Citius – Altius – Fortius

Faster. Higher. Stronger.
(cue music)

The Olympic motto. These very words conjure up images of strong, fast, agile men (and maybe women) of omnipotent ability. Of men and women who are supremely physically conditioned, going into battle and sprinting around tracks. And then…

There’s me…

I am 5 feet 2 inches tall. I weigh 107 pounds. I’m small. If I had to go two days sans sustenance, I probably wouldn’t see daylight of the third (those that know me and how often I eat would believe this). I am training for an event – full speed ahead – that requires an energy expenditure and metabolic demand greater than most any other endeavor experienced by mankind.

More times than I can count, I have heard the words “you’re too small” and “there’s not enough of you”. Well. I love a challenge. I don’t love being discounted.

Strength training is very important to me, and pertinent to my success in triathlon. In fact, I can chalk a great deal of my success up to the amount of strength training I do, and the strength exercises I perform on a regular basis. I like to be stronger than anyone else out there, and I am quite certain that it is my strength (coupled of course with the rest of my training) that gets me through these events so successfully, at my “so small” stature.

I have learned the value of doing things that you don’t always necessarily like to do. The menial tasks, the nit-picky parts of training – technique, skills, and form – pay great dividends in the long run. They contribute to make a greater part of the whole, and…to make the whole greater.

Everyone wants to go fast and hard all the time – it is what looks most impressive to everyone else. But come race day, everyone else who took the time to do the little things, the menial things, will be the ones passing you. They will recover faster than you. They will be stronger than you. And they will last longer in this sport than you do. Practice counts, but only if it is a means to an end result – an effective one. NOW what’s more impressive?

I love strength training, and I love to do leg work. After all, they are what carry me through! Squats and deadlifts are a mainstay in my programs, but I also like to throw in some fun, unique, variations such as the sliding single-leg squat.


Starting position – towel under one foot, standing tall.


Bottom position. Only squat down as far as you can comfortably maintain form – maintaining spinal alignment, head up, chest up, knee tracking forward.


Bottom position, side view. My left leg is doing all the work, the right leg merely slides along for support and added stability. This is great for mimicking the demands of cycling and running, and to work out any strength imbalances between the left leg and the right leg.


This exercise is great for increasing the strength of your leg muscles individually, without the effect of the stronger side compensating for the weaker one. Specifically, the muscles that are worked are: three muscles of the quadriceps group – rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, and vastus intermedius; the gluteus medius, and the gluteus maximus. The muscles of the back and front of the core (abdominal) also contribute, by keeping your posture correct. This is of paramount importance in the latter stages of an Ironman race.

Citius – Altius – Fortius. Faster – Higher – Stronger.

(From the Olympic website) It was the Dominican priest Henri Didon who first expressed the words in the opening ceremony of a school sports event in 1881. Pierre de Coubertin, who was present that day, adopted them as the Olympic motto. It expresses the aspirations of the Olympic Movement not only in its athletic and technical sense but also from a moral and educational perspective.

It is you who decides what you can do, what you will do, where you will go, and how well you will do all of these things. There is always a way to succeed. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot. I believe I have stated this before: if you always listen to the negative things, you’ll start to believe them. Don’t let yourself fall into that.

Oh, and for the record, two-time defending Ironman World Champion and fastest woman out there, Mirinda Carfrae, is 5’3″ and 114 pounds.

I’m too small? Whatever.


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