Monday, November 26, 2012

What it Takes to be a Champion

Meredith Kessler - Trizone

No one knows what they are doing when they start out in triathlon,
and the learning curve takes time, money, determination, and
effort. It took me over twenty Ironman races to realize that I was
floundering in the sport.
Meredith Kessler Ironman NZ /St George IM Champion 2012 and finisher of 40 Ironmans

It is good to be humble and to be objective.

In this sport of long course triathlon , there is no more a humbling experience then failure. It also throws out many great unassuming and humble Champions . It is one aspect of the sport I love .It is an equalizer of all who venture out to have a go . It respect's no one and every race is a lesson about to be served to anyone who does not respect the distance .Even the pro's get it badly wrong from time to time. Possibly for that reason they understand the sacrifice each triathlete at the start line has endured.

The best have had to face it .It I hope builds character? I may not have all the answers and certainly I have had more than my share of mistakes . I continue to make them and I continue to know , to improve , no stone must be left unturned but it comes at considerable price. One I am not able to pay.

There is nutrition , rest , training and mental and physical preparation ...all coming together. Having said that , the professionals may have the time but they take the leap of faith chasing races and sponsorship and the uncertain pay check . If you want it badly enough you will take the plunge.

I have read a recent article in triathlete Magazine ( the advantage of a subscription ) about Meredith Kessler , just such a Champion Professional triathlete and about  her triathlon History .It took her 20 Ironman's before she began to improve into an age group winner and eventually turning Pro. The piece is reproduced on the Triathlete Europe website and is well worth a read.

The Journey Of Meredith Kessler By Paul Moore

Another great piece is an article about Meredith's early beginnings in the sport and before she became a Pro by Matt Fitzgerald titled the Purple Patch .She had a full time job and a marriage and training and managed to make it all work.

Seeing Purple by Matt Fitzgerald triathlete Magazine November 2010

IT TOOK MEREDITH KESSLER  a long time - more than seven years - to find a purple patch in triathlon .She found it soon after she began working with coach Matt Dixon in 2007 , and since then the 32 year old San Francisco resident  has made up for lost time , riding that purple patch from her past status as a solid but unexceptional age-group Ironman racer to her current status as a top tier pro whose Ironman victory seemed all but inevitable . for those uninitiated in the ways of the purple patch is "a period of excellent performance , when everything seems to go right , work properly and is in perfect balance .Everything seems to fall into place and flows , making it seem like you can do nothing wrong.

Despite the challenges of endurance racing , there is an inevitable meaning to the whole journey culminating in the race. For some , they find their mojo in the first race but as I have learnt , there is always a roll of the dice and there is always something to be learnt and something to improve upon . It may take many years or for some , it all falls in place fairly quickly and then it is just the tweaking of the edges to sharpen the  result. Whatever it is , whether a top ten age grouper or the back of the pack triathlete , the race does dish out lessons as does those many hours of training. What we take from these lessons is what makes us as triathletes and more so the person we want to be.