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What’s Your Olympic Trials?

The Olympic Marathon Trials is Saturday. By 1:00 Pacific Time we will know who made the team. Making the US Olympic Team is a big deal. It’s a life-changing event.

Most people will never qualify for the actual Olympic Trials, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have your own version of the Trials. What is your life-changing event? What are you working toward that will spring you forward in life or at the very least, nurture your passion and give you some serious focus while you train?

I’ve trained for a few “Olympic Trials” in my life. The first was literally the 1988 US Olympic Swimming Trials. I was 16 years old. I swam the 100 breaststroke. My Trials was definitely memorable, but even more memorable was how I qualified for Trials. Back then, it was really important that I practiced hard and listened to my coach. Training for Nationals taught me a skill I have carried forward through my life – how to listen to my body. I will never forget how in tune I was to my body, to the water, to the tiniest nuances of my event.

Dive. Underwater pullout. Break the surface with perfect timing. Five strokes. Turn. Underwater pullout. Six strokes. Turn. Underwater pullout. Six strokes. Turn. Underwater pullout. Seven strokes. Perfect finish. Look at the clock. Celebrate!

By the time I got to the big race, I didn’t need to think at all. Instinct and muscle memory kicked in. When my taper was spot-on and all the forces aligned, it was as close to perfection as I’ve ever come in my life.

Qualifying for Olympic Trials was a goal. If I had made the Olympic Team, that would have been the next goal. If I had won an Olympic Gold, I would have gone for the world record. If I broke the world record, I would have tried to break it again. That’s how we’re built. To go forward.

I’ve been through a number of “Trials” since 1988. I’ve competed in Ironman events. Dreamed up a brand new product and brought it to market. Created the first-ever “easy-pee skirt.” Got pregnant and trained for childbirth, gaining a whole new perspective on listening to my body.

The Olympic Trials is a big deal. It’s the event that pushes you beyond your limits and no matter how you finish, you are a different person on the other side (or in some cases, you may actually have another person on the other side!).

So while we watch those finely tuned athletes vie for Team USA, think about this. What’s your Olympic Trials?

Postnote: Since this post was written, we have a new 2016 Olympic Marathon Team! See here!