Dr. Courtney Shelbourne unknowingly began his triathlon journey when he crashed into a tree on a ski trip. While he was recovering from nine broken ribs, a punctured lung, and three broken vertebrae, he happened to be reading Angela Duckworth’s “Grit.” Duckworth claims that passion and perseverance – or grit – are the biggest factors in achieving a goal, and not talent. Dr. Shelbourne decided to test out this theory, and despite the fact that he had no background in swimming, he set a goal to swim a mile. A triathlete friend suggested that he could do that during a triathlon, and another friend connected him to Axes for coaching – and now triathlon training is such a big part of his life that he can’t imagine it any other way.
Dr. Shelbourne’s triathlon highlight was his first Olympic race in St. Croix. It was special because he was able to travel with his family for the race (in fact, he chooses races that can take him and his family to different parts of the world), and because that’s when he hit his initial goal of swimming a mile. He has set some bigger goals since then – he’s got big ambitions for the Kiawah Olympic this fall, and is enjoying working on some process goals at smaller races along the way. You may even have spotted him on some Charleston-area podiums this year!
In addition to being a triathlete, Dr. Shelbourne is a busy oral surgeon and has six kids at home, so suffice it to say that he is often balancing multiple high-stress environments. He explains: “Both with work and with training, I’m not just doing it to do it. As I tell my children, you do it to win. You do it to be great at what you do. Don’t waste your time if you’re not going to do it to compete to win. But having that expectation in all areas of life can be stressful. That’s why you need an expert to help you both physically and mentally through it.” Working with Coach Brad Johnson and Axes has helped Dr. Shelbourne hone his discipline, goal-setting, and stress management – which are useful for triathlon training but also carry over into other areas of life.
Shelbourne & Associates Oral and Facial Surgery has been a mainstay in Charleston for over 20 years, and now serves the tricounty region with four offices. Specializing in wisdom teeth removal and full mouth reconstruction, their unique, collaborative team – including surgeons as well as anesthesiologists, lab techs, and dieticians – is uniquely suited to handle the most complex cases. “Our collaborative team is set up to provide unique, intimate, and personalized care to people,” says Dr. Shelbourne. “And I see a parallel there to Axes and the coaching services that y’all provide.” So signing on to sponsor the Axes team was an easy decision. “Triathlon training is a big part of my life, and I’m thankful for Axes’ help in my development. I want to tell everybody about it.”
We are happy to have Dr. Shelbourne on the Axes team, and we’re grateful to Shelbourne & Associates for their support!