The dynamic duo of triathlon coaches Siri & Bek explain that even when you’re facing demons never give up because you could still win your race
Podcast length: 30′ 57″
Siri Lindley & Rebekah Keat share stories of how they overcame adversity during races such as equipment malfunction and exiting the swim at the back of the pack to turn the race around and even win world cups and a world championship. The message is never give up because the race is long and anything can happen if you’re determined and ambitious.
Follow on social media – Team Sirius Tri Club on Facebook, Siri Lindley on Facebook, Rebekah Keat on Facebook – on Instagram @sirilindley, on Twitter @SELTS @rebekahkeat and @believeranchandrescue on Instagram, on Facebook and our website www.believranchandrescue.org .
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FULL TRANSCRIPT of this episode:
[00:00:04] Welcome to the SIRI & BEK show. We are the founders of Team Sirius Tri Club and our non-profit Believe Ranch and Rescue where we save horses from slaughter and we are so happy to be here today brought to you by WiSP Sports.
[00:00:22] We’re going to talk about a subject that I think can resonate with everybody. Victory is as you know because not always beautiful can mean many different things to different people and my wife here is going to touch on that and tell us a little bit of a story about something that describes that kind of a thing.
[00:00:41] So here’s the deal guys. Some of our greatest victories present themselves through our greatest struggles and these victories happen when we finally do something in a way that empowers us rather than disempowers us and we can celebrate that beautiful victory because we know in that moment that that experience will change our lives forever. And I have this story so let’s start I had an athlete and I’m going to call him by his name because I’m so incredibly proud of him and that’s why I tell this story. But his name is Philippe and my amazing wife was coaching him for about two years and he was doing such an incredible job with you knee and back. You came to me and said I think so pay is ready to join your squad. I think he had he can become a very strong professional male. What do you think when you take him on. And I said well if he’ll move out here to Boulder and he’s as good as you say he is then yes bring him out.
[00:01:46] So it starts out with that as a coach I really sort of enjoy coaching on the big Nuran the entry level athletes. I find they’re just so grateful. It resonates a lot with me because a lot of families that work full time and I was kind of a little bit different and we really clicked and got along really well but I realized that this guy wasn’t just your everyday athlete just wanting to finish an event. He actually had a lot of talent and I could see that and see him improving and a great attitude and that’s the thing when Siri chooses her athletes. Usually they’re professionals. Very rarely she has aged workers but she will say something in them. And she’s very selective about who’s who she has.
[00:02:27] So but all we know is that he was an awesome athlete. He had a great attitude and he was continually progressing right. Yes but you never really changed them in person. So I decided Philippe I want to take you on. I want to be your coach. Can you move.
[00:02:44] Out here to Colorado. And what I loved is that right away he was willing to take that step wasn’t he. He moved out here and he was ready to go for it. And I want a new athlete comes. You know I don’t sugarcoat it at all I say it’s time to step up and you’re going to reach all new levels. And I was really looking forward to working with this great athlete that Bek had such tremendous results with.
[00:03:07] And that brings me to a point because both Siri and I when we wanted to be the best in the world you can only get so good under under a certain coach or with a coach resigned as a junior and you live to a new level. You’re better than sort of what you start becoming a little bit better than everybody around you you’re only getting pushed to a certain amount. The reason why. Why so many athletes that do so well under the top coaches are being stretched pushed by other athletes around them in their training with the best in the world. And I did that in Brett Sutton and then coming to screaming being on the train when I read the confrere that was half the reason why I joined the team. I wanted to be pushed by the best in the world. So for if there was a great opportunity for him to be out step up and he may have been this low isn’t this what I think he probably was when he first got there but he was being pushed by the best athletes in the world. It was the gravity opportunity for him to step up when Siri did the same thing. She fully immersed went to Brett was training with Loretta Harrop an Olympic swimmer .Next time mixed a couple of years later she was a world champion.
[00:04:02] Yeah but when I first got there I was the worst athlete and this was that he might still like. But said Philippe comes out and he is just a tremendous human being like I just loved him from the first day I met him and he starts showing up at practice and as you all know you’re going to have good days and you’re going to have bad days. But the thing about my athletes and Beck and you and your athletes in person that we know and we make sure of is that no matter how things are going you do your very best with whatever you have. If you’re having a great day awesome. If you’re having a horrible day you take whatever you have and put all of it forward into the best relentless attitude you can have and do your very best with what you have on that day.
