Laura Bennett, 33, Triathlete

Real-Life Lessons from Olympic Athletes

How do you decompress after swimming one mile, running six, and biking nearly 25—all at top speed? With a relaxing dinner, a bottle of wine, family, and friends. "Being a triathlete can be really self-absorbing," says Bennett, who will be competing in her first Olympic games this month. "You have to make so many sacrifices—missing friends' weddings, staying behind on family trips. Getting together after a race is how I reconnect with the people who are important to me. I have to build that into my life—otherwise it's easy to let it slide," Bennett's parents often travel to watch her compete, and her brothers meet up with her when they can (her husband, two brothers, and father are also triathletes). Seeing the people she loves also helps keep her work in perspective. "After being so focused on a race, it's nice to sit back and enjoy simple pleasures like a good laugh with the family," she says. It reminds her that, medal or not, there are more important things in life.

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