A Mighty Triathlete Hug
Iam constantly inspired by the depth of talent, the display of power, grit and athleticism in our sport. The world championship performances this year from sprint to Ironman show just how fast and tactical the sport has become. Ironman began as a challenge to see which specialists are the best all-around athletes: swimmers, cyclists or runners. Amidst their muscle, I repeatedly witness the mental prowess and emotional resilience of the strongest triathletes. They seem to share an expansive, generous spirit. Whether it’s the charitable work of ahl Man of the Year turned triathlete, Mike Zigomanis, profiled in this issue, the efforts of race volunteers we showcased in the last issue or the subtle glimpses we get into the hearts and minds of athletes in the midst of racing, triathletes give of themselves on every level. I encountered this benevolence while racing Steelhead 70.3, Michigan this past summer.
Feeling drained and uncertain I should even be there, I stood on the beach for the pro start watching the waves of Lake Michigan slam the pro men fighting the current. I saw three-time Ironman champion, retired U. S. Army officer and mom, Jessica Jacobs, walk over to say good luck to the two parathletes starting with us. When she returned to the line beside me she leaned in with tears in her eyes and said, “They both lost a limb in Afghanistan – when I see that I realize that none of this, [the stress of racing, the nerves we all navigate] means anything.” Although I’d never met her before, I certainly knew who she was and smiled in agreement. Without a word, she threw her arms around me in a hug I’ll never forget. It conveyed her empathy, her generosity, her humility – attributes that make her a champion. While I wouldn’t encourage the athletes I coach to race feeling as I did that morning, I am grateful I did toe the line if only for that scene on the beach. It got me through a rough day, but more important, it reminded me how grace and kindness can make us fierce, powerful and successful competitors in sport and in life. Not a bad thing to keep in mind over this holiday season when giving is paramount and stresses run high.
Armed with that thought and TMC’s holiday gift guide, you’re sure to make the triathletes in your life happy all season long. If the gift of travel is on your checklist, Kevin Mackinnon outlines the best destination races with tips on making the most of your trip while training and racing. He also explains how to avoid travel nightmares. We also showcase the best triathlon training camps and travel aids.
Every multi-tasking triathlete wants to know how to do it all, and age group duathlon world champion Jennifer Faraone discusses this in her interviews with Olympians and pro athletes about their secrets on training through parenting. Roger Hospedales interviews Ironman Canada winner Trevor Wurtele and Muskoka 70.3 winner Lionel Sanders.
Whether it’s on the start line or in the midst of a tough day, never underestimate the power of a hug. You work those arms hard in training – they are sure to give good ones.