Note: An abbreviated version of this blog post originated in the 2017 Runnin' Raider Newsletter which can be found at www.runninraiders.com
Tamara Gorman (Class of ‘14) won her second Triathlon World Championship last fall at the 2017 ITU World Championships in the U23 category in Rotterdam. While in high school, Tamara earned a bronze medal at the 2012 Junior World Triathlon Championships and then won the 2013 ITU Junior Womens’ World Triathlon title. A month after her 2013 triathlon world title, she came back to help lead the Runnin’ Raiders to a State Cross Country Championship.
Tamara's favorite memories from high school running were "wearing pink on Wednesday runs" and the "the 2013 State Championships, which was Doc's 50th (title) and all of the memories along the way."
Tamara also mentioned the Atlis Blizzard before the 2013 State Cross Country Championships as one of her most memorable moments. The result of Atlis was up to 31 inches of snow piled up in Rapid City, downed trees and impassable roadways. Despite the conditions, we really didn't miss even a day's worth of training- and there were some creative stories about how kids got in their runs.
After high school, Tamara competed for three years at the University of Minnesota, with highlights of making the NCAA Cross Country Championship and being a part of the Big 10 Outdoor Track and Field Team Champions with the Gophers. Tamara became a professional triathlete last September (2017), foregoing her final year at Minnesota.
One of the traits that has helped Tamara climb to the top of the world is her positive mindset. Even at the world class level, athletes experience injuries and other setbacks just like the rest of us. The game-changer is how one responds to these adverse situations and having a positive attitude is paramount.
The following quote from Tamara's coach, Jenny Weber, was taken from USA Triathlon's article on Tamara's 2017 world title and does a fine job of exemplifying Tamara's positive mindset.
"This one might be the sweetest one yet, totally unexpected,” Weber said. “To see Tamara achieve this with so much passion and conviction — it’s such an overwhelming feeling that I have for her happiness. I think everybody here that’s racing has a lot of grit, but speaking from experience coaching Tamara, she doesn’t let things get to her. She just accepts the conditions, and she always has. I don’t think she’s ever won a big title without it being really adverse conditions.'"
In high school, Tamara made it through a couple of injuries only to come back each time a stronger athlete than before. As a senior, Tamara ran a school record 10:42 in the 3200 meters early in the season, but then had to deal with a nagging injury that limited her training and racing all of the way through the state meet. At the state meet, she didn't dwell on her lack of fitness, but instead maintained a positive attitude and used her race savvy to sneak away with a state title in the 3200 meters.
Finally, I asked Tamara about the role a positive mindset has played in her career.
"Although I have been faced with many 'setbacks' throughout my career, I do not view them as setbacks; I view them as 'stepping stones' to a higher level. Mindset is everything within sport. If you can view a 'setback' in a positive way as a 'stepping stone' you will soar to new levels because you will always be on a forward trajectory.
Within every race or situation you can take away a gold nugget. Gold nuggets are positives within each race or situation. This allows us to focus on the process instead of the outcome. Focusing on the process will open up a way to find a positive in the worst race or situation.
Preserve through the hardest times. The times when you feel as if nothing is going right, is usually the tipping point! These times are creating you to be the best you can possibly be while reminding us to never take anything for granted. "
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