Flipping the Switch - Athlete Insight with Trish Martin

I’m in the middle of what I have designated my summer of no-excuses.  I’m 14 weeks out from my bucket list race, a full Ironman.   Last Saturday I had a sprint triathlon.   On Sunday, Samantha had me scheduled for a 2 hour long run.  Despite having a rather bruised booty from a comical fall off my bike while attempting to clip in with new bike shoes during Saturday’s race, I did my long run as prescribed by Sam.   And on Tuesday, I actually did a tempo-run workout on the track as instructed by Sam.  This probably says a great deal about how good I have historically been at following Sam’s instructions, but after Training Peaks turned green, Sam wrote in my comments: “Well there was a time in Trish land that this would not have happened – I think you should write a blog for Evolve about why the change…”  Sam’s not kidding, there was a time in Trish land where I totally would have used a bruised behind as an excuse not to run.  So how did I get here, to my summer of no-excuses?



This is my fifth season in the sport of triathlon and my third season being coached by Samantha and being a part of Evolve.  I am passionate about the sport of triathlon, but am not a gifted athlete [coach Sam who is in charge of posting this vehemently disagrees].  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE witnessing first-timers (especially women) complete their first triathlon and seeing how empowering it is for them.  For me, triathlon restores my faith in the kindness of humanity, is a stress-reliever, and is just plain fun.  My life is more joyful because of the sport of triathlon and the friendships that have grown through the sport.


Last season, I completed two 70.3 races – Wisconsin in June and North Carolina in October.  Wisconsin was a bit of a debacle.  I exceeded my expectations at North Carolina, finishing in 7 hours 59 minutes and 15 seconds and beating my goal time by 45 seconds.  I was exceptionally proud of myself after North Carolina.  I had gotten in a majority of my work outs pre-race, and worked with a nutritionist from July through October to dial in my training nutrition.  And then came the off season and self-sabotage.  I’ve been aware for at least a couple of years of my tendency to self-sabotage.  When life is going too good, I subconsciously do something to mess it up.  (If you want to read more about self-sabotage, I highly recommend the book, “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendricks).   Over the winter I managed to gain 20 pounds over a period of four months – all while still working out and working with a trainer.   Trust me, my 5’5” frame did not need another 20 pounds.  Self-sabotage at its finest.


By February, I started to get back on the program with respect to nutrition – working with a new nutrition coach and logging my macros faithfully in My Fitness Pal.  Over the winter, I toyed with the idea of signing up for a Full Ironman in 2019.  Sam advised that IM Florida is the race tailored to my strengths.   I thought a lot about it.   I talked about it a lot.  But I could not get myself to register.    This spring, a series of events convinced me to take the leap.   My good friend, Nikki Huss, registered.  Ironman Florida ads kept appearing in my Facebook feed announcing that the race was getting closer and closer to being sold out.  At work in April, a client decided to leave his in-house job and go to work directly for a competitor, moving a couple of cases with him.  I sent my husband a text message about it and told him I was “trying not to freak out.”  His response, “Nothing brings in new business like signing up for an Ironman.   Just saying.”   On one of our weekly bike rides, I chatted with good friend and Ironman, Carrie Tillott, and the pros and the cons of training for an Ironman.   She gave me just the advice I needed.   Essentially, life is short.   You don’t know when you are going to have another season where you have the ability to do this.  And she was right.   I had plenty of excuses (namely, I’m pretty sure an Ironman would be way easier if I weighed 125 pounds).  But I have a window this year.  My auto-immune disease continues to be under control.  Why not take advantage?   And so I leaped.  I registered for the race and spent an insane amount of money renting a condo at the finish line so I wouldn’t back out.


Here I am in the middle of my summer of no-excuses.  Right after I registered, Sam told me to make an inspiration board to remind myself of my goal.  I did, and it sits in my office at work so I see it all the time.  Carrie helped me come up with the idea of having a white board calendar at home where I write out my workouts for the week with my kids, and they mark them off when I complete them.   It gets them involved and keeps me accountable.  I get a lot of help from my friends.  I regularly ride with teammates so that I’m not tempted to skip workouts.  And my husband provides endless encouragement.  I didn’t want to do my tempo-run workout this week.  The head of my law firm had been in town for two days visiting the office I run.   I had to pick him up at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday for a breakfast meeting with a client.  I wanted to go home and take a nap after work.  Instead, my husband went to the track with me.   And the tempo-run workout was accomplished.



Coach Sam is a huge part of my summer of no excuses.  She has had gentle and not so gentle chats and texts with me.  Two weeks ago we both did Muncie 70.3.  Long after she finished, Sam met me on the last mile of the run and we chatted.  We chatted about how the race had gone and how I was feeling about Florida.  She reminded me that Florida is not that far away, and in training for an Ironman, there is not room for skipping workouts, regardless of whether you are chasing a time goal, or just trying to finish.  And so the summer of no-excuses continues. 



I’ve discovered in all areas of my life, the best way for me to overcome my tendency to self-sabotage is to set ENORMOUS, but quantifiable and obtainable goals.   Ironman is a dream that scares me.   But with more than a little help from my friends (and coach and family), I’m not letting any excuses get in my way.