Lifestyle: Lessons Learned in the Journey of Triathlon, by Stephen Ruffin

Pain. It is part of the circle of life. Many times advancement is not possible without pain. Part of life is learning to embrace the pain, accept it and only then can you move through it. Obviously I am not simply talking about training. Sure, what I am, and what I have been doing, and where I hope my goals lead me, involve a great deal of pain. Pain becomes the life of a triathlete. You learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I laughingly tell Karen, my wife “to embrace the suck”. For the most part, let’s face it: pain sucks. But, if we embrace it, and take it as a vehicle for improvement, we can emerge much stronger on the other side. To think this way makes pain tolerable, maybe even welcomed.

One can also apply this philosophy to life in general. I think learning to “embrace the suck” can be a roadmap for life. Life by its very nature involves pain at times. I think for me, I have become a much better person due to the lessons I have learned becoming a triathlete; sure, I’m stronger physically, but the real benefit has been mental. By understanding that pain is like a blacksmith’s forge, molding you into something new, something better, we can accept the outcome and realize pain is not forever. Whatever your struggle, you will triumph, I assure you. By embracing the crucible of the blacksmith’s forge, we become tempered, stronger, enabled, and ready to face the challenges given us.

Love Gently Live Justly Race Hard,

Stephen Ruffin

Stephen Ruffin lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his wife Karen. They have two grown children. Stephen and his wife embrace the multi-sport lifestyle. Stephen is a Boston Marathon qualifier, Ironman, and All World Athlete. He is avid about the sport of triathlon and credits the sport with reclaiming his health. He is sponsored by TriBike Transport and competes on Team TBT.

He can be reached on his Linkedin page under: Steve Ruffin. Or you can reach him via email at

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