Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Ironman: Testing your mettle is mental

An interview with Matt Smith about breakthrough results

The Rocky Mountain Triathlon Club (RMTC) is an inspiring, focused, energetic group and I’ve had the pleasure of working with several members individually. I must say that I really enjoy their intensity and good spirits. All that aerobic exercise and endorphins show up in their positive energy! As any elite athlete will tell you, when it comes down to it, it’s the mental aspects that will take you to your highest levels of success.

Matt Smith, president of RMTC, and I did two sessions of EFT before his 2009 Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii. As Matt says below in our interview, “It’s all mental at the end of an Ironman!” We talked by phone June 18, 2010, and here’s some of what he had to say about his experience.

Matt: I had a really bad race before the Ironman. I pushed too hard, had high expectations, and I let my sponsors down.

Bernadette: In the world of EFT, we have four main aspects here to get to “zero.”
- The disappointment
- Possible guilt about disappointing sponsors
- Feeling a sense of failure
- Figuring out how to recover from this and feel able to set strong expectations for Ironman.
Remember, “emotional freedom” on a cellular level in the body — erasing all leftover chemicals of guilt, disappointment, failure, expectation — frees the body to be its most relaxed and able to perform physiologically.

Matt: With the Ironman in Hawaii, I had a lot of worry about not being able to finish the race. There’s such mental and physical exhaustion with the heat issues. In the two EFT sessions with [Bernadette], I was able to erase the thought that I couldn’t finish that long a race. I feared the environment would take me away; my imagined feeling of my legs just melting and melting while I ran turned into them feeling very strong and confident. I felt 100% physically better about the race and even though it was 100 degrees, I clocked my best time ever!

I was able to pull ahead of two other guys my age in the last two miles. All mental. It’s all mental at the end of an Ironman! You have NO gas left at that point!

Specific results – tidbits from Matt

Matt: After the first EFT session, I shaved 10 minutes off my time. I was the third athlete across the finish line. I beat professional athletes I look up to. I never got into a bad place in my head. [Bernadette] and I worked on my feeling strong, confident, being in it for fun, not for the win. I smiled the whole time I was in the race! Felt solid and confident the whole time. I attribute this to strong training and getting rid of the thought that I had to perform.

Bernadette: Pressure to perform is a killer!

After the second EFT session, Matt cut over 15 minutes off his Ironman PR (Personal Record) and was 13th overall in the world at the distance. Most importantly, Matt says, "I had the emotional gas tank to keep going the whole way."