 4 a.m. to fit a swim in. That unbreakable internal drive. Which of the following traits can you identify with?
1. We can deftly balance a jam-packed schedule. We might not always be OCD, but we know how to stay organized enough to get our workouts in, even if it means there’s a little chaos at home. “I have a client who is an attorney and he does all of his legal research while he’s on an indoor trainer,” says triathlete and coach Peter Russo of Russo Racing in Rumford, Rhode Island. We’ve tweaked our routines down to the minute. We can go from training attire to dinner date ready in 15 minutes—flat.
2. We are maxed out on self-discipline. Waking up at 4 a.m.? We revel in it. “I cherish most 4 a.m. alarms because everyone else loathes them,” says Eric Keltner, a Dallas triathlete and father of two who is training for Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Texas. “The window between 4 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. is mine to own and, by the time I get to the office, I’ve accomplished more than most will all day.”
3. We’re laser-focused about our goals. We make the sacrifices necessary to reach them—no matter how odd it might appear. From skipping out early during Friday night gatherings and running circles around the parking lot make our watch read 10 miles instead of 9.92, or even wearing ill-fitting borrowed gear to make sure a workout is completed, we make it happen. “I had a client who worked on her balance while brushing her teeth at night by standing on one foot,” says Casey Arendt, an Austin triathlete and coach with Go the Distance Coaching. Call us strange, but that’s our normal. There’s no room for compromise.
4. We take goals one step further. We don’t just want to participate in a certain race or cross the finish line at that first IRONMAN 70.3 race, we want to do it as fast as we know we can. If we don’t hit those goals, we commiserate for awhile—then get back to it. We aren’t afraid to fail.
5. Pain management is fun for us. We thrive on the inevitable suffering with strength and grace. We live by inspirational quotes, sayings and mottos. They give us things to think about while we’re conquering the uncomfortable. You’ll find them hanging in our pain caves, or posted on our Facebook walls.
6. We welcome obstacles, adversity and pressure. These not only make great race stories—those sub-30-degree temps and 30-mile-per-hour gusts at IRONMAN Florida? Five flats in one race? They give us a chance to push our mental and physical boundaries. And we’ll gladly tell you about our battle wounds, from blisters to missing toenails.
7. We’re in love with our sport. While we might not favor one of the disciplines, the combination outweighs any drudgery. We find triathlon inexplicably exciting, no matter how well we perform and, if we’re honest, an endurance race is more bearable when there’s variety.
8. We are persistent and determined (with a dash of stubbornness.) Injury or life challenges aren’t enough to deter the disciplined triathlete from meeting the goal. Sure, we might loathe, whine and try every treatment imaginable to get us on the fast-track to recovery, but there is one thing we don’t do, and will never do: give up.
9. We are competitive, both with ourselves and others. First and foremost, we do this because we live for seeing what we can achieve. While proving it to our peers and coaches is nice, and yeah, it’s a pretty great day if we happen to find ourselves on the podium, we’re really in it because of an unstoppable internal drive. But we’ll admit that we’re also keeping an eye on the person next to us cranking the pace on the treadmill, or trying to overtake us down the length of the pool. We will beat them. We’re genuinely thankful that they’re there to motivate us.
10. We love to share our knowledge and convert our friends. It’s taken us awhile to hone our diets, strategies and routines, and we like to share our successes to make life easier for sport newbies. It’s even better if the beginner is someone we like—a little friendly competition never hurt anyone.
11. We know that it takes one to know one. We love joining tri-related Facebook forums and providing and gaining advice, or dissecting races. “Where else can you share horror stories of how your bladder held up—or didn’t?” says Wausau, Wisconsin triathlete Gina Cornell, who recently raced IRONMAN Cozumel. “Many late-night messages and posts helped me prepare for the race, and get excited, or even nervous. Changing current … what?!” We find camaraderie in these outlets, and know that it’s the best way to avoid driving our family members off.
Jessica Elliot is a Dallas-based freelance writer and IRONMAN athlete.