Defending my title

DSC_0443This time around in Coeur d’Alene things are a little different.

Instead of being an up-and-comer who no one had really heard of, I am here as the defending champ (who no one has really heard of!)
I liked my anonymity – being an unknown and just showing up and cleaning house, but getting a little attention is okay too. Lord knows we need it to get more sponsors and keep our Ironman dreams financially solvent! Trevor and I have had a few interviews with newspapers, and last night the folks from the local ABC station came out to do an interview with us for the 6 o’clock news.
You can check that out here (click on the caption under the photo for the video).

What I wanted to write about, though, is the perceived pressure of being here as the defending champ. A lot of people have been asking me if I feel more stressed this year – now that I am training full time and a lot more is supposedly at stake. The answer is no, and some wise words paraphrased from Terry Orlick’s “In pursuit of excellence: how to win in sport and life through mental training” sum it up nicely:

If you take some sportscasters seriously, you might begin to believe that stress is external and inescapable, like rain pouring down from a dark cloud: “You can almost hear the tension out there…. this is it… do or die… the world is watching…there’s real pressure on these athletes here today.” But stress or anxiety doesn’t float around out there waiting to pounce on the athlete like some kind of bogeyman. Stress is strictly internal; it does not exist outside the person’s mind. What triggers your emotional reaction to an event is the way that you perceive the event, or what you say to yourself in relation to it – the event itself is neutral. Situations do not become anxious, people do. We are anxious when we accept a situation as stressful or when we become too concerned with outcomes or consequences of failing or falling short of our goals. Performers who enter the performance arena feeling excited and fully focused on the right things, remain in control. They repaint the anxiety-filled picture that others may have painted for them. Successful performers create a picture that is positive, focused and filled with opportunity.

You cannot control other competitors performances, but you can control your own focus. If you focus on your strengths you are strong. If you focus on why you can and how you will, your confidence grows. If you focus on the doing the doing will become your reality.
In the last few days leading up to Ironman it is important to deflect the stress that others may try to project upon you by having some positive focus reminders. Here are some that I like:
– I am fully capable of achieving the goals that I set for myself. They are within my control
– I am a good, valued person in my own right, regardless of any athletic achievement
– I am fully capable of focusing through adversity and staying on a positive path
– I choose to live my life fully
– I choose to excel
– What I decide, I become

I am physically and mentally ready for this race. I’ve got a job to do; I’m capable of doing it; I’ll focus fully on doing the best I can – step by step. Beyond that, I’m not going to worry about it.

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~ by trevorandheather on June 17, 2009.

5 Responses to “Defending my title”

  1. Great story and best of luck this weekend!!! Just to let you know, the link has an extra http// in it, but I manually fixed the address to get to your story/video – very cool!

  2. Nice one guys, best of luck this weekend, hope you guys kill it.

  3. Good luck to both of you this weekend!

  4. Good luck to both of you. I know you you’ll make Chuckie proud.

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