We got the inside scoop on the USA Triathlon experience from our very own Michaela Reynolds! Michaela is the Director of RSG! Since August 2019. She led the launch of the RSG! virtual series and expanded the RSG! Program into 32 school districts during unprecedented times. On July 17th, she led her triathlon team to victory by being the first woman to finish the 5k portion of the race! With less than 48 hours to prepare, she shares how the RSG! core values helped her with this race.
You had less than 48 hours to prepare for the Triathlon! How did you prepare for it in such a short amount of time?
Well, I don't think you can prepare for a triathlon in 48 hours. Looking at my lifestyle and how I treat every single day and every single week. I don't want to take these days and weeks for granted, I want to get the most out of it to lead a long and healthy lifestyle. A lot of that comes from the Ready, Set, Gold! model. That's what we do here at Ready, Set, Gold!, we want to help our students lead long and healthy lifestyles. For me, that means incorporating Ready, Set, Gold!’s four core components of fitness, those are endurance, balance and flexibility. I believe that by incorporating that into my weekly routine schedule, I felt comfortable saying “Yes!” to compete in the running portion of the triathlon, which is a 5k. A 5k is around 3.2 miles.
I haven't been training, I probably haven't ran more than two miles in over a year. However, by adding the RSG! core values, the little things that add up over time. It’s those short and long term goals that led me to the success of not even knowing that this goal was in front of me. I felt that I had prepared myself by keeping my body healthy. I knew I could complete this race and I knew I could be part of the USA triathlon legacy race.
How did you mentally prepare yourself for the event? Which RSG! Olympians and Paralympians did you draw inspiration from, and what about them inspired you?
I think preparing for an event like that, the people around you build you up. I was surrounded by eight Olympians getting ready for this event. They all had extremely good energy! There's a little bit of competitive fire underneath them. But it was all for fun and it was all for good. Instead of a competitive mindset, it was a team mindset. We were all there cheering each other on.
I had on my team Olympic cyclist Giddeon Massie who was the cyclist who set me up for success to finish the Triathlon by running. When finishing the race I had a family of Olympians cheering me on to finish the race as well no matter where I placed. I was really inspired by that. There was a point in the race where I realized that I had a lot of adrenaline. It was the excitement of everyone around you. After the year that we've had I haven't been in a group setting of that scale, being able to feed off of everyone's energy cheering you on along the way - and kids just looking up to me as I run past them. I think that's just so - inspiring. It’s setting the example knowing you’re being a role model for those around you
What expectations did you have for yourself? How do you think those influenced the outcome?
I just wanted to finish. My expectation was to finish without stopping to run. I didn't care how fast I ran, how slow I ran, I just wanted to be able to finish and say I did this and I gave it my all! I think that's what a lot of people's mindset should be around. it's not where you ended up. It's just making sure you left it all out there. You gave it your all, whether it's on the court, on the track, in the pool; you gave it your all and you have no regrets.
Did you experience fatigue of any kind? If so, how did you overcome that, and what tips do you have for overcoming fatigue?
It's all about preparing the night before. I am by no means an athlete. I think hydration and eating healthy are important. That also goes back to consistency. I wasn't training for this, but I tried to eat as healthy as possible, incorporating fruits, vegetables and good solid protein. So going into it, I wasn't trying to eat healthier. I just ate the same food that I have been eating.
And I think that's what helped me not experience any fatigue. Also pacing yourself, understanding what your limit is. That goes back to the question above - expectations. Making sure you are leaving it all out on the court while being mentally aware of how far you can push yourself. It's that self awareness we need to check in with. There is a good video on that with Samantha Bosco in our virtual series around self awareness.
The Toyota USA Triathlon was a fundraiser for the USA Triathlon Foundation and Ready, Set, Gold!. Was the fundraiser successful? How can people support the two organizations in the future?
The USA triathlon was a tremendous success! This is the very first year of our partnership of many years to come. The Olympians representing RSG! were enthusiastic about it and look forward to many more years to be a part of it. The next triathlon is already penciled in for next year. The fundraiser was a success! We raised $4,000 total.
People can always support us! We're always looking for support, whether you're an Olympian, Paralympian, and/or teacher. We love the support from our community! Whether that's volunteering or financially, it helps us grow into more schools to create a bigger and deeper impact that we like to do. You can still support Ready, Set, Gold! by using our donate button on our web page, which we will link here.
Were you surprised by the outcome? What do you want to try next?
I was surprised by the outcome. I knew I wanted to make everyone around me proud but in doing so I made myself proud. I didn't realize what was in me and what I could accomplish. Next year I want to do the running portion again and more 5K's between now and then. I'll actually start to prepare for the running portion of the triathlon.
I think that's important too - “what do you want to do next?” At RSG! we always talk about short and long term goals. But what happens when you reach and accomplish those goals? I think people forget that you still need to celebrate those accomplishments. And that's what we did! We all celebrated a great race. Then we set up for our next goal and identify what those short term goals are in between.
Right now, my short term goal is competing in more 5 and 10k running events. My long term goal is to come back to compete in the USA foundation Triathlon of 2022.
Michaela Reynolds is an inspiration to us at RSG!. Thank you for leading by example!
Now it's your turn, what do you want to do next? Start today with the RSG! Mindset!