This weekend is the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. The entire triathlon world will be tuned in to watch the best long-course racers battle it out in the heat, humidity, and unpredictable course that Kona provides.

I’ve been told that racing Kona requires a certain kind of mental toughness, toughness that takes years to build.

I want to develop that kind of toughness.

From February to July, my mind was the only muscle that I was allowed to exercise.

Unable to work or train, I threw myself into reading the words of inspiring athletes, hoping to channel their mental toughness for when I was able to return.

And now that I’m back, I use these words to push myself in training when I feel like I can’t continue.

Because the fact is that 6 months off has caused my body to atrophy.

But when I remember the words of those that I admire, it helps me to stay focused on the end goal.

Many of these quotes are from people that I have never met. Some I have been fortunate enough to meet, and I admire them all the more.

So here are my top 10. I hope that they inspire you as much as they inspire me:

“Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”
– Paula Findlay

“They told me I couldn’t. That’s why I did.”
– Sandrine Benz

“Triathlon is an individual sport, therefore I never rely on others and always make sure I can have an impact on the race on my own.”
– Nicola Spirig

“Gwen doesn’t show up every day and produce excellence, she just shows up every single day with a focus. She goes about her business, does the task at hand, and doesn’t worry about being the best.”
– Patrick Lemieux on Gwen Jorgensen’s approach to training

“Don’t be afraid to believe that you are indeed, amazing.”
– Sara Gross

“Life is nothing but a habit. Get to work.”
– Chrissie Wellington

“I like standing at the start line thinking: ‘there’s not a person here who’s trained harder than me'”.
– Chris McCormack

“I actually was talking out loud to myself during some sections of the bike just to get through the discomfort.”
– Summer Cook (on her epic ride at the 2016 ITU Edmonton race)

“I stick to a plan and get the work done.”
– Mirinda Carfrae

“I don’t believe in motivation. I believe in preparation. Prepare to succeed.”
– Mari Chartier

(A caveat: some of these I have repeated to myself so many times that they may have morphed in my mind, and I couldn’t track down every source. While I have done my best to ensure that I have quoted people correctly, any and all errors are mine.)


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