Triathlons and Teams: Lessons in Resilience, Technology, and Purpose.
Product Design Executive at Trebellar
Triathlon, a sport combining swimming, cycling, and running, has been a regular part of my life for many years. I typically tackle 2–3 races each year, mainly focusing on the half-distance, known as 70.3 (you may have heard it called Half IronMan): swimming 1.2 miles, cycling 56 miles, and running 13.1 miles. It’s a demanding endeavor that consumes about 6.5 hours of my day, making me an amateur in the eyes of some, but the sheer joy it brings me is immeasurable.
Over the years, I’ve mentally composed and revised this post countless times (mostly while training and competing in the events), reflecting on how long-distance triathlons mirror the dynamics of building a great team, recognizing one’s strengths and weaknesses, and leveraging technology, nutritional analysis, physical fitness and grit, for success. Yet, the most profound revelation, like in work has been the importance of having a purpose that drives us forward.
While triathlons might appear to be individual endeavors, they are far from it. The countless hours spent training and racing can put a strain on precious family time. However, it’s these very family members who stand with you at the start line, cheer you along the route, and provide the motivation needed to persevere.
Your team extends beyond your family to friends who offer guidance and share their own race experiences, serving as your personal board of advisors. It also includes the professionals you invest in, like the pilates teacher, physiotherapist, chiropractor, and bike specialists, all contributing to your success.
My journey in triathlons began over two decades ago when my brother and I participated in the London Triathlon to raise money for the Motor Neurons Disease Association, a cause close to our hearts as it had claimed our father’s life later that year. The memory of my dad has remained a driving force, pushing me forward each time I stand on the beach, ready to plunge into the cold water.
Through years of participating in long-distance triathlons, I’ve learned several valuable lessons. These events tend to attract older athletes because they demand more than just physical prowess; they require mental fortitude and life experience. The ability to endure through the various phases of a race, battling the mind’s tricks and building resilience, is crucial. Experience really matters.
In 2009, I completed a full-length triathlon that took over 14 hours. My body was exhausted, but my unwavering mental focus and the purpose that ignited my journey with my brother years earlier carried me through. Grit and determination have a power that becomes evident when you’re at your lowest point.
Technology has also played a pivotal role in my triathlon journey. From switching to a carbon frame bike for increased speed and comfort to donning advanced wetsuits and customized running shoes, every technological enhancement has shaved precious minutes off my race times and improved overall performance.
Despite all these factors, the ultimate key to success and enjoyment in long-distance events is the sense of purpose. Mine having begun with the memory of my dad many years ago.
Challenges like these require patience, preparation, and commitment. When people ask me how to start, I always reply, “Buy a ticket and show up at the start line.” The rest — technology, mental strength, and focus — will follow. The euphoria of crossing the finish line, buoyed by the support of your team, is indescribable.
The last mile or two of a race is a deeply emotional experience for me. I scream with joy, fueled by the cheers of supporters lining the course. To those who have ever supported any event’s finish line, thank you; you make it all worthwhile. For me, triathlons are a therapeutic journey. They remind me that life is a marathon, not a sprint, and finding joy in the process is as important as achieving the end goal.
Just like nurturing a great team, my triathlon journey has required technical & tools, diversity, resilience, planning, and a strong sense of purpose.
So, invest in your team, embrace technology, seek the expertise you need, set goals, take care of yourself, and most importantly, show up. To my A-Team and everyone who has contributed to my journey, you are my “why,” and I’m forever grateful.
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