[00:04:50] And let’s be really honest here because the culture has developed in our squad is we really have to tell athletes to slow down. With the pros that it’s in them it’s built in them it’s intrinsic they were not told they have to hurt they’re there and they go hard they’re going flat out go to the Obama Salthouse for example we’ll go to her leg literally. Troy Romero is the same really of course that that’s being bedded in her for years guys and will go until she tries to I mean if you turn up to a swim session and expect to go half heartedly you’re kicked out immediately and that has happened before and Philippe turned out he was very talented but must admit. And he’s going to admit this too. He won’t be upset with us saying this he was lacking a little bit of that. I know how to really hurt myself and I think you can learn that and I think he learned to step up from having athletes around him that were willing to do that day to day.
[00:05:35] Yeah. So the first thing that I discovered that at first steps thinking OK maybe you know he’d be happy and not so great day for instance in the pool and I’d be like hey Philippe what’s up. You know let’s focus here and there would always be an excuse. My shoulder hurts or Hagos guy guiding her or my nuts don’t even stop in the middle of an interval and say oh my goggles are filling up with water. So I started kind of testing him. And I would be like OK your shoulder hurts. Quickly write down you know the phone number of an orthopedic I know and say OK I’m going to set you up with an appointment with this guy tomorrow. Let’s get it taken care of and of course he would never make that phone call he’d never talk to the doctor. And so I realized that basically what was happening here is that when he was having a great day he would go for it and he would excel and he would have moments of just showing this unbelievable talent and potential. But any time he didn’t feel awesome when there was no use when there was a struggle when it got hard. He would try and get out of it no matter what and no matter what I made him keep going. And I will never forget that one day we were doing 24 or 100. I was on a 140 interval and it was quicker just let me know.
[00:06:54] But that’s when they were meant to come in under him as he had to come in under 120 getting 20 seconds rest for every tenable. Now he was missing at every time and so I started kind of getting more and more upset because it was his shoulder or his goggles or this or that.
[00:07:13] And finally I decided this is a moment where we can really change things so the rest of the group had finished and I had the rest of the group come and sit around Phillippe’s lane. And I said look you’ve got all the support in the world. I’m not expecting to see the fastest time that were done before but I’m expecting to see you finish gracefully to see you finish relentlessly to see you putting in the effort to make this happen and do your best regardless of how bad it feels. You know the first thing as athletes we all can do and this is very possible you can turn around a horrible session – yeah totally a horrible race like all the times in Siri’s World Championships is now the water and last place rode herself to the front of the pack and won the world championship, and I’ve had races.
I remember Copenhagen the year I went. I think we’re 8:52 and I won it was my biggest victory I beat some people like Jody Swallow. I crashed on the first corner was where I slid out so lost my name it was pouring blood and I finished that and winning the race and that could have been the end of actually given up. It it’s just not the way decisions were decisions.
[00:08:16] Pull out. Well now your three decisions like this when you’re having a bad place you’re having a bad session. You choose what to focus on are you going to focus on how bad you feel and how horrible things are going. Or are you going to focus on what can I do now in this moment to make this the best day possible. Think about it guys what’s going to lead to the a better race in the end focusing on how terrible you feel or focusing on what can I do now to make the best race possible. So you have a choice on what to focus on. You have a choice on what meaning to give what’s happening you can choose to say all I suck and I should give up the sport. This is terrible my race is over I should just quit or that meaning you can give it is OK. I’m having a tough day but this is a perfect opportunity for me to see what I’m made up for me to see what I can do. Feeling badly to use different strategies to try and feel better to put myself out feeling this way and in strong. So that mean obviously it’s a lot more empowering. The other choice you have is what you do. Your action. Are you going to get back or are you going to keep going. OK. So on this day I was trying to get that would pay every opportunity to change his focus changed the meaning he was giving it to his desk. Turn it around and it was a struggle.
[00:09:34] And this was not going to be a good day. And the whole team sat there for an hour and a half watching them try to finish this.
