I always have such great intentions to write a recap after each race and always have so much insight or lessons learnt that i cant wait to share, But i always find my other jobs (Tri Team Transport and coaching)take priority over my sitting down and writing my story book recap. I have decided to forego my blow by blow of the last few races and share what ultimately led to a solid race day 2 weeks ago at Buffalo Springs 70.3 where i placed 6th and was the closest i have come to a podium.
While my fitness has increased tenfold since last year, that hasnt started to show up fully in my racing quite yet mostly due to race day experience and lessons that need to be learnt for it all to "come together". I am making Small and consistent gains -( think of the tortoise and hare story - i am the tortoise )but there has been no breakthough performace ( the hare ) we all so wish for, me included. And i have finally come to be ok with that and enjoy the process OR the so called "journey" instead of focusing on the outcome or end result. Getting to this mental state of mind has been a journey in itself and has been one of the toughest things to do since our natural inclination is to compare ourselves to others( hares ).
But i have come to learn that as long as something positive is being learnt every race, be it not having any negative self talk, getting closer to dialing in pacing or nutrition( Note - no outcome goals such as a PR bike split, just process goals ) - i chalk that up to a victory and one small tortoise step forwards in the right direction. And now that i have gotten to this mental state of mind, i have found that the outcome really doesn't matter anymore, and there is so much joy to be found in the "journey" of it all. So if that isn't a lesson in itself here are some key lessons i have learnt over the last month of racing.
I have raced Cap Tex Tri(Olympic distance ), Kansas 70.3, and Buffalo springs 70.3. All 2 weeks apart. And each race experience built upon the one before. I would chalk Cap Tex Tri to a solid race. A decent swim, what felt like a terrible bike even though my time was decent,and an awesome PR run. the Lesson learnt from Cap Tex was even after a poor 2/3rds of a race i was able to pull it all together on the last leg and finish strong and still get an Olympic Distance PR time. Normally i would have mentally gotten down on myself and had a mental warfare for the rest of the race but that wasnt the case this time. The Lesson, your body could feel terrible for 2/3rds of the race but it isnt over and its NEVER too late to pull it together.
Next race - Kansas 70.3. Rough conditions of wind and heat led to a very physically and mentally draining day. I was able to have a good bike ( despite making the mistake of almost no calorie intake which i paid for later ) after what was a very challenging swim, and found myself in 5th place running out of T2. I ultimately ended up 9th with a very slow run ( 400 calories not enough for a 5 hour race ? stupid). There was a huge mental war that went on when all those gals ran by me, and while i tried to stay focused and positive, every inch of my felt either sorry for myself, berated myself or wanted to quit. A few times i even cried while i was running. And it really made me reflect after the race - why was i so so mentally weak that day yet i was getting so physically strong. Funny how the worst races are the ones we reflect and learn the most from. And so i realizes, While i train myself physically every day, pushing myself mentally during training, i wasnt prepared to be mentally ready for the hard times during race day and needed to learn how to do so.
With Owning Tri Team Transport, i get to handle and see many bikes, loading and unloading them on our truck for travel. And i have noticed many times that some athletes will put pictures of their family on their top tube. This was obviously there source of strength when things got tough out there and it got met thinking - What was my source of strength and how was i going to tap into that on race day ? Thinking of my family ? Positive mantra's ? Focusing on form ? Some serious pump up music going through my head ? Nope, no and nadda - tried that all and while it worked some of the time. It wasnt consistent . I needed something that was going to stick.
I prayed about it that night and the answer was so simple you would have thought i would have been consistently drawing on this source of Strength before. God was my source of strength. Living day to day when i go about my day to day and interact with others i always try to focus on what God's will is for me and follow the example Jesus set for us on how to love others and live correctly. Yet, i wasnt thinking about this while i raced. I was too self focused instead of focusing on God. I decided that the best way for me to be prepared was to memorize scripture so that when things got tough, i was able to focus on that.
So going into Buffalo Springs, that is exactly what kept me positive and in the moment for the race. Not only was it probably my best result to date it was also the easiest half ironman i had ever done ( an awesome pacing and nutrition plan definitely helped there too ).
so.. I have Vineman 70.3 this Sunday, and i am not going to lie but i have had some physical set backs since Buffalo springs ( think falling down stairs and having a concussion) In the past this little incident would have me unsure or somewhat negative going in to the race. But honestly, whatever state i show up in on Sunday, i can't wait to race and i am not too worried about the outcome. The Day will be special in the fact that i probably have to rely on God more than ever to get me through it and you know i will be repeating this scripture in my head Sunday "My Grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness " 1 John 3:1