Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Ironman Experience

This is a little article that was published in my company's newsletter.. HR wanted me to write with some sort of business orientation, specifically about setting and attaining goals.... enjoy!!

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My Ironman Experience
By Luis Velasquez, Ph.D.

Well I did it! A year ago I promised myself I would do another Ironman Triathlon, and this past June I did it. What is an Ironman triathlon? It is one of the toughest sporting competitions in the world. It involves 3.8 Kms (2.4 Miles) of swimming, 180 Kms (112 miles) of biking and a grueling 42.15 Km (26.2 miles) of running. All this in one day! It only took me 12:57:01 to finish. This was my second Ironman event, and from the first experience I learned a lot. This time however, even before I started to train for it, I developed a training plan, I read books on hydration and fuel replacement, I listened to hours of advice from elite and pro- triathletes. I had a mental picture of what I wanted to accomplish. And then I trained hard, really hard. During my training I biked approximately 3200 kms (2,000 Miles), ran almost 2250 km (1,400 miles), and swam approximately 370 km (230 miles). Some would argue this is borderline psychotic, some have asked me why in heaven I would do something like this. If you are like me, you probably have a long list of things you’d like to accomplish, both for your business and life… what is stopping us?

With the right mindset and dedication, it IS in fact possible to squeeze your training, your work, your social life, your laundry etc. – but it all boils down to how badly you want it. It might be scary, and fear often stops us from pursuing a goal: fear of failure; fear of embarrassment; fear of change. Breaking through that fear is important. Additionally, many times, our overall goals -- or highly desired but not pressing desires (like an Ironman, or that promotion, or the book you wanted to write) -- get pushed aside for the necessary, deadline-oriented tasks. As a result, we often feel unsatisfied even if we’ve managed to check off everything from our daily “to do” list.

How did I become an Inronman? Becoming an Ironman was a goal of mine, thus setting that goal was the first step to do it. You cannot reach a goal that you have not set. Being specific about my goal was important, I knew that I needed to be able to swim, run and bike the distances and those numbers made it more real. As I started my training and kept a log of the miles I trained, I could actually see how I was improving and most importantly I saw that I could measure my progress. Doing this helped me know if I was on track. Looking at my progress and reaching my training mini goals kept me motivated. I knew from the beginning that this was an attainable goal. Even though I would have loved to win the race, I had to be realistic about what I could accomplish. Finally, signing up for that race a year in advance gave me a time frame of when I was going to reach that goal, with a palpable deadline. And when I crossed the finish line… wow… what a feeling!

Sometimes I impress myself, I walk on legs that can do an Ironman or run 50 miles non stop. The funny thing is, when we start to walk as small children, every step is applauded. This constant positive reinforcement is used to encourage our desire and persistence to walk. Thus like learning to walk, the more goals you achieve, the more goals you want to achieve… What is next for me? You’ll have to wait for the next newsletter....

1 comment:

Elham said...

very nicely written!