[00:09:40] You know we sat there and he’s best buy Troy and I was just cringing we kind of felt sorry for the guy because remember Brett Sutton had done this to me plenty of times and our moment giving is like a hundreds one day enough to like 50 we all wanted to get out and about 30 k that morning and we were completely exhausted. But I knew this was actually why Syria was doing it but it was very there is an athlete because it’s very rare that he need to bring that one out. But I knew on this day that it would change everything for him and it did Kona that following year right.
[00:10:12] Well yeah. So at the end of that session we sat there and I had a talk with the team and I said Listen you don’t just finish when you’re feeling good and everything is going your way. Here it Team Sirius we finish no matter what we finish with guts and determination and with pride. We’re finishers we’re complete leaders.
[00:10:31] And that is a message no matter what you do your best you get through it. And let’s tell them what what he did for example I think he got to about 70 100 sleeping on that cycle every time he missed one so it would take one off so they can go to 70. And then finally every time I think that’s what I mean. Yes. It wasn’t counted so I think that three and a half hours total swim time swimming really high in the right like it was really hard. Yeah and so the challenge on this day wasn’t just being me.
[00:10:57] The challenge was to finally see him grow and grow through deciding that in moments when it gets tough. I’m going to keep going. I’m not going to give it so fast forward. He had qualified for the World Championships in Kona, and then his injury five or six years and he finally qualified after working with me.
[00:11:18] And it was awesome. And he was so freakin excited to be there. Biggest day of his life. So he gets out of the swim he has had the best swim of his life he’s gone five minutes quicker than he’s ever swum the Ironman distance before he’s stoked gets on his bike and within the first 200 meters POW flat tire.
[00:11:37] So I fixes a flat tire. I don’t know this yet but he goes another 400 meters POW second flat tire. He comes up here oh how about I think two miles from where I’m standing and POW flat tire again.
[00:11:52] And he started screaming He’s like this is my third flat and I’m my my.
[00:11:57] Then he’s already lost like 30 minutes to the front of my daddy’s race is over anyway. Well it’s not over. It was mine. He thinks it’s all right.
[00:12:04] So he thinks it’s over and he’s yelling and he’s swearing he’s saying you don’t understand sir. It’s a third flat tire.
[00:12:13] Excuse my language. I like and I’m appalled by this. But I I in this moment I knew that this day was going to make or break not only his racing career but his relationship with Imam World Championship in Kona. And I yelled at him and I said what day you will finish this race no matter what there is a bike shop down the road walk there get your tire fix. Get a new wheel. What ever you have to do. No matter what you get back on that bike and you go as hard as you can and you do everything right. You fuel you hydrate you give it everything you have and you make this the best possible race that you’re capable of happy now. And he looks at me and he’s crying and screaming and you know get it. And I knew I knew that if you finish this race that’s not only making a statement to that island into this race saying that no matter what nothing is going to get in the way of me. Finishing this dam race that I’ve wanted to be my whole entire life nothing will stop me from getting to the finish line. Nothing will get in my way of achieving my dream of being at the World Championships. So I walked away and I was furious. He was upset I was upset for him. But I know he was looking at me and I’m feeling like a terrible person thinking he’s going to think I’m the biggest bitch on the planet being so mean to them when everything’s going wrong.
[00:13:38] So anyways I get out on the course not following Rinny and Yvonne and Troy who were out there racing and I’m just so proud they’re just relentless and struggling but never give me up and just beat the tough competitors that they are so do want to add anything on this moment like I know it wasn’t there that I knew that was the year I didn’t go to Connor and I was tracking them and was having a really good day.
[00:14:01] He was suffering a little bit having a really good day. I was there. Yes it’s a great day and I looked and I noticed that his tracker was still working and I thought ha. There’s like a three hour gap there I think he ended up losing maybe an hour an hour and a half in the shop and getting in takes but he laid the course and from the same point you actually can continue the list of course on the same point with the bike shop got six inches back and I don’t know many people actually recommended one so the population would have the guts to do it just got back on the spot. The same point where we sort of cirE and started the race from there and then lost about two hours yeah.
