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Tri Challenge: The advice of pros
April 21st, 2011
08:25 AM ET

Tri Challenge: The advice of pros

As a beginner triathlete, I am constantly amazed by the willingness with which experienced triathletes coach newcomers to the sport. (I define “experienced” as anyone who has done even one tri, because that’s more than I have done!)

From the moment I was selected for the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge 6-Pack, I have read as much as possible about the sport. But my most valuable lessons have come from those who have gone before me, including my hometown trainer, Dr. John Azar-Dickens, along with our coaches and colleagues from CNN who did the NYC Tri for the first time last year.

As my training builds toward our August 7 race, my swims, bikes and runs last longer, and there is a lot of time to think. Pushing my body and mind to achieve goals higher than the ones I reached yesterday - it helps to recall conversations from the experts.

This week in Kona, we have Tim and Nicole DeBoom with us, two multi-world-champion-Ironman professionals who are available to chat, watch, and evaluate us, and I am trying to learn as much as I can from them.

I took many notes from their presentation yesterday on “48 Hours to Race!” Besides giving us many tips on pre-race nutrition and rest, they shared a couple of race-day tales of their own, when they had surmounted unexpected obstacles for the win. (One of these was hilarious, but it shall remain by the pool where it was told…)

My best takeaway from this session was the importance of mental preparation. Tim and Nicole shared that they each have a mantra that helps them to remain focused through training and especially leading up to a race.

Your mantra can be anything with meaning to you, such as “strength," “smile," “power," etc., and some people actually place it on their bike as a reminder. Because our coaches shared an article on “true grit” with us this week, that is going to become my mantra. And no, it’s not because I’m from the South; it’s because “true grit” describes fortitude and perseverance even through obstacles and challenges.

I’m going to need a lot of grit in the coming weeks, but I know I will find it. After all, look how far I’ve already come!


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.