Triathlete must beat self-doubts


Boy, self-doubt can be a terrible thing.

I’ve always battled with doubting myself with my training, diet, body shape, speed and just about everything when it’s related to triathlons.

I’m always comparing myself to other people.

They’re skinnier than me. They have a nicer bike than me. They’re more muscular than me. They ride/run/swim faster than me.

It’s easy to let self-doubt eat away at me, especially when I’m looking at doing a big race like Ironman Louisville.

At major triathlon events, like the ones that Ironman organizes, there are so many amazing triathletes. There are always people that are significantly faster, fitter, smarter, anything you can name, better than me.

It’s so easy to start to doubt myself when I see or think of those people.

Now, I don’t want to give you the belief that triathletes are judgmental or conceited.

Most are really great and are very supportive at races. They cheer on other athletes as they are passing them and come back or stay at the finish line to cheer slower triathletes to the end.

Even knowing that, it doesn’t change the way I look at myself.

Once I get thinking negatively about myself, I start to doubt that I can finish because I’m not as (insert whatever adjective here) as them.

During the race, especially once my body is tired, my mind has to kick in as the stronger force to endure.

It’s important to already have a mental plan in place to keep away those thoughts of self-doubt.

Mentally, I’m already starting this process.

I’ve mainly started with visualizing the finish: how I’ll feel physically, how my feet will hurt or be blistered, how I’m going to see all the people lined along the finishing chute, how my emotions will be running so high when I cross the finish line — how I’m going to hug my kids and my husband and probably cry.

This visualizing keeps me motivated during these cold, winter months where I’m doing a lot of dull training inside. But mostly it helps me stave off self-doubt during the race.

I’ve already visualized how I’m going to feel when I finish. That’s the part that I’m most looking forward to.

I can’t wait for the moment that I cross that finish line and hear, “Stacey Parisi, you are an Ironman.”

Stacey Parisi is a Seymour native and resident. Her columns will appear regularly in The Tribune as she trains to compete in Ironman Louisville 2015.

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