[00:14:40] And so I’m here kind of assuming that he’s pulled out that he’s pulled out because history so that he’s probably pulled out the history it’s shown that that is a most likely decision he was going to make. But anyways my phone rings after everyone else has had finished. It was about 10 o’clock at night 11 o’clock at night and I answered the phone and it’s and as he starts talking me Tears are welling up in my eyes as I’m listening to his voice he is ecstatic.
[00:15:10] He’s like Coach I did it. It took me two hours to finally get my wheeling get started. But I got back on and I just said I’m going to ride as hard as I can. And there was always somebody to pass. And I never gave up and I stayed positive and I stuck to my nutrition plan when I got out on the run and I did everything right. I’d push from start to finish I had the best race I was capable of having. And he had so much excitement in his voice.
[00:15:35] And I had tears coming down my face and I told him Philippe I have never been prouder of you than I am right now. He not only finished but not begrudgingly not pissed off the whole way but he finished gracefully he finished despite all the obstacles he had to overcome and he finished he was grateful he was excited. He was passionate and he had proven to himself and to me of course and everyone around him and to the island which I think is so incredibly important that nothing was going to stop and nothing was going to beat them. He was up for any challenge. He could roll with any punches and he’d proven to himself that he was resilient. He was relentless. And no matter what he was a finisher and that forever is going to change his life. Not only as an athlete but as a human being he now knows that no matter what comes his way he has everything he needs inside of him to not only finish it and do the best he can but to have it be something that he grows from and that literally gives him more confidence in life and sport. It was amazing.
[00:16:48] And and put it in perspective it was out there for three hours more than he normally wouldn’t be. He’s usually doing it around 29 hours 10 hours and it was there and he did around 12 and a half hours that day. So he was out there for three hours longer but he still was able to handle everything that was thrown at him and I think he’s made amends with Matabele in Hawaii and I think next time he goes back I think he’s going to be a different story.
[00:17:12] Yeah. So back from all your experiences that you’ve had in racing what do you think is the lesson from this for everyone.
[00:17:19] Well does everybody know your story about the world championships maybe you should quickly summarize it causes pretty. Just really briefly what happened because you turned up you were told you were raising this is what I remember of you turned up you weren’t told you were racing the night before the race. Finally they gave you a star. You were having a glass of wine McFeeley Jain’s joked. Why you drink wine if you’re racing and use. I like where you’re in that’s what we do. You turned up at the start line your bike was right to the very last position the worst possible spot. Man that’s when I lost you.
[00:17:49] OK let’s talk about the water bottle. OK. So all right guys we talked about this. Yes. And if we have let’s recap. I it. And we have so in the history of my World Cup racing the meaning I gave having a bad swim pretty much meant that my race was over and I race will come to an end it’s kind of true if you’re out in the second or third pack unless you’ve got someone like a gun rider with you it’s almost impossible to win the race.
[00:18:16] Well that’s what my definition when I’m going to go to that play and you will cop on it. That’s that’s exactly how I my my swim was that race was over.
[00:18:25] Right. So on this day it’s a world championship and I get out of the water and I’m near last place and for some reason. And on this day I decided to change the meaning that I gave a shit swim excuse my language but I got out of the water and I thought you know what I have in my Bohai were you because I’d like you a minute.
[00:18:46] Oh my. Three. And I threw it out. So you should probably swam like 21 and the other girls swam like 18 19. These were Olympic swimmers mind you.
[00:18:57] So I get out. And thank God on this day I decide to change the meaning and I decide you know when I’m in the shape of my life I’m just going to put my head down and frickin go for another bike ride until my legs blow off and just see how close I can get to the friend. So I’m just relaying myself on the bike just going as hard as I can
[00:19:18] Are you by yourself?
I’m all by myself… and a little person cheering for her is her little mom who was there every way.
‘You can still do it Siri’; I’m on my bike lane and catch the third pack.
[00:19:31] Keep writing hard. I’m just going as hard as I can, snot everywhere ,salivating – catch the second pack. Oh my God this is great. Head stays down boom boom I’m just driving it to the front and I get to the front. Hank on the last laugh. We’re like half the lap to go. And I ride up to the front because I to say I’m going.
