Getting Started? = Getting Beyond Your Fear(s)

| June 26, 2012

By Chris Cullin

I’ve been active most of my life, and competed in a number of sports. But I’m relatively new to endurance sports, and brand new to triathlon. I know there are a number of others in our group that are in a similar place. Joella asked me recently to talk about how I got started with all this, and (at times anyway) set aside fears in favor of growing in a new sport. I truly hope that sharing my experiences here may help somebody else move forward getting started on their own journey. It’s been so worth it for me!

As many of you already know my story started last May when my niece encouraged me to commit to running the Philadelphia marathon with her. 2010 was Kellie’s first year with endurance running, and she was very motivated to finish a marathon. Ironically, I wanted to achieve that goal for 20 years, but had never committed until Kellie asked. The challenge of preparing together for that lofty goal was enough to push me to make the commitment. However, the commitment is just where my journey started.

I view my experience into triathlon as a sequence of small steps. After making the leap to set the goal to run Philly, I had to figure out how to prepare.

As with you, for whatever our reasons, joining up with the Get Fit Families group was the logical and important step. Training with a group, and working with Joella as my coach, has made a huge difference in my progress.

The extra motivation the group dynamic creates, has helped me stay the course, and moving forward. Looking back over the past year, I can’t imagine getting to where I am without the friendships and encouragement we enjoy from each other. The Sunday run group always circled back for me. They don’t have to as much anymore :). During one 800 yard straight swim in preparation for my 1st tri, I was really struggling. Those loud screams encouraging me on from Jillian, Janet, Ryan, and Steve kept me going. Before completing that first triathlon in Miami Jason emailed me a detailed itemization of critical information to help me through it.

The professional knowledge, but also personal care, that Joella adds as my training coach sets the right course in the first place. It also gives me a lot more confidence knowing she’s there to make those inevitable course corrections. I know for a fact that without Joella taking me under her wing, initially as a “project”, I would not have done nearly as well in that first marathon or first triathlon. For me, because a respectable result is important to maintaining my motivation and drive, working with Joella as my coach has been so key. You don’t know what you don’t know. A professional coach, if you allow them to, will fill in those gaps.

In summary, I accept the reality I’ve got a real long way to accomplishing my main goal of finishing an Ironman triathlon. The following formula is the path and perspective I am trying to keep.
1) set a goal that is meaningful to YOU – I will be an Ironman IS my big picture
2) be honest with yourself and embrace your limitations – admittedly often the most difficult step
3) be open to accepting the help of more experienced teammates – everybody wins when we do
4) get comfortable not being the best – humility is admirable and opens the door to self improvement
5) consider the advantages a training coach may offer you – that may be just enough to propel you from good to great!
6) HAVE FUN, and remember why you are doing this in the first place – Erin’s reflections on Boston, and Jillian’s article from last month are very relevant!

I’ll be the first to admit I am still learning how to follow this formula. Maybe part of Joella’s reasoning for asking me to write this was to help me keep perspective (sneaky girl…)? In any event, I genuinely appreciate what the group and Joella have done for me this past year. If you’re thinking about tackling that next big goal, including triathlon, believe it! You can do it! I would love to have another training partner out there!!!

Category: 2012, Team Blog

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