VQ & You: John Naab

Why do I do Triathlon? Let me start first with why I don't do Triathlon. I don't do triathlon to get up at 4:30am and jump in an icy pool at 5am. I don't do triathlon for the 6,000-KJ rides or 5-hour fartleks. And I certainly don't do it for the 8-pack abs and awesome tan lines. OK…maybe the abs part…but I don’t do it because of some sick and perverse fetish of running around in spandex for hours on end. I love Triathlon because of the friendships I have made and the lessons learned. I draw on both of these daily. What I learn in life, I apply in sport and vice versa. I figured I'd share a couple of lessons that I've learned, some funny and others serious…

  1. Always use liberal amounts of body glide, chamois cream and sunscreen.
  2. There will always be someone faster and slower than you. It's important to maintain perspective and have attainable goals. Enjoy the small victories.
  3. It's important to get out of shape so you can get into shape.
  4. Red wine is an antioxidant.
  5. Know the reason and purpose behind each workout. Make sure a recovery ride is exactly that and a 20-minute FTP test is a trip to the hurt locker.
  6. Don't forget to breathe. When swimming: bubble, bubble, breathe.
  7. Your FTP can never be high enough. The best way to get faster is not only to get stronger, but get lighter. It's all about power to weight. Your run will thank you.
  8. Ironman is really a glorified handicapped marathon.
  9. Triathlon rewards those who are consistent, committed, dedicated, driven, hard-working and focused. If you take care of the small things, the big ones will fall into place. Enjoy the process and the journey.
  10. In life and sport, there is really only one guarantee. At some point, you will face a challenge. Things are bound to go wrong, that's why we call it life, right? Whether it's a failed relationship, lost sale, difficult business meeting, broken chain, flat tire, injury or whatever. When shit happens, you need to wipe. How do we react, adjust and adapt to finish the race? Calm seas don't make good sailors.

I race to be a better person. I race to grow physically & mentally. I race to find my limit and break through it. I race for my family and friendships, to further deepen and develop bonds through shared experiences. I race to suffer and hurt so I’m reminded I am alive and living. I race for personal bests. I race to win. I race to learn and pass on my knowledge to others. I race to believe in myself and others. Ultimately, when I sit back and look at why I race, it's not too different from why I live. I used to be too focused on racing for a result, rather than living the journey and enjoying the process. Learning to balance life, sport and commitments is critical for success and prevents burnout. Stop racing and start living, maybe you will set a new PR. Of all the lessons I've learned, there is one that I hold closest to my heart: life is all about people. I have met some of the greatest people and developed friendships that span the globe and will last the rest of my life. Whether they are Olympians, teachers, traders, heart surgeons, attorneys or college students, they are all successful in their own rights. It's humbling to think I've had as positive an impact in their lives as they have had in mine. I never imagined I would hold their audience, trust and respect. When I need them, they are there for me. When they need me, I'm there for them. And that's why I jump into a pool at 5am. JFBI! -Naaber