Category Archives: Bike, Run, Triathlon

Insights into having the mind become a supportive voice during preparation, training or racing sporting events of biking, running, or triathlons.

IM the I Am

Back in January of 1996 two students at Stanford University began a research project that would evolve into one of the greatest gifts ever given to the planet. It was the development of a search engine that would provide information to determine a website’s relevance. The project evolved into a company as Google was introduced to the business world.

The name originated from the word ’googol’ which is defined as the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. In other words, lots of information. Their mission statement was ‘To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’.  This could be considered an intention to help the planet by having something so complex be easily available for people.

Google has evolved from being a company name and a statement of intention to become an expression. It is now the action of initiating search. No longer is the direction given to “Go use that Google program to do a search”. Instead it is simply “Go Google it”.

Back in February of 1978 fifteen athletes in Hawaii began a quest that would become one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. It began with an informal challenge of breaking the barriers of athletic endeavors and would evolve into being a pinnacle of the sporting world.

The quest began on the shoreline of the island of Oahu with a grueling 2.4 mile swim in the waters of the Pacific Ocean followed by a bike ride of 112 miles around the island culminating with a 26.2 marathon run. The story is told that it was agreed that whoever finished first would be called the Ironman. The next year the personal challenge became a scheduled race and the Ironman triathlon was born.

The Hawaii Ironman, referred to as IM Kona, is the day of reckoning for those who have trained with intense discipline and have cultivated mindfulness to develop the mental edge for peak performance. This mental edge is about becoming more aware of what is happening in the outside surroundings while being more attuned to themselves within.  This provides clarity to what is happening in their thinking, maintaining a calm presence of mind along with the utmost desire to keep going and never give up. It is defined as becoming an Ironman when you cross the finish line to be acknowledged by the voice of Mike Reilly saying, “You-are-an Ironman!”.

Ironman is now an entity, a living, breathing representation of dedication, courage and responsibility. It is the willingness to volunteer support of others without fanfare or expectation of reward. It is about helping those who are facing challenges and difficulties with the conviction that anything is possible in every IM race.

Now, in addition to saying “Let’s Google it”, the same can be said for Ironman. ‘Let’s be Ironman’. I like what that means. I’m up for that, yes I am. It is now your responsibility to live this credo every moment of every day for the rest of your life. So go forward and be ‘IM that” or is it I am that? You decide.

White-Line Fever

Queen K Highway Bike

Queen ‘K’ Highway

The sound of a whirring chain is heard beyond the din of the hot Mumuku winds. These Hawaiian winds blow over from the town of Waimea on a course to reach the coast below Kawaihae, a town on the Big Island of Hawaii. The  daily direction of the wind is over the lava on the lower slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano however on this day this ancient flow is interrupted by over twelve-hundred warriors on bikes.

My immediate attention was the focus of a 3-inch wide white line roadway boundary tied like a ribbon along the black asphalt surface of the Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway, often called the ‘Queen K’. If I would dare to turn my head for the briefest moment I would see a landscape that was rocky, malformed and desolate, making the surface of the moon look like an oasis. The view of the rocky, barren landscape could only be a glimpse as the focus and attention immediately returned to the white line along the black surface. Yet the relentless wind continued its endless swirl amidst the presence of this tri-athlete’s body, sitting on a saddle, hands on handlebar, and nothing else going through the mind except the awareness of the legs pumping, the feet on the pedals…push-spin-pull… breathe in, breathe out… push-spin-pull…breathe in,  breathe out.

Little did I know that my first active meditation practice was introduced to me at that time while riding along that sun-baked road.   Continue reading

Bike Transition Spectacle

Improving awareness improves the attention of your mind saving you time and effort during a race. The busy mind causes you to be in a hurry and rushing around in a panic will cost you when you are not focused on the immediate task at hand.

While watching a recent triathlon I witnessed the attitudes and actions present at the bike dismount zone marker. The actions ranged from those cruising to the line with a gradual rolling stop to some bikers showing the gymnastics necessary when coming to a near-fall immediate stop. Think about it…what would be the benefit of a few seconds compared to the possibility of injury for the remainder of the race?

US_Navy Bike small

During my time viewing the riders there was a particularly obvious event of a biker that revealed the actions of an occupied mind. The biker came flying into the zone full speed, near-skid the brakes while hopping out of the shoes both feet at the same time. Being off-balance forced the hands to stay on the handlebars resulting in the bike doing a rear-wheel hop into the air. All of this happened in an instant and the unfortunate result was his shin hitting the spinning pedal causing him to skip a step and utter a gasp of pain. He was basically out of control.

Technically this could have been avoided with a different approach to the dismount, Continue reading

Triathlon Transition Training

Public Use PhotoIt takes time, effort, training and equipment to reach a personal record and improve your times during each stage of the race. However at some point you will peak as your fitness level reaches a plateau. In fact, there will likely be many times during the season when your training performance may flatten and improvement becomes incremental. At this time it would be easy to consider what is happening as an irreversible downturn in your ability and performance. However, there is another aspect of the triathlon where you can improve your time that is beyond the level of fitness. This is found in the transitions. Continue reading