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!

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Mary

    You are doing a great job Nina!!

    April 21, 2011 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Lisa

    Nina – You are truly an inspiration to us all! You continue to amaze me with your strength and determination to see this to a successful ending – which, in fact, is really not an ending but a new beginning to a more confident and healthy YOU!!!

    Let's hear it for the never-give-up, never-give-in, act-not-react type of individual, who has "True Grit," and who, when confronted by an adversary, spits in his eye!!

    Go Nina Go!!!

    April 21, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. ed chambers

    Stasia you have came a long way.Mom and I are proud you gogogogo.

    April 21, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. stepupyourgame

    Hello Nina, what an exciting challenge. You might be interested in the Mental Toughness Telesummit, which I am hosting next week (Apr 25 – 29). I too am fascinated by the idea of "grit" and I brought together an amazing line-up of speakers - New York Times best-selling authors, TED speakers, sports and performance psychologists, a Navy SEAL-turned-Ironman, fitness experts and elite athletes - who are going to hit mental toughness from every angle. It's free to register.

    April 21, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. fred

    I have done several small trialthalons over the years, but never the Kona Ironman (not good enough to qualify). I don't know what your distances willbe, but here is my 2-cents of advice: to keep yourself motivated and positive (I can do it) durng the race, keep thinking about the distances you have done in practice. If youdid the full race distance in each event, think to your self that "I have done this before. This is no problem." If you HAVE NOT done the full race distance before, think (for a 10 mile race run) "I have run 8 miles everal time. I can do two more miles easy. " Keep thinking about this as you run/ride/swim. Not once,but over and over. Ithelp metally pull you through and distracts your brain from pain and distances. It really helps when you are on a lonely stretch of road. Good luck!

    April 22, 2011 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jim Van Meerten

    You go girl getting fit is the thing to do


    May 1, 2011 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Brian

    Enjoy burning out your joints and tendons while not getting any stronger. Enjoy sitting on a bike for eight hours a day and not having any time to enjoy life. Enjoy pounding the pavement and burning out your knees ankles and hips without getting one bit stronger. Enjoy spending THOUSANDS of dollars on gear making other people rich.

    Enjoy being treated like garbage by other triathletes because you're just starting.


    Become a Crossfitter and learn how to do some truly amazing things without all the wasted money, time, gear preparation, and orthopedic injuries that come from triathlons. All you need is heart, perseverance, and determination.

    May 19, 2011 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply

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