Kirsten Sage IRONMAN Finish Line

My 6th IRONMAN in Boulder, Colorado – What an Experience!

A few weeks ago I participated in my 6th IRONMAN race in Boulder, Colorado — the IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon to be specific. I have a passion for this type of race as I’ve been competing in triathlons for 23+ years. Wow!

I really wanted to share my experience with you but moreover why I love it so much, what I’ve learned, and continue to learn from it.

What I Love About Triathlons

Variety. Balance. Social connection. It’s all-encompassing. Triathlons are such a balanced sport and offer a healthy variety of exercise in terms of training — your body is given proper breaks from one type of exercise to the other. I also really enjoy the social aspect of triathlons. The spirit and energy that surrounds them are so positive and powerful. And honestly, anyone can train for them. I see so many different types of people compete, and it is incredibly inspiring. It’s an unassuming sport, and albeit humbling, but in the best way. For example, at one point I passed a super-fit looking 20-year old, yet at another point, I was passed by an insanely fit 60+ year old. Who knows why, and it honestly doesn’t matter because it’s not about comparison. We never know what someone may be dealing with from a mental or health perspective that is affecting their performance. The point is that you can’t assume anything in these types of races, nor allow yourself to fall into compare and despair. You have to release judgment and allow yourself, and others, some grace because we’re all there for our own personal growth and journey.

The Challenges = Such Growth!

One of the biggest challenges, that I personally face, is the number of people that surround you during certain points of the race. But this is where some mental growth can happen, which I love. You have to allow yourself to release your ego, judgment, and not allow what I call “race rage” to take over (similar to road rage…you get the idea!). At this particular race, during the swim portion, there were just so many bodies in the water all at once. For me, this part of the race can be overwhelming. {GULP} I had to dig deep mentally and find a visual that helped me to relax and stay the course; I envisioned that the crowd of bodies aggressively treading water around me were dolphins, playfully swimming alongside me. This vision allowed me to relax and focus… AND I found that I was a much better swimmer than I thought. My triathlon learning experiences are never ending!

New Perspectives and Family Connections

Another thing I love about attending tri’s is that it can be paired perfectly with a vacation but in a very different way. You really get to immerse yourself in the landscape and surrounding environment of wherever you happen to be racing. We combined my participation in this race with a family vacation and something really special happened in terms of family connection. My 12 (soon-to-be 13-year-old) daughter is finding her independence…and while I encourage this discovery of her individuality, at times it can be hard. She’s at a stage where everything is the opposite of me, almost to the point of rebellion. Which I understand but, ya know….deep breaths! But on this trip, she saw me in a new light…or at least I think she did because after seeing me compete she expressed interest in some of the activities that the race entailed. Swimming and biking, specifically. This, perhaps, meant the most to me because not only did we find some common ground (which felt amazing!), I learned that I was setting a healthy example and precedence for my daughter that inspired her.

Here’s a pic of her giving me a high-five when I crossed the finish line, along with some other fun photos we took while on the trip.

Dr. Kirsten Sage after IRONMAN 2018 enjoying beer


Pretty landscape in Boulder, Colorado

In conclusion, I can’t recommend the triathlon experience enough. But any healthy physical exercise challenge is encouraged because there’s so much to be gained!

IRONMAN-70.3-Medal-2018 from Boulder, Colorado race

Lastly, if you’re a patient at Sage Health, you’ve probably noticed that the bathroom key is different. *WINK* Yep! That’s my medal of accomplishment. Meant to serve as inspiration, and also prevent losing the key itself — haha! It is kinda large and in-charge.