Thursday, June 17, 2010

Laying it out there!

Some St. Croix Pics for your viewing pleasure! Ramon's photos were so good, I don't even have to order them! yes! Thanks Ramon!!

Did you ever notice how most athletes aren't willing to verbalize their goals to others. I think it's a combination of a fear that

A. Saying them out load makes the fact that they are striving for a desired outcome "real"

B. Having others know about it all the of the sudden makes us worry that we won't achieve them

C. It doesn't seem humble, and therefore, we tend not to want to verbalize them and risk seeming arrogant.

Let's face it though, besides the first time at any new distance (Triathlon, Half Iron, Iron), we all have something in mind that we want to try and achieve. If we didn't, then we would all just be out there having a cocktail at mile six of the run, commenting on the tri outfits we liked and getting a tan! One of the main reasons we do this sport is because we want to get better, darn it! We want to test ourselves, we want to work toward something that may have ten years ago seemed like a pipe dream! We WANT to cross a finish line, certainly, but it sure wouldn't hurt if we crossed it five minutes faster than last year right :)

Whether you are a "shout it from the roof tops" kind of person, or a "secretly hold it in my heart" kind of person, we all have hopes and dreams, and that is a beautiful thing. I love seeing them spring up like a well from the new triathletes I am working with right now.. their hearts are open, and their mind is filled with stories yet untold.

Obviously, some really hot racing happened last weekend, and some people fought their way through it and had some amazing stories to tell at the end. They inspired me, and made me wonder how they felt about their "day" out there.

All of it makes me think a lot about how we can do every last bit of training on the schedule sometimes, and it still isn't even CLOSE to a guarantee that we are going to have even a remotely good day out there. I always say "It's the Quest" to have that perfect day that keeps us coming back year after year!

I like to think of what happens out there in three ways from an article I read somewhere once, not my idea, but an adaptation on what I read at somewhere, was really good, and it must have sunk in..

Goals - are the BIG things. The sayings we have in our mind pre-race, for example, "I am going not going to give up, no matter how I feel out there, or I'm going to be mentally tough and follow every last detail of my nutrition plan." These are things we have some amount of control over with our attitude, how we adapt to changes or mechanical issues within the race and how we plan and prepare before the race (having the right amount of fuel on the bike etc.).

Targets - This is what we are shooting for as athletes, for example, "I will maintain a 166 heart rate for the bike, I will run a 7:00 pace per mile on the run, or average 200 watts for the second half of the bike etc." We have a little less control over these things but they can be looked between you and your coach as what may help you achieve your final result, which brings me to the final part - outcomes.

Outcomes - These are the tangible numbers and final splits we can look at after the race is over. It's your final place, or time, or position within your age group. These are things that we can look back on, but it's the first two things that help us get to this particular part.

If you put your focus and energy into the first two, then the third part, or the outcome, may be within your reach. However, regardless, by learning how to do the first two well, I think we have a much higher chance of yes, getting to the outcome, but even more so, being satisfied with the things we did well in a race, EVEN IF we don't get our desired "result or outcome."

What do I want to happen in a week or so in Lubbock, Texas, well, that's easy, I'll tell you right here and now - I want to find some feet to draft off of during the swim and sight well. I want to ride an appropriate pace that within myself and my abilities for the first 1/2 - 3/4th's of the bike, I want to fuel properly on the bike and have a back up plan if something happens (loss of bottle, loss of gel). I want to run the first few miles out of transition at a specific pace and assess my legs / hydration status. I want to get to mile 6-8 feeling decent and then hopefully even pick it up a little bit. I want to be hydrated and fueled properly so I can run, not just for a few miles, but for the ENTIRE 13.1 miles.. even that is a good "goal" for me right now!

If those things happen, then we will see what the outcome is from there. For the most part, we all do the training, it's what we do from 7:00am on race day, all the outside factors, how we handle them, and executing the plan that either gives us desired "outcome" or not. If you do the first two parts well, then that's really all you can do. If my mind starts playing tricks on me i.e. "that swim was slow, you're not in a good position, who was that who just passed me on the bike - I think she was in my age group, or geezz.. my legs feel like lead" I'm going to go right back to part one & part two, if I'm doing those well, then I carry on, and at the very least, just like any other race, I finish. Even that in itself is a pretty big feat some days!

Finally, I have to say a little something about faith. The way this plays a part in that section of race day from the gun one of the biggest reasons I love to race so much. I do all the training, yes, I visualize, I plan, I prepare, but I still truly believe that if God wants me to have a good day, well, then darn it, I will. Some factors will always be out of our control, but when I have an attitude of thankfulness just to be out there, and when I'm doing one of the things I feel I was created to do to the best of my ability, well, there has to be some joy in my mind and in my heart all day... So, when things didn't go so well at St. Croix, I still knew, God was with me, and he helped me to overcome those feelings of disappointment and anger. In the end, I was pleased at my attitude most of all, and that was a victory for me. Who knows, maybe that was part of the process I needed to come back at this next race to be the athlete, and person, that I'm becoming one day. My perspective and knowledge of all of that with my pea sized brain isn't nearly enough to know the full plan. Therefore, I'll just keep chipping away at it and doing my best until I feel theirs something else I should be doing!

So, I it's the quest that will always keep me coming back, but there sure is a lot more too it than just the numbers at the end. I hope this helps you as you get out there and race this season too..

Go get em out there.. have fun my friends.. thanks for being a part of my journey!!

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