I think I have always thought of myself as an extrovert.. Most people believe that an extrovert is a person who is friendly and outgoing, which I do tend to lean towards.
While that may be true, that is not the true meaning of extroversion. Basically, an extrovert is a person who is energized by being around other people. I can remember spending a ton of time in Harvard Sq. as a kid, people watching and totally enjoying wasting away the hours. It could be voyeurism but I have come to learn that I just like being among the crowd. This is the opposite of an introvert who is energized by being alone. They say that we Extroverts tend to “fade” when alone and can easily become bored without other people around.
So what does this have to do with the sport of Triathlon??? A sport that some may say is a truly individual sport…no drafting.. no outside assistance…etc.. When you’re a seasoned aged grouper (insert old bastard for the word seasoned) you tend to travel in the back end of the pack especially if the swim start goes in waves. Most wave starts go by age groups vs time so that can be the Elite’s, 20’s, 30, 40, 50’s +, finally the Tri-Newbies. Often by the time they get to my start wave we are waking my fellow age groupers up from a quick nap. Over the years the number of “Seasoned” age groupers has dwindled down but the remaining few are getting faster and faster… someone told me once “you pick up speed when you are over the hill”. So we tend to spend a lot of time alone which for us extroverts could be problematic. BUT… I think I found the answer today.. Let’s see if this makes sense…Line up your extrovert crowd in your mind and carry them with you and use them like the introverts do to create some alone time energizing action. This might sound confusing but here is how it should work…
When you find yourself out there in the water, along the bike route or on the run play out the conversations about how your race is going, where you are, and what you and or your coach planned for this portion of the race… These thoughts bring a crowd of players into my mind space.. friends, family, work associates, spectators… They seem so real to me sometimes I find myself speaking to them out loud… sounds crazy huh? Just how I’m wired.. leave the negative Nancy’s at home and only bring your true supporting cast of characters … They will create your company and supply you energy and strength… Abby, my wife is with me through the swim as my wedding ring slips around as I swim; she is my #1 fan and is always a source of strength… The boys at work are my bike crowd… they keep me climbing through the hills… On the run I bring in the Fighting Bulldogs (brother Marines) who have always inspired me to dream big and never quit. Through it all my coach is there talking to me about all the things I need to know to make it to the finish. And if I listen I’ll get there.. Wow, I just realized crowded it gets out there…the extrovert in me likes that. The more the merrier… Thanks everyone