Saturday, May 28, 2022

Ten Things From Eleven Years

Welcome to my Hotty Toddy blog. I plan to use this space to share my thoughts about health, active recreation, and other (usually) related matters.

As a student in a graduate health degree program, I am especially interested in learning about ways to improve peoples’ health and quality of life through lifestyle changes rather than medical or pharmaceutical means. This is a particularly challenging interest area because what works for one or several people may not work at all for others; also, what works for someone at one time in his or her life may not work at all during another phase.

I am a good example of this; just about the time I turned 40, with minimal previous competitive or sports experience (I played some softball between ages 10 and 13), I started to train and compete in races and have been more active since that time than at any point during my younger life.

2013 marks the beginning of my 12th year of participation in amateur and recreational multisport and running events. I have not kept an exact count, but my best guess is that, between 2002 and now, I have completed between 90 and 100 races along with some non-competitive endurance events, including several bicycle ‘century’ or 100 mile rides.

I have had good years and not so good years. I have also had good and not so good event experiences. I like to think I learned something from all of the experiences; and I also like to think that some of these lessons can be applied to other parts of life.

So, for your consideration, following is my list of “10 things I have learned during 11 years of racing.”

1. It is not that hard to go fast but it is much harder to pace yourself.

2. Multisport (triathlon, duathlon) training represents a constant battle for balance. Once you shift your efforts toward one discipline, the others will suffer.

3. As time goes by, it takes more and more effort to see improvements; the improvements also get smaller and smaller.

4. No one can tell you what exact age you will be when your performance declines, so you might as well stop worrying about it.

5. Lots of people cheat. Sometimes they get caught; more often they do not. The point is to not let it impact how you perform.

6. The nicest people are often the ones who are the best at what they do.

7. The cost of someone’s equipment is not necessarily indicative of his or her abilities. (Sometimes it is actually an inverse relationship.)

8. There will be flat tires in every event. Just hope they are on someone else’s bike.

9. If you have spare equipment and supplies, bring them because unexpected things will go wrong. (As evidence of this, I found a surprising hole in the upper of a
running shoe just before a recent event; luckily I had a back up pair.)

10. Even when the ride (or run, or swim) feels miserable, find a way to enjoy it. It is going to come to an end soon enough.

Sheryl Chatfield is currently a graduate student in Health and Kinesiology in the Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management  Department at Ole Miss. She plans to complete her dissertation work during the 2013-14 academic year. Sheryl grew up in central Ohio and took a 20-year break from academics after completing her bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University. Through the years, she has worked as a piano teacher, an insurance broker, a landscaper, a disability recreation assistant and a lifeguard. Her other less profitable past experiences have included playing in rock bands, small-scale sheep farming and winemaking. She has traveled to Europe several times and lived in Pocatello, Idaho; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Lake Worth, Florida; and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, before temporarily settling down in Oxford to complete her Ph.D. degree in health and kinesiology with emphasis on health behavior and promotion. In addition to being a graduate student and instructor, Sheryl enjoys running, cycling, swimming, working on bicycles, sewing, and reading.

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