My First Tri with Travis Macy, Author of The Ultra Mindset

Final Cover- The Ultra Mindset

I heard an interview with Travis Macy on Ultra Runner Podcast (one of my favorite long run podcasts) about two months ago. He was speaking about the crazy endurance races he has competed in all over the world. He has competed on everything from snowshoe racing up mountains to multi-day adventure racing trough the desert.

The story that struck me most was about Travis’ Dad, an accomplished endurance athlete himself, first attempt at the Leadman 100. His dad went into the race under trained, without proper gear or nutrition, and willed himself to the finish. He may have finished a hobbled version of himself, but he finished what he started. As a father this had a tremendous affect on me as I’m sure it did to young Travis. We can tell our kids how to live, but showing them by leading by example speaks much louder.

Overall, I enjoyed the book tremendously. If you are an endurance athlete you will take something away from this book. The principles set forth in the book can be applied to racing or everyday life. When you apply the principles  contrast them against the stress and intensity of of Travis’ adventures it gives you a whole new perspective. The stories of the extreme races Travis has completed have given me a new perspective on what’s possible. This book will make you want to seek out new adventures and challenges

Intro to Travis Macy:

Travis Macy is a speaker, author, coach, and professional endurance athlete. He is the author of The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion’s 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life, and he holds the record for Leadman, an epic endurance event consisting of a trail running marathon, 50-mile mountain bike race, Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race, 10k road run, and Leadville 100 Run, all above 10,200′ in the Rocky Mountains. Travis lives with his wife and two young children in the mountains around Evergreen, Colorado, and his sponsors include Vitargo and HOKA ONE ONE, among others.

Even a multi day endurance racing monster like Travis starts with a first race. Travis was kind enough to answer some questions about his first triathlon experience below:

1. What was your first race? Location, Name, Year, Distance

Olympic distance in fall 2003, Fort Collins, CO with CU Triathlon Team

2. What motivated you to try your first Triathlon?

I had joined the CU Tri Team, so I figured I oughtta race! I had run for CU for two years and wanted to branch out into multisport.

3. What was your athletic background?

Various sports in high school plus two years of varsity running at CU-Boulder.  Very little swimming experience!

4. What was your biggest concern when starting out? How did you overcome it?

I don’t recall any particular worries. I had not done much swimming, so I hoped I wouldn’t lose too much time in the water. I overcame it by swimming hard until I finally got to the bike.

5. Were there any difficult/funny moments in that first race?

Removing the wetsuit!

6. What bike did you use?

I borrowed a tri bike from a friend. I had ridden it once before the race–in the warmup!

7. Were you hooked after that first race?

I had a lot of fun out there and knew I liked multisport racing.

8. What piece of advice you wish you had when you were starting out?

Maintain a growth mindset, view your teammates as just that–rather than competitors. Don’t take things TOO seriously 🙂

9. What was your feeling as you crossed the finish line?

I was excited to have had a good race and to be representing the Buffs.

I kept improving over the year and eventually finished 10th in the nation at collegiate nationals that spring, which was my second tri.
I would highly recommend picking up the book if you are interested in improving your mental game. To give a quick preview of the topics in the book, the 8 Core Principles of the Ultra Mindset are below. Even if you don’t read the book, these are a great set of principles to improve your mindset and life.
My favorite mindset is the be a wannabe.  I will over analyze my goals until I talk myself out of it. I think that’s called “paralysis by analysis”. It’s always been an issue for me, and one I try to struggle with often. Instead of over thinking, I need to model my behavior after someone who has already done it, and just get started. Most successful people will say they faked it until they made it. I could sure do more faking it.

The Ultra Mindset at-a-Glance

Mindset 1: It’s all good mental training

Viewing your challenges as positive, essential elements of building a winning mindset makes all the difference in the world.  When the going gets tough,  tell yourself, “this is good mental training.”  Which it is: Remember that self-control can be trained, just like any other muscle.

Mindset 2: Be a wannabe

Get close to be people you want to be like–make the most of goal contagion.   By identifying people you would like to emulate in one or more ways, you can find examples of people who are reaching goals similar to your own.  Utilize the synergy and push each other.

Mindset 3: Find your carrot

Utilize extrinsic motivators—such as money, utilitarian purpose, glory, and admiration—especially when the self control muscle tires.  Intrinsic motivation— doing something because you enjoy it in the moment—is also important, and you better have it if you want to do anything big.  For the greatest challenges, though, it can be good to keep extrinsic carrots in mind.

Mindset 4: Have an ego and use it—until it’s time to put your ego aside

Accomplishing big goals requires perseverance, and that requires a high view of self.  The Ultra Mindset often requires taking on great challenges that we may have no business tackling.  In such cases, belief in what you are capable of doing can help you succeed in doing it. .  But  when you need assistance, don’t let that ego stand in your way:  ask for help!

Mindset 5: Think about your thinking: WHAT and WHY

Program yourself to think about the right things at the right time.  If something is particularly detail-oriented (such as editing a professional document, creating a business plan or climbing a precipitous mountain), think about WHAT you are doing to increase effectiveness and avoid error.  When things get drawn-out and grueling on a Friday afternoon at work or at mile 24 of your marathon, tune out the monotonous, painful WHAT with a focus on WHY you are doing it.

Mindset 6: The 4:30 a.m. Rule: When you have no choice, anything is possible

When the alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m., literally or figuratively, get up and take action.  You committed ahead of time, and whether or not you feel like doing it (whatever “it” may be) in the moment doesn’t really matter if you’re working toward something aligned with your higher purposes in life. 4:30 a.m. moments happen all the time, and the more you follow through on previous commitments when push comes to shove, the easier it becomes to do regularly.

Mindset 7: Bad stories, good stories: The ones you tell yourself make all the difference

The ongoing dialogue that plays out in our heads can be channeled in the right direction..  Negative stories, must be rewritten and fought with better ones. These can be nothing more than positive mantras—“I am getting stronger with each step”—that can be cued up in your mind to replace the negative ones—“I can’t take another step.”  A key first step: recognize your negative stories for what they are—just stories and nothing more.

Mindset 8: Never quit…except when you should quit

If you’re doing something you really care about, something that you know aligns with your true self and highest purposes in life, don’t  quit because you fear what will happen if you continue.  Fear will be there, and that’s just part of the deal—keep going anyway.  On the other hand, if you are doing something with your life that does not align with who you want to be and how you want to live, then maybe you should quit.  True courage is overcoming fear to spend your life in what you believe to be a purposeful manner.

Think about your thinking:

Be a wannabe:

Find your carrot:

It’s all good mental training:

Have an ego and use it:

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