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West Point Triathlon - Titanium

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Written by Pat Curran

Posted on 17 December 2017

Last Updated 17 December 2017

Motivational Message: 

I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose

Fire away, fire away

Ricochet, you take your aim

Fire away, fire away


You shoot me down but I won’t fall

I am titanium

You shoot me down but I won’t fall


I am Titanium…



David Guetta – Featuring Sia singing “Titanium”

To watch official video, click here

To view West Point Triathlon course details, click here




With only 2 days left, I am constantly rehearsing in my mind how I want the race to go. I see myself covering the 800m swim and running to the transition area in less than 17 minutes. I am slower than some swimmers because I am not wearing a wetsuit. My swim strokes are strong enough for the short distance that I don’t need it. While others struggle to get their wetsuit off, I’ve already slipped on my socks, shoes, shirt, bib number, helmet and sunglasses. I am passing many competitors while in the transition area because I’ve laid out my things perfectly.


The bike course has a slight uphill for about a quarter mile, but again, I’ve prepared. My gears are already set to a low gear, so I can easily peddle. I then gently “up-gear” to increase speed while avoiding early burn out with my legs. Now fully at ~90 RPMs and optimum resistance, I anticipate the terrain. For the entire rolling 22km course it's a game of matching: Pick the right bike gear to maximize speed without overly fatiguing my leg muscles. The bike course places me back in front of the transition area just under 1 hour and 3 minutes.


My muscles and bones are slightly achy from sitting on the bike for about 45 minutes. I decide to do 3 stretches for 10 seconds each while in transition. To manage my fear of falling behind, I tell myself, “Patience! Allow your body to adjust. Run your race...”


Now, I am on the run course. Just about 50m out of the transition area, I hit a brief but steep hill. If I’m not careful, the wind can be completely taken out of my sails and set a poor tone for the rest of the race. I lean my hips slightly into the hill and say “Pose-Fall-Pull” which optimizes my running posture and technique. I let the hill pass through me and before long it goes into about a half-mile gentle down hill. Once this transition occurs, a steady increase in both speed and breathing cadence naturally occurs.


There are a lot of hills on the run course. I think about how much I hated running them years ago as a cadet and am not too fond of them now! Age does have some advantages though. I have the benefit of knowing myself. No fear. I can trust my instincts to manage a ceiling of 85% max speed until the last half-mile.


With body-mind-spirit now aligned, I’m steady, calm, and keenly aware of my surroundings. Before long, my eyesight becomes very blurry but I can almost swear I can sense everything around me. Within this state of hypersensitivity, my senses are fixated on hearing my left foot hitting the ground 90 times per minute. It’s a byproduct of months of training. It’s how I can tell if things are going well or if an adjustment is needed.


At about 400 meters left, I can see the final turn. It’s a sharp right into a 0.1 mile stretch of banners and people, cheering racers all the way to the finish line. As I turn, I roll my right shoulder downward, lean in, and whisper, “Titanium” as positive reinforcement. I think of having a titanium spirit. I also think about the wounded warriors running alongside me who are literally part titanium!


With perfect form, I throw everything at it until the finish line is in my peripheral vision. Then, I grab my left wrist, stop my watch, and read 1:29:56. It’s a personal best likely to have me in the top 3 of the Clydesdale (over 220 lbs) division. I give a relaxed, quiet smile as a West Point Triathlon finisher medal is placed around my neck by a race volunteer. It feels pretty good to know that there is a part of me that can still go there. With laser focus, I can still “point the rage” with nothing held back.


Now, I am back in the present. Just 48 hours until race start. Being able to see success is one the most critical final steps in bringing a plan to life. That is why I will go through this “rehearsal” about a dozen more times before Sunday morning. There will be no doubt in my mind what winning looks like. With this blueprint engrained in my psyche, every action I take during the race will be for bringing this vision to life.


Tested – Rested – Ready! 

God Bless,



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