Triathlete: My Definition

Triathlete: My Definition

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I am a triathlete and that is who I am.

On Sunday I had a revelation that led me to think that being a triathlete was much different from I had imagined.  Some of you may call me a triathlete based on the completion of two Ironman races (Texas, Arizona) last year along with 4 Half-Iron distance races in the past two years.  I would have agreed with you but during my 3 hours of training I realized that was wrong.  Triathlete is not an adjective for a person who completes a triathlon like the dictionary says it is.  Triathlete to me is a lifestyle, a way to view the training for swim, bike, run but also nutrition and recovery.

In the past I would have said I am a runner who competes at triathlon, but that mindset has to change if I want to be the triathlete I need to be.  If I want to accomplish my goals for 2013 and beyond my definition of triathlete must be just that:  triathlete.  Going out and swimming, cycling and running with purpose and then recovering properly from those training sessions and watching what I eat on a daily basis.

In the year prior to bringing Maria and John on as my coaches I read a post about how John had a D-Day in his nutrition.  That day was the day that he began the process of eating ultra clean and preparing his mind and body for a run at Kona.  Guess what……he accomplished that dream by qualifying for the 2012 World Championships at Ironman Lake Placid.  He did not go into Kona on his laurels but instead worked hard to make sure that when he got to Kona he was ready to do everything he could to have a great race.  That to me is how to become a triathlete.

I have taken a lot of queues from them and began my process to achieving the term triathlete by my definition on December 10.  That day was the day that we started working together and it has been a great ride since then.  I have my goals written on the notes section of my laptop which connects to my iPad so I cannot miss them each and every time I read Training Peaks for my workout.

When I enter my ingredients for a recipe into My Fitness Pal it is with the idea of becoming a triathlete by my definition.  The foods are high in carbs in the morning and tapering down throughout the day but also making sure that I hit my macro-nutrient needs as well as recovering properly.  All of this so that when I get in the water at Ironman Texas 2013 I am prepared to have the race of my life because I committed to becoming a triathlete by my definition.

This may sound like I am forgoing everything else in my life but the opposite is true.  I am more focused so now there is no wasted time or movement.  I am more efficient with my work and my family life and able to do more because of this.  Triathlete by my definition is no longer about the race starting on the bike or chasing down other athletes ahead of me because I am a better runner.  I want to be a triathlete which means the race starts when the canon goes off and with the proper training, recovery and nutrition I will be maximizing my potential from that point until the finish line.

My view has changed and that is a good thing as I am learning to take past failures and successes and apply them to 2013.  When 2014 rolls around I will have another year under my belt and a better opportunity to define triathlete by my definition.  I am having a blast discovering who I am and what I am capable of and that is important in writing out this definition.  Come Ironman Texas I should have a clearer view of who I am and what I am capable of.  In the meantime my goals are written down everywhere and will not allow me to go one day without seeing them or reciting them as I train.

How Do You Define The Word Triathlete?


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  1. 2009 was the year that I became a triathlete with all of the confidence and scars that come with it. It is so much more than swim bike run. Back then I called it swim bike run stretch strength nutrition recovery lifestyle. Today I just call it “normal”.

    Normal still adjusts constantly. But even if (like I did) you accept the lifestyle as a way to complete your first half iron, you still accept the lifestyle. Now that I’m adjusting again to a specific ironman finish time it’s quite different, but it’s still the lifestyle. great post!
    Carolina John recently posted..Getting ReadyMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      Appreciate the compliment.

      It is amazing when you stop for a moment instead of just checking off boxes and realize what you are actually putting into it and then seeing the results that come out of it.

      The best part is that it is always a learning process and for me that is exciting.

  2. Maria Simone says:

    So true, Jason! Being a triathlete is definitely a lifestyle, and living this lifestyle makes us feel so good!

    The movement of swimming, biking & running shows us how amazing the human body is.

    The commitment, dedication, and perseverance shows us the depth and strength of the human spirit.

    The discipline of doing what we need to do (training, nutrition, recovery, whatever) illustrates just how iron the human will can be.

    And, the joy of meeting others, being a part of this crazy community, and feeling a sense of belonging shows us just how fulfilling human connection can be.

    In short: I LOVE TRIATHLON!!!!!!

    Great post :)
    Maria Simone recently posted..Why cheating matters – and why it’s not about ArmstrongMy Profile

    • CTER says:

      There is one thing about this that I love the most and that is the education of yourself. That is something you can never lose… may forget but you won’t lose.

      When you are 85 and thinking back on what your life was and what it could have been there will be no questions of if because you did it and lived the lifestyle.

      That part I love!

  3. I think you are pretty much right, though I would offer that it’s also a journey. If some guy or gal wants to call themselves a triathlete because that’s what gets them off the couch and into the pool or on the road, then fine by me. And if along that journey they really embrace the sport, then all the better.

    Funny enough, I don’t consider myself a triathlete. Rather, I like to think I am an endurance sport enthusiast with options, gaining an amount of knowledge about all sorts of stuff not matched since school.
    Patrick Mahoney recently posted..My Complicated World Of WheelsMy Profile

  4. Scott says:

    Triathlete – noun – FREAK!!!

    All kidding aside, In my opinion, a triathlete is anyone that finishes a triathlon, but over time, it takes awhile to discover when you start to feeling like a triathlete, which i am still waiting for after 6 years in the sport
    Scott recently posted..The Look, An Open Letter to Lance ArmstrongMy Profile

  5. adena says:

    You my friend, are most definitely the definition of a triathlete to me. I agree with you completely on the lifestyle comment. Me? I get off the couch sometimes. I don’t do this because I love it, I am coming to realize that I do this because I love you guys, love your positive nature and good humour. I want that for me too, whether I have the IM tattoo or not. I get to be here with you all even though I’m no IM and never intend to be. Triathletes are my kinda people.
    adena recently posted..we’ve been here beforeMy Profile

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