Race, Triathlon & Lifestyle Training


Blog 7: Dream Big

by Beth Hernandez

A couple weeks ago, I suddenly lost my way. I was traveling to Dallas, TX for work and spent the entire week doing something that I typically don’t do. I got lazy. After a few days of rationalizing why sleeping-in was better than training because I was tired, worn-out, dealing with a time change (one hour to my benefit, no doubt), and over-worked, I found myself at the end of the week having convinced myself that taking a week off was probably good for me. I got an email from Coach Meghan who noticed that TrainingPeaks had been missing me. She wondered why I had not posted any of my training recaps since Monday. So I sent her this email:“Hi Meghan! Thanks for reaching out. I had a difficult week and responded by being way off on training. Besides the travel to Dallas, I found out that one of my close coworkers was diagnosed with stage 4 colon and liver cancer… It’s not often I respond by not exercising but this time I did… I appreciate you checking in and keeping me on track. I have also been rethinking my goals this year. While I am enjoying the tri training, I am really missing having more runs and running race goals. My heart is just not set on the Olympic tri distance anymore. Maybe if I knew someone else doing it with me it would be different.”I went on to explain my new goals, ones that were more in line with where I was at that present moment and are somewhat more realistic with where I am today, 15-weeks post- invasive foot surgery. I sent the email on Monday afternoon while waiting in the airport on a 2-hour, weather-delayed flight. I had another week of travel ahead, this time to two cities– Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, GA. Once on the plane to D.C., I settled in and started reading a book that my business coach suggested called, The Business of Belief. It was a quick read and quite captivating, not an adjective I generally use when reading a business book. I got close to the end and found myself shocked by what I was reading in the chapter titled, “What Ever Happened to Dreams?” It gave a scenario of a teenage called Jake who was insecure and overweight. One day, Jake had a dream. He started working out, and going to the gym daily, and each day, he improved and dreamed bigger and accomplished new goals. His mind was filled with visions of change and success. He worked at his dream with everything he had in him. He tried new things and made adjustments to his unhealthy diet. And it worked! His desire and discipline transformed him! “His dream became his reality.” One day, Jake forgot how to dream. He viewed the weights as reality of pain and discomfort instead of instruments of possibility. He became bored and decided to cruise for a while. He created a new reality that made him feel comfortable and he stopped growing. He became tired of hard work and he rationalized his new, content routine. And just like that, his dream became a distant memory.This story got me thinking. What was my dream when I asked Kelly Fillnow to coach me in November 2012? My dream was to run a marathon. Why? Because I thought I couldn’t do it. I worked hard at that dream. Sometimes I had good training days, and sometimes they were absolutely lousy.  But I kept at it regardless of the weather conditions or the crazy work and travel schedules or the early morning alarm clock ringing. And I lived my dream when I ran my first marathon in April 2013. But I didn’t stop. I kept nurturing my dream into new realities; a second marathon, several half marathon PR’s, and my first triathlon.I was recently texting one of my friends who is training for her first Ironman race. I asked her how the training was going and got a response that was indicative of what I assumed. She was exhausted, and worn out from the delicate balance of work, training, and time with her husband. I could relate. However, coming off of my foot surgery recovery, my training load for an August sprint triathlon paled in comparison to hers. Our realities, however, had intersected. She was feeling the same kind of fatigue I was experiencing that week I lost my way in Dallas. Unlike me, she used it to her benefit, pushing harder and closing-in on achieving her dream. I used it as an excuse to slack off, give myself a break, and sleep-in instead of heeding the traditional 4:20am training wake up call. My self-awareness had been turned off and I was slipping into a comfort zone.Real dreams don’t just happen. They require time, perseverance, purpose, awareness, accountability, and sometimes- a lot of times- fear and pain. If you’ve missed any of these realities while chasing your dream, you’ve just experienced a phenomenon called “luck.” Jake’s story is a lesson to each of us. Reality is what we make it. Dreams are what we work hard for. If we stop dreaming, we are left to exist inside a mediocre comfort zone and we just end up coasting through life. So in retrospect, when I ask myself, “whatever happened to my dream?” I am reminded of the feeling of crossing that 1st marathon finish line…and the 2nd….and the 1st triathlon….and all of the small dreams achieved in-between that led to the big dreams.By the time you look back and ask yourself, “what happened to my dream?” it may be too late. You may be so far into the comfort zone that you forgot the why or worse, put yourself back into the mental state that tells you, you can’t. When you are there, there is only one certain outcome; you won’t. Do yourself a favor. Don’t lose your way.Here is how the chapter of the book ended….(I love this):“JRR Tolkien once wrote, ‘A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.’ Reality is for wimps.”Beth HernandezMatthews, NC

Fillnow Coaching athlete since 2012…and still dreaming big