Repeat after me.
“I, Tony Ludlow, (insert your name)
do a triathlon
training for it.”
Some of you know that I did last weekend’s Memphis in May mountain bike triathlon. But what you probably did NOT know is that this was the first time, in over a hundred triathlons, that I did one without training properly for it. I know, I know … stupid.
I hadn’t been in the pool to train in several months.
I hadn’t been on my bike since LAST YEAR.
And I had NEVER raced a mountain bike, ever. In fact, I hadn’t even RIDDEN my mountain bike in a couple of years. Up until a couple of weeks ago it was in Chattanooga with my son Nathan.
On top of that, I swam in the triathlon using a wetsuit that was too small for me, making it difficult to breathe at all, gasping for air in the middle of a lake with others swimming on top of me.
Remember last week’s newsletter? I wrote about fear. Little did I know that I would be replaying those words in my head within days.
Here’s how it went.
At about 100 yards into the 1/3 mile swim I realized I’d made a critical error in judgment. I was already out of breath, my heart was beating out of my chest, my goggles were fogged up and I couldn’t see anything, and the straightjacket, I mean, the wetsuit I was wearing, made swimming ridiculous — imagine a T-Rex, with those little tiny dinosaur arms, trying to swim.
I somehow managed to flail over to a lifeguard canoe and grab the side of their boat. One of the guards onboard asked if I was done. Boy, was I EVER!! I couldn’t WAIT to crawl into that canoe and call it a day. “Permission to come aboard, sir?” was what I was thinking.
But instead, I heard myself say, “No, I just need to clear my goggles.”
No??? NO??? Just need to clear my goggles???
So I cleared my goggles and took off again. Somehow I managed to flip, flop, thrash, and splash around the swim course, on the verge of panic and distress, by an act of my will, trying every stroke that those about to drown make. I tried to imagine a way I could quit without embarrassing myself. But I could see the headlines: “Boot Camp Guy QUITS Triathlon” “Sergeant Tony Pulled Out of Lake by Little Teenaged Girl Lifeguard.” Oh, the humanity.
So I breast stroked. I back stroked. I side stroked. I dog paddled. And I was really glad that the swim cap and goggles hid my identity. According to the clock, the “swim” took me less than 15 minutes, but it felt like an eternity and I hated, hated, HATED everyone of those minutes.
Fear, ladies and gentlemen, for lack of a better word, is good … when you face it, embrace it, and do it anyway! Fear overcome makes you stronger and pushes the envelope and the boundaries of your comfort zone. That the comfort zone is for sissies and spectators ought to inspire you to get out of it. The comfortable seduces you to stay. But the comfort zone is boring, dull, and monotonous.
Yesterday I was the guest speaker at a business luncheon held at The Crescent Club (yes, I’m available to deliver a demotivational $peech to your group or event — seriously, motivational speaking has become a recent addition to the boot camp empire) and I spoke on the subject of overcoming your fears. I used last week’s newsletter as a foundation. Larry Heathcott was there nudging the person next to him saying, “I’ve heard this already!” hahaha
I’ll give you today what I gave them yesterday; my 5 strategies for facing your fears.
1. Scream like a girl. Seriously. If you ARE a girl you can get away with this. If you’re a guy, not so much. You’ve got to pretend that you’re not wetting your pants or that ball bearings of sweat aren’t rolling down your back, soaking your socks. What this really means is that you acknowledge that you’re afraid and move on to the next step. Naming the fear is the first step to overcoming it.
2. Breathe. Sounds simple, right? Especially if you’re out in the middle of a lake trying NOT to drown. But breathing deeply helps you to relax AND to bring more oxygen to your brain! Panic means quick shallow breathing which only leads to more panic and more quick shallow breathing, leading to hyperventilation and passing out!
3. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” And if that DID happen, you’d just deal with it, right? (This wasn’t a good question for me to ask as I floundered and flopped about in the middle of that lake.)
4. Get up on your toes and off your heels! This is about body language. If you want to guess which tennis player or which boxer is going to lose, ignore the score and look at their feet. Look at their body language. Winners are up on their toes and agile. Losers are back on their heels, slow, and sluggish. So stand up straight! Sit up! Heads up! Shoulders back! Look the challenge in the eye and with a shout, beg it to throw down its best shot! Think Lieutenant Dan in “Forrest Gump” up on the mast of that shrimp boat in the middle of the storm.
5. Tell yourself you CAN! Positive self talk wins, negative self talk loses. “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this … ” Momma always said, “if you can’t say something positive, don’t say anything at all.” That applies to how you talk to yourself too. In fact, the conversations you have with yourself are the most important conversations you have. Don’t snivel to yourself or others. Don’t whine to yourself or others. Don’t act like a crybaby, a chump, or a victim, not to yourself and not to others. JUST DO IT!
Face the fear and do it anyway … but, if you’re going to do a triathlon, train for it!
Oh, by the way, I came in second in my age group.
Yes, there were more than two of us!
When some of you are going to come back to Boot Camp. Some of you reading this newsletter haven’t been in a LONG time … and you KNOW who you are. Have the comforts and weight gain of Turdeville seduced you into being a slackerdog-loser-gutterslug?
The exit ramp to Turdeville is downhill, paved, smooth, and lined with smiling people. The ramp back onto the Fitness Super Hiway is uphill, pockmarked, littered with construction trash, and lined with people telling you to turn back.
Get out of Turdeville! Or … you can get on a first named basis with the staff at Casual Male XL, Lane Bryant, and your cardiologist’s office staff.
MIDTOWN BOOT CAMP
USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP — Midtown ROCKS! Evergreen Presbyterian Church, across the street from Rhodes College, Monday through Friday, 0530! Commanders Theresa Andreccetti and Holly Guthrie are leading the charge in Midtown! Join ‘em! If you’re a regular at Christ Methodist, but you live in midtown, feel free to drop in!
Speaking of triathlons, last weekend the following Boot Campers did one of the Memphis in May triathlons: Wendy Ludlow, Daniel Shaffer, Andrew Forsdick, and Lisa Park! This was Lisa’s FIRST triathlon! Way to go Lisa! Congratulations guys!
NO BOOT CAMP TONIGHT, THURSDAY, MAY 22
Instead, let’s run the Zoom Through the Zoo 4 miler at 6:30. Race day registration begins at 4:30!
MEMORIAL DAY SCHEDULE
Monday is Memorial Day. The day we set aside to honor those who’ve died in combat. We will only have ONE WORKOUT on Monday at 7 AM. Wear your running shoes, bring your weights, and bring a friend!
FIRE SURVIVORS UPDATE
Thank you so much for your support and the donations you gave to help meet the needs of the family whose home was burned down. They are in a furnished apartment now and are actually helping yet another family who was burned out of their home too! Isn’t that the spirit of giving! Thank you everyone who donated!
Traditionally the 0830 class, which meets only on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, goes on hiatus for June, July, and August. If you’re a regular member of the 0830 class and you WANT that class to continue through the summer, you need to email me and let me know. If a significant number of you 0830 boot campers want to continue through the summer, I’ll keep that class on active duty.
In June we’ll begin a 0645 class at Christ Methodist. That 0645 summer class will begin in JUNE and go for June, July, and August, meeting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. (Did I mention that it starts in JUNE?)
There are NO changes to the 0530 class or the evening class!
“When you stop moving, it’s over.”
~ Don Wildman, 75 year old athlete and adventurer
To your good health and fitness,