Life Lessons from a Triathlete and Entrepreneur With CP


Those of you who never heard of Team Hoyt may have to Google it, and, when you do, you will see something amazing.

Last year “we” (myself and my teammate) attempted the impossible—the “Kona Ironman,” which is an Olympic-distance triathlon on one of the toughest courses in the world. I say “we” because my teammate and I were trying to set the Guinness Book of World Records in Kona, with me as the first female with Cerebral Palsy to attempt the triathlon.

I remember sitting on the phone in my office and saying to my teammate “you’re nuts” because I didn’t think I could be a triathlete with CP.

1: When you think you’ve had enough of training, you haven’t. There’s never enough training

Looking back on it, I wish myself and my teammate trained harder than we did. We were both globally challenged since my team was based out of Nassau, Bahamas and I was based in Aspen, Colorado: it was hard enough to meet on a weekly basis. I got a study teammate to train with in the Bahamas while I was doing my own training at my local gym. My advice to anyone thinking about doing this is to get an understudy teammate if you need someone who has the same condition you do.  My understudy teammate was a quadriplegic, so needless to say that didn’t mix well because I was never allowed to train on my own equipment.

2: Always have access to your equipment

I should have flown my teammate out to Aspen, Colorado three times last year. I think that would have made it easier to train together.

3: Always take a sabbatical from your full-time job

My teammate was told by other triathletes to take a sabbatical to have enough time to train and plan for the triathlon. She went to Kona, Hawaii a single triathlete, but never with a teammate. But, of course, my teammate didn’t listen to her professional triathlete friends. And, to make things more difficult, we only had one hundred days to train after getting Kona.

4: Always tell your teammate they should take a sabbatical from their job too

If I was ever given this opportunity again, I personally would take a sabbatical from my full-time teaching job to devote my mind, body and spirit to be a full-time triathlete. It’s too difficult to have a full-time job and train.

5: Have your cheerleaders behind you

Yes, you need cheerleaders to do this job. The best are your friends, family, and even nonprofits that you work with. It doesn’t matter if you’re disabled or not, you need your family to support you.

6: Have good karma

By “have good karma,” I mean that you should always be appreciative of advice.  When you are given things, like a high-quality aid for your teammate who has CP, don’t tell them what they did wrong and make a big scene of it after doing the impossible. Wait, and then tell them.

7: Always ask for help

When people want to give help, be sure to take it.

8: Always be careful of social media

Don’t post everything on Facebook. No one needs to read about your breakdown on Facebook.

9: Work together

There is no “I” in team. You have to work together, especially if your teammate is disabled.

10: Give your body time to heal

If your teammate only gives you one free day, use it to meditate and think about the experience you had.

11: Don’t train to your hearts content. Listen to your body, take its “advice,” and work with it using different methods of healing

For example, use acupuncture, massages, or Mother Nature as your training camp (runs on the beach).

12: There are different nonprofits that help disabled athletes, like Care to Tri in Florida, if you want your son or daughter ever to be a triathlete

13: Have fun and love what you are doing

Enjoy life as a Triathlete, but remember it’s not a marathon. Triathletes are careful of what they eat.

14: There’s a difference

There’s a difference between Olympic distance Full Ironman and a Half Ironman.  Pick your favorite and stick with it.

Win Charles is a motivational speaker, writer, and self-taught artist. Recently, she published her autobiography I, Win. Her additional work is available on Amazon. When she’s not writing, Win spends her time painting.

Reprinted by permission.

About the author: Under30CEO

Under30CEO is the leading media property for entrepreneurs, inspiring the world’s next generation of business leaders. Under30CEO features direct interviews with the most successful young people on the planet, profiles twenty-something startups, provides advice from those who have done it before, and publishes cutting edge news for the young entrepreneur.

You are seconds away from signing up for the hottest list in New York Tech!

Join the millions and keep up with the stories shaping entrepreneurship. Sign up today.