FitView – Mental Training

FitView By Efren Martinez

49er Mental Training On March 3rd I made my 5th successful Escape from The Rock. This year’s Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon was held in the winter and the cold elements reminded us of that during all three legs of the triathlon. Swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco is tough enough in the summer, but doing this swim in the winter with 49-degree waters for 1.5 miles is not only physically challenging, but also mentally. Honestly, if I had to compare it to an experience, I would best describe it as swimming in a sea of fire. Soon as your body hits the water, there is a stinging sensation that burns you. Just as the flame of a fire can burn, so does the freezing cold water of 49 degrees, thus this brought forth a new shared title for all us Escapee’s by the San Francisco media; we are now known as the other “San Francisco 49ers”.

Yes, the water was freezing and the sea was so rough that all of the 2000 Tri-Athletes had to hold onto each other in the boats to keep from falling over on the way to the start. As I looked around at the other Tri-Athletes, I could see some fear in their eyes and this is where my mental conditioning kicked in. For months prior to this Triathlon I had been training in freezing weather. Between this and cycling in the wet fog, running in the cold weather and swimming in the open oceans of Cabo last February helped me prepare myself for the physical and mental conditions at this years winter Escape from Alcatraz. Was I still cold at the year’s Triathlon in San Francisco? You bet your sweet potatoes! For many of us, hypothermia was only a few steps away and some did fall from it and sadly, one of us never made it back to shore.

The dream killer, 2 weeks prior to this event I pulled a muscle very badly and had to have some physical therapy to correct it. Instantly my thoughts were that my 5th escape from The Rock would not materialize. It wasn’t till 5 days prior to the Triathlon that I decided to enter it cautiously. I knew that if I wasn’t careful, I could really get hurt out there. So with that said, I simply gave it to God and came up with instead of running a fast race, I would run a smart one. It worked out just fine. I jumped into the water, fought as hard as I could to pull away from the island because the currents pull you to it, not letting you go. The bicycle ride was actually colder to me then the swim. On the run I was able to pass many that came up on me in the other two segments. Well, after it was all said and done, my wife asked me, “Did you have fun? You looked like you did and in fact every time you saw me, you yelled I love you!” My reply, “I did?” I guess the answer is yes, I do love her and I had a blast in deranged endurance Tri-Athlete kind of way. Well, I ended up finishing the race injury free with my best time ever out of my 4 other Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon I’ve done. As far as the winner of this Years Escape Triathlon, it went to the 2012 Triathlon Olympic Silver Medalist.

In memory of our fellow Tri-Athlete Ross Ehlinger, who passed away during the swim portion of the 2013 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Log onto The Modesto View Website for some tips on how to train mentally for an endurance event.

Mental Training Tips 1. Always consult with your Doctor prior to starting any kind of exercise program and make sure you get the green light for the ready set GO! 2. For cold-water endurance Events try swimming in the same water temperatures a few times prior to your Event. 3 Get your swim training around the same time of the day your swim competition will be held. 4. For open Ocean Events, get as much Open Ocean swimming in as possible. 5. Take cool showers to acclimate yourself to cold water, note: not freezing cold showers but cool showers. 6. Ride and run in the cold, start with warm clothing on at first then after you warm up, take it off. 7. This will gradually adapt you to the conditions you might face for your endurance event.

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About the Author:

I answered the call back in 1983; mixing Music and Entertainment with an eccentric European style has always come easy for me. In the early 80's I was the Disc Jockey for most of the high school dances in Modesto. In the late 80's I found myself in Hollywood working as a dancer and sound engineer for various professional recording industries. In 1990 my wife of 25 years and I started (The Quake Mobile DJ ®) which was seeded from San Francisco's 1985, The Quake, radio station that only lasted a short while on the air. 26 years later The Quake Mobile DJ is bigger & better than ever in the Entertainment industry. Real-Estate, photojournalism, event promoter, saving animals, travel and fitness are a few other of my interests. I also enjoy motivational speaking to children and to those who are struggling with addiction. In my life, I have always been a very direct person and once I see a goal I won't quit till I've achieved it. But out of all of the above I feel in my heart that the best inspiration in my life is my wife and my love for the faith that I practice. Phil 4:20