[00:19:51] I like any athlete like me. I would sit in the back seat my legs get my heart rate down as go. Like sit on and just suck the whole time I rest my legs but no I’m not serious years like in a tiny she’d go to the front say Come on take a turn. So I get to a friend and McKilly bless her I love her she was like you might want to make the greatest motivators and should actually be she says a single silver medalist at the Olympics an amazing athlete won several world cup.
[00:20:18] So her main goal and my main competition she’s someone that I that I just dreamed of becoming as good as I ride up beside her and Micheli if you’re listening and you remember this but she turns me and she’s like – ‘wow that is ridiculous – what did you do that for’? Like what do you do that for she knew I just because I had not it. She knew I’d been like comfortable just going crazy on the bike to get to the front. And it kind of pissed me off because I felt like as a good competitor she is trying to get my head. And so we’re just about to get into a transition. I turn to Mackewy and I say I’m ready to run. And she looks at me I’m like oh my god. Where did that come from. Because I wasn’t like this at all I was flying I’m confident. And I’m like shit now I’m accountable so we get off our bikes and I take off on the run and I take it off like a bat out of hell. Nearly 30 people behind me. I get out of transition first McKeel he’s on my shoulder I hear her breathing. I grab a water and I drink the water and I am someone like I cry if I see someone littering.
[00:21:24] I just hate like people throwing trash out the window. And so I’m looking for a trash can there’s a trash can. Like maybe 50 meters on the side of the road and I’m like shit we’ll at least try to throw it in the trash can. Now keep in mind – I’m ready as fast as I could and I fling the bottle in. Oh my God.
[00:21:43] It drops into the can and saw him like I would really like superstitious did that as a kid I’d be like I’m going to have a great life I’m going to win. I’m like oh my god it’s a sign that I’m going to have a good day.
[00:21:59] You know so I just take off and I’m probably as hard as I can on going as fast as I can.
[00:22:04] First lap I’m still I’m asleep but I hear McIlly breathing. But apparently she wasn’t even so there. I had I call it the phantom to match the match. I can hear them but there’s no one there yeah because I was like there’s no way that I dropped or spit you never wanted. Never looked back. Never ever. Because it’s them saying you saw what happened and they mix with Gwen and Nicole -Gwen had her… Like she was looking looking looking at her – so I’m running as hard as I can remember my mom on the third lap which was the last lap she’s like you know.
[00:22:38] And then like two seconds later sent my coaches in and he’s like the nanny he’s yelling at me and I’m like oh my god there must be somebody running me down so I kill myself. And I cross a line.
[00:22:50] And on that day I not only became world champion but I won by two minutes guys. It was just over 10 minutes. The message here is that you may think you’re having a worst day of your life. Imagine if I quit after this win if I decided to still live out the story that if I have a shit swim my race is over. I would not be a world champion today and my life would look nothing like what it looks like now. So you have got to back yourself in those moments that you yourself believe in yourself go for and never give up.
[00:23:23] I just remembered it really an example of why my race is nowhere near as good as that. Yes if you out the year I broke the world record with Chrissie Wellington. Eight thirty nine. I remember now that the sixth fastest time in the history of iron distance guys just so you know rockstar at the moment but I’m sure there will be a few that take over that spot.
[00:23:43] But anyway so I remember my bike split was four hours and forty eight minutes I think. But the last 20 k i got a flat tire and luckily it was all downhill and it was just enough air in there and I was terrified. So I was like oh my god I could crash Ash Ashley I just had to not think about that thought about crashing and it was going to crash so I rode it on a flat tire the last 20 Can I still ride that for 48 remembers Catriona Morrison and go onto the run and she pushed me that first thing kind of went through the first take care of my marathon only 37 minutes and that’s what got me to do at 55 runs an eight hour day overall but my race could have been over the road. I just didn’t focus on I was like I know having a great day I’m not going to even think about that flight time just going to keep praying and running and just keep not even thinking about – it means nothing. I don’t recommend riding on a flat tyre guys but I just had a little bit of luck on the new record with good grace happening there.
[00:24:37] Awesome awesome guys but so perfect example like that could be a moment for someone that maybe struggles finishing on a bad day that could have been a moment back where you said Oh shit I got a flat tire. Must mean I’m going to have a bad day but no you decided not to focus on it. Focus on getting to transition as quick as you put it end safely and get out on that run and run as hard as you could. So guys some of the greatest victories come out of your greatest struggles.
