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Experiencing #TriAnxiety

Posted by Adam Salsman, Staff  August 20, 2013 12:54 PM

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How do you recover from a catastrophic failure in a race?

If you fall, you cut yourself; Pour some bacitracin on the wound, wrap it, and keep going.
If you pull a muscle, you stop; R.I.C.E. your way to being better.
If you have a panic attack 60 meters into a .25 mile swim, you sink; How do you recover from that?

That's what happened to me this past Sunday. Where #SeeStumpTri was amazingly successful, my attempt was anything but. I won't bore you with details, but it's boiled down to:

I got 60 meters out, assessed where I was, and had pure fear shoot through my veins. After being ushered to shore by lifeguards and rescue crews, the EMTs made certain I wasn't dying. Clearly, I wasn't.

I've spent a day in a deep, dark pit of self-loathing. I feel as though I wasted people's time, energy, (in some cases) money, but more so, I feel as though I've completely let everyone down. Yet most of all, I feel like I let myself down.

But now I have to make a decision. Do I try to figure out what happened? Do I just abandon the idea of being more than just a runner?

What I'm coming to realize is that it doesn't matter. If I try to figure out what happened, I may find some deep-rooted fear that perpetually keeps me from being able to the swim part of a triathlon, but if I try to abandon the idea of being more than a runner, I'm giving up on myself. While I'm willing to give up on myself, there's a collection of people who keep me from doing so.

As I said to my wife this morning, I just need to go out to Westborough every weekend and try without the stress and anxiety of a competition. Maybe I just need to practice in better context of the event.

Maybe I'll never be a triathlete. But, hey, there are always duathlons.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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