Trust the process – Mountain Man Olympic Triathlon 8/12/12

Have you ever entered into an event and wondered what your take away will be when you are done?  Leading into Mountain Man Olympic Triathlon in Flagstaff, August 12, 2012, I felt that way. Being a mother of three young children I was heavily distracted with school starting and focusing on meeting their needs. Here they are 🙂

Family Support at Mountain Man Olympic Triathlon, Flagstaff AZ

Although I had completed all my training as scheduled leading up to the race I felt unprepared. The Friday before the race I even doubted my ability to compete. I knew I could finish but I questioned if I could get out of my own way and trust that the training that I have been diligently doing has prepared me to compete on race day. After I gave myself a swift kick in the behind, I told myself to trust my training and progress.We traveled on Friday and relaxed most of the day. Saturday, I expressed to my wonderfully supportive husband that I needed about two hours to pick up my race packet, drive the course and mentally prepare for my race. He, of course, said no problem. In those two hours, it became really clear that this is just another race and I trust that I am prepared and I will learn something new. When you are as new as I am to this sport, you cannot come away from an event and not learn something new aboutyourself or the sport. I chose to embrace that and resign to doing my best, andthat was going to be good enough.

Race morning I was so ready to race. The mental shift I had from being doubtful to in control was such a great feeling. I had my typical breakfast of oatmeal and a banana, and then headed to the race site to set up transition. During my warm-up I visualized myself executing smooth transitions and crushing it on the run.


Swim Exit at Mountain Man Olympic Triathlon

This discipline is where I lack the most confidence, especially at 7000+ feet elevation.  I decided to look at my swim as another training swim and to see what I can come away with.  Once the swim started I felt very comfortable to the first turn buoy and then I started to panic slightly.  I felt my breathing increase and told myself, “calm down, you’ve done this before”.  I quickly gathered myself and decided to try and draft. Learning to draft was the coolest thing to figure out.  I was able to get comfortable enough to swim with my eyes closed and just feel the swimmer in front of me.  After the last turn buoy I focused on what I needed to do upon exiting the water. I felt relaxed and ready to ride.Transition 1:

This was very smooth as I am getting better about ripping off my wetsuit. Only five other racers were faster than me in T1.  I went from being 42nd overall (time wise) out of the water to 23rd after transition. I made up some serious ground.


As I headed out on my bike I saw my family for the first time and that is always an energy booster.  The bike course is spectacular; it is an out and back, 12.5 miles each way, on Lake Mary road, just south of Flagstaff. The scenery and smells are beautiful.  I settled into my rhythm, kept my heart rate up and chased down as many racers as I could.  The bike portion is always fun for me because it is where I pass the most people and cheer them on as I fly by. They might find it annoying but I find it energizing.  When I had four miles left on the bike I was so excited because I was ready to run and my legs felt great. My time was 1:06:21, fast enough to give me 6th among the women.

Transition 2:

Transitions are always a little odd because you can go anaerobic and it does not affect your race.  As I am running to rack my bike my legs feel weird, my heart is racing, and my hands are even shaking as I put my shoes on. I was in and out of T2 in 1:05.  My sister and husband are cheering me on and letting me know I am in 3rd and have two and a half minutes to the lead girl.

Mtn Man Olympic Tri Transition 2 – Here is a video to watch of my T2, note as I am leaving transition the amount of bikes racked…very few 🙂


This is where I excel and am most comfortable. As I exit transition I tell myself, “Smile and GO!” It always takes about four to six minutes for my legs to feel normal after being on the bike. I remind myself I am at 7000+ feet of elevation and have 6.2 miles to run with half of it being uphill.  I settle into a nice rhythm and start reeling in runners.   The run course is also an out and back course which is helpful in seeing where your competition is.  As I approached the turn-around I saw the two females I wanted to catch and felt confident in my ability to at least close the gap more.  At this point I realize I am having a good race. At the turn around I told myself, “3.1 miles to go and then you can breathe.” I did not want to have any regrets and I laid it all out there on the line. I had the 2nd fastest run of the women and am very proud if that.


1st Place Finish in Age Group, 3rd Female Overall, at Mountain Man Olympic Triathlon

I can happily say I have no regrets. Although I doubted myself days before the race, I realized I have done the training, I trusted the process my coach put me through, I trusted in my ability to show up on race day and I had a great race. I took first in my age group and third overall with a finishing time of 2:16:53.My take away from this race is to relax and trust in the process of training and learning how to race.  I am still such a newbie, and like to understand and feel like I’m in control.  But the fact of the matter is that on race day the ONLY thing you can control is your own effort level and your own confidence.  If you have done the training, trust that you will do well.

Thanks for reading and I hope to inspire you to get out and test your limits.

About sherianne

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is SheriAnne Nelson and I am happily married to my husband Mike. I’m a mother of three beautiful children ages 9, almost 6, and 3, am a passionate fitness professional, and a Star Diamond Level fitness coach within the Team Beachbody program in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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