Updated: Feb 25
As a fitness coach, personal trainer and athlete, I like to put my money where my mouth is. So, I (Doug Fowler of B-6 Fit) have signed up for and committed to my first Xterra of the year. For those of you who have never heard of an Xterra, this is an off-road triathlon comprised of three elements: swimming, biking and running. My training is in full swing and my first race is scheduled for May 23rd at the Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama. This Xterra consists of a one mile swim, twenty-one mile bike ride, and six mile run… the latter of which stresses me out the most because it’s my weakest link of the three disciplines.
I’ve been in training for the past few weeks, self-coaching myself for the biking and running portions of the race. To help prepare for the swimming portion, I have hired a swim coach. We meet once a week on Sunday and he coaches me on stroke proficiency and body mechanics in the water. I have had two training sessions to date and have found them to be very beneficial. I try to get an extra day a week to swim where I can practice what I’ve learned, and/or I swim distance for added endurance.
Yesterday was my third time in the water since almost a year ago, and I wanted to see what my endurance looked like for the one mile swim. Upon arrival, I noticed there was a woman swimming laps. I examined her stroke, critiquing her technique in my head: head out of water with choppy kicks and rough execution. Of course, I had every reason to judge her swimming even though I didn’t know a damn thing about her and I’ve had two whole training sessions this season to date. (Note my sarcasm.)
Feeling confident, I entered the water and started swimming my laps. Most everybody that has entered some sort of racing event has a competitive streak even if they say they’re just doing it for fun. This I know from experience. Because if I’m just doing it for fun, then I’m not accountable for a lack luster performance on race day… right? At least that’s what I tell myself.
My laps seemed to be going well. But, much to my detriment, I couldn’t seem to catch up to lap- swim-lady. In fact, at times I thought she was pulling away from me. One might say this was a little bit humbling, especially since I was so judgmental when I first arrived at the pool. Honestly, I was in no place to be judging her. As far as I knew she could have been swimming for gold in the Olympics at some point in her life.
I must continue to remind myself that no matter what the shape, gender or age of another athlete, they may be the one who can kick my ass any day of the week. Ultimately, what matters most is that I focus on my own progress and cheer other athletes along as they progress as well. After all, I am doing this Xterra for fun.
Instead of being judgmental, embrace your fellow athletes as part of a team who are more than likely competing to have fun and to keep their healthy lifestyle going!
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