When and how did triathlon or multisport become a part of your life?
Triathlon became a part of my life shortly after I took up running. After my second child was born in 2014, I struggled with Post-Partum Depression. I had 2 kids back to back, and my entire world was rocked. I had always looked at "running for fun" as ridiculous, a waste of time, and boring. I was a new Mom, unhappy with myself, I felt isolated, and tired. My husband bought me a jogging stroller and I began to walk (and jog 1/4 mile increments) at a time during Non-nap hours. 1/4 mile walk-jog turned into 1/2 mile, and so on. Pretty soon, I wasn't stuck inside, I was outdoors, on a dirt road, pushing 2 little guys, and losing baby weight, but mostly, I was smiling again. In 2015, After a year or so of running and entering a couple 10k's, a Half Marathon, and a planned Marathon, my husband suggested a Triathlon. I had no idea what was involved, but I figured "why not try it". I borrowed a bike from a friend, and winged my first Sprint Tri in August 2015, I LOVED IT.
What has been one of your greatest accomplishment as an athlete?
My greatest accomplishment(s) as an athlete is qualifying for Kona World Champs on my First Ironman (Coeur D"Alene) 2017, as well as qualifying for the Boston Marathon (2017) on my first Marathon.
What is the most challenging thing for you to do in triathlon?
Swimming is definitely my most challenging aspect of Triathlon. I love learning from some of the incredible RTB swimmers, they inspire me, and I am floored by their fish qualities in the water :)
What was the scariest thing you have had to do? Are you glad you did it?
The scariest thing I have ever done is become a Mom. There is so much unknown territory, responsibility, expectations, and fear-- But these are just the scary things. The love, joy, innocence, peace, and hope, take over all of the scary. I wouldn't be who I am without my kids.
What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this
My biggest challenge is trying to balance it all. There's never enough time in the day to "nail it" I have learned to choose my family over what I think are super important workouts, to not take everything so seriously, to remember that we are paying for this extremely expensive sport(s), so have fun, meet people, laugh, and most of all, be grateful for every breath.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
The best advice was from my Mom on my wedding day, "Don't stop, yield".
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
My high school Basketball coach once told me "Remember, there will always be someone that's faster or stronger, so stay humble, but keep pushing".
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Alright, this is the long part :)
My inspiration comes from my Mom, Husband, Kids, and my Brothers.
My Mom raised my 5 brothers and I as a single Mother, we didn't have much money, but we weren't aware of that because we had each other. She is a rock, my teacher, my mentor.
My husband saved me from myself. He is my best friend, he supports me and is always there for me, he pushes me when I don't want to be pushed, he loves me when I don't think I need love, he believes in me when I don't believe in myself.
My kiddos make me want to be a better person every day, they also keep me on my toes, and have taught me patience that I never knew existed.
My brothers have taught me resilience and grit, how to keep going when the going is tough. Think about an Ironman, how much of it is mental toughness? There's something to be said about finishing an Ironman, when the physical wears out, the mental pushes on, and this is what I've learned from my brothers. In 2008 my brother Jacob committed suicide. I still hate putting those words out there, but if you knew him, you loved him. If you knew him, you knew that every day was perhaps your last day. If you knew him, you knew that he would give you the shirt off his back. If you knew him, you knew he would give you the last dollar that he had. He was far from perfect, but I often envision him during a race with his big beaming smile, bright blue eyes saying to me "Haha YEAH Gin!". It inspires me, it helps me go, to push forward when he couldn't push anymore.
I know I will never be the greatest, I won’t be winning Gold at the Olympics, or setting insane records, but I love my Life…and I truly enjoy Triathlons :)
By Alex Crampton, Psy. D, Licensed Psychologist
Is there cap to the will power we possess? There’s no question that we’ve all been at a crossroads at one point or another in our sport and asked ourselves: “Can I take this anymore? Do I have anything left in the tank to get this done?”. For decades, social psychologists assumed that we only have a certain capacity for volition/will power. However, up until recent years there was very limited objective research done to determine whether or not this was a valid assumption because will power was deemed "too subjective". As a result of this assumption, people tend to view this “will power ceiling” as truth and have placed undue conscious and/or subconscious limitations on their performance.
Between 2007-2011, there were a variety of studies that finally countered the will power ceiling assumption and through some very basic cognitive restructuring techniques (i.e., all the researchers did was tell one group of performers in the study that there was no limit to their will power) and they saw significant improvements in their overall performance when compared to the performance of the control group participants (i.e., performers either left to their own preconceived notions and/or reminded that there truly WAS a limit to will power). In summary, researchers found that when we worry about will power depletion our performance suffers. Here’s an analogy to illustrate (because I like them): Sometimes when we’re driving and we see the fuel gauge hit “E” and the next gas station is who knows where, it’s all we can think about. Our preoccupation with becoming stranded in the middle of nowhere takes over and we become scary drivers. Don’t be that person! Adjust your thinking and focus on what’s right in front of you! In the driving analogy, it’s the road and the safety of ourselves and everyone around us. In sport, it’s pretty much the same…focus on what we can control. What’s tangible. We don’t truly know how much will power we have until we’re laying on the floor in a puddle of sweat having failed like Phil’s crossfit guy from the newsletter a few weeks back.
Don’t let assumptions control you! Be your own benchmark!
In my follow-up to this entry, I’ll be discussing the neurological/neuropsychological findings that further debunk the assumption that there is a will power ceiling for all of us…
Contact Alex here.
Why I Tri: I needed to replace my first passion of climbing with another endeavor. It became hard to get my climbing buddies together, life just happens. I searched for another way to stay fit and challenge myself. Loving to swim and bike, triathlons made sense. I figured I could learn to love running – which is coming slowly. My last summit was Mount Shasta in 2015 and shortly after did my first Tri – The Lake Meridian Super Sprint. My last Tri was Ironman 2017 in CDA and I’m still blown away.
Triathlons allow me to share and use as life lessons for those who say “I can’t do it” – whatever “I can’t do it” means to them. I have told numerous people if you want, you most certainly can do most anything. I’m a 55 year old sign executive with a blown L5 disc, severe asthma, sleep apnea and a failing thyroid. As many of the RTB team might recall, I did the backstroke in that first Super Sprint. I felt silly but at least I finished. No Way, No Way, No Way could I do an Ironman. Two years later I did just that.
My advice is don’t set boundaries, at least not at the beginning. Let the process happen organically. Just start swimming, biking and running and most of all, have FUN. You will be on a faster track than you think as 10 laps turn quickly into 100. Journal everything – what you did that day, what you ate, the weather, event times both start and finish, EVERYTHING! It will be invaluable when you look back. Surround yourself with positive people and positive environments and watch yourself soar. Read good books, “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll and “Racing Weight” by Matt Fitzgerald were instrumental for me.
Lastly I thank my wife, Gail who is the most encouraging person I know and mostly, my God in whom all things are possible.
Raise the Bar
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