[00:25:04] You have to believe that and those victories also are the most feeling satisfying memorable and life changing.
[00:25:13] And I think like if anyone has read the book When God Winks. It’s amazing. It’s all about life happening for you and acts of grace that no way could be coincidences and I think of things all the time in my life that have happened like things is much more profound than that. But you’ve got to look for those because you’re alone. And yet in those moments there’s always something you think. If I like for I say with her father her relationship if she hadn’t have been if he had not been the father he was when she was young she would not be who she is as a woman now so you have to actually think back and think wow that shaped my life. There was a reason for these things happening and I if anyone hasn’t read the book When God Winks get this brilliant book and I’m writing down your own God Winks – this is really cool. Every night I sit down I write some things that have happened to them gifts that have happened in that day and is always something I can think of with or without horses or without animals or without family. And this is some crazy Most amazing incredible things you can think of and stories you can write down without when you actually really sit down and realize that some of the things that happened that have been what WebSphere once dealt with a tragedy actually end up being a God Wink.
[00:26:27] Yeah exactly. And it also means open your eyes guys and live from a place of gratitude. You have two choices you can’t focus on what’s missing in your life or in that moment or you can focus on what you have or what’s great in that moment. And what can I learn from this. Yeah and for as many things that are wrong. In your world or in your life there are just as many things that are right and that are wonderful and if you focus on gratitude and you focus on all the wonderful things in your life you’re going to start seeing more and more and more. So thank you back. I think that’s why I like that story.
[00:27:02] That’s my favorite story on her world championship story is just from someone who couldn’t swim and then that happens. Coming out last I think it is pretty good.
[00:27:10] And let me ask you this that could be ever had a perfect race. Never ever. There’s no such thing guys. Hey there’s no such thing as perfection. So if you think that your best days have to be perfect and the minute you make a mistake it’s over and you need to give up. That’s bullshit.
[00:27:27] I did get that I was 30 not remember getting dumped in the swim start losing my goals is to win the whole race. My eyes were hurting a little. The dirty water but I stayed on that path. I was so hungry and determined I know in a world cup you’ve definitely lost your goggles and still come out with a win. So yeah it’s good to choose to not let it upset you.
[00:27:44] So three things to think about guys. First of all what was a moment in your life are really tough experience you had something that was really a struggle that ended up bringing you some kind of an incredible gift. If that hadn’t happened you wouldn’t have this gift in your life that happened with that day of that era that week it might happen you know later years later.
[00:28:11] Second thing I think about when you think about your life are you more often thinking about what’s missing or what you have. And then when you answer that question is that serving you or is that hurting you. And then the third thing what are some things you can look at every day in your life. Wake up and think about 3 things you’re grateful for and then when you go to bed instead of thinking about things that went wrong have I write three great things that happened even if it was it was rainy and cloudy day but the sun came out for two minutes. Hey that’s a positive right. Whatever it is you can always find something good but wake up with 3 things you’re grateful for and go to bed thinking about the three things that you are happy that happy and you’re grateful may have been something wonderful that happened something you learned how you grew. Whatever it is start your day and end your day in that way and you will see your life change will you back.
[00:29:08] Exactly. I write down a little thing every night. Three things I’m grateful for and if I have a really good God Wink that I really want to write down I write that down as well. So when we want to hear yours you can actually write to us guys you can write to sports buy email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Guys we’re going to actually change it up a little bit this has been a little bit of a pilot series for us. We’ve done two episodes, this is our third one and we’re going to restructure it a little bit and are introducing new segments and some special guests and we have some great connections and awesome friends that we’re going to be bringing on so we’re really excited about that.
Follow us on social media – Team Sirius Tri Club on Facebook, Siri Lindley on Facebook, Rebekah Keat on Facebook – on Instagram, on Twitter @SELTS and @believranchandrescue on Instagram, on Facebook and our website www.believranchandrescue.org . Let’s celebrate women in sport and the inspiration you all bring – so many – keep it up, you’re awesome. And in a world you can be anything, be kind. Love you all, bye.