Friday, June 10, 2011

Trust Yourself

After my first Half Ironman at Eagleman 2007 - Can I just say this is Jocelyn and Jeremy married couple (who at the time were Jeremy & Jocelyn BF / GF) in the background and I didn't even KNOW them yet! Now, we are best of friends and even Ballou Skies Teammates!! Who would have thought!

The title of this blog is a phrase I often use with my athletes as they are preparing to race. I've been using it with myself for years now and it has a definite significance for me. You see, I've been racing for a long a time and I feel fortunate that one thing I do have, even if it's not in triathlon, is experience with the process of "how to race."

As many of my athletes are pretty new to this, I do a lot of "pre-race" coaching talking about this subject. People are nervous, I get that, I've been nervous... often times in the beginning so nervous I didn't sleep but a two or three hours before races. Nervous is good! Nervous means you CARE! If you weren't nervous, I'd be nervous as a coach!
However, in my beginning days my college coach would pull me aside as I was about to step up to toe the line with the best girls in the Big Ten. She would give me this same talk, just about every time, until I was a senior (I was a walk on from a VERY small high school and needless to say I was FREAKED OUT to be on a traveling team for a Division One School for my first TWO years). She would encourage me to think about all the hard sessions I had done, the days and weeks of miles, double days, hill repeats, and strength workouts where I couldn't think I could do one more, and then, I did. I found the strength well up from somewhere deep in my soul and I would always make it happen. She would tell me to remember those experiences, draw from them, and call them up on race day to give me the courage I needed to get myself to the starting line and then, finally to the finish line. The same thing is true for me now. Prior to any race I spend quite a bit of time thinking about the countless hours of pool time, hammering out 200's with only 2-3 seconds rest or intervals on the bike or finally, tough track workouts of 1200-800-400-200 TIMES THREE. This is what I need, to remember the times I did nail it so that I know, I'm ready (aka not thinking about the many times I did not, or missed workouts or whatever).

In college, when I was so worried I was running to the bathroom every 2 minutes, she would stop me look in my eyes and say "Fake it, until you make it Kim, Fake it until you make it." I would buck up and pretend I was cool and confident (as possible) and head out on the course.
When push comes to shove, you love to race, you're going to race and regardless of what might have gone wrong in your training. The facts are, at this point, it really doesn't matter. Really nothing else matters except for how you handle the chatter going on in your head. When those voices come that tell you "you're not good enough, you're not ready, you haven't done enough" you need to be ready to trust yourself.. to know that you ARE ready and that you will execute your plan, no matter what the course, the weather, the equipment throws at you.

This is the best advice I can give you is this when so many of you are getting ready to race this weekend. I did my first half ironman ever at Eagleman at 2007, and now I'm returning after my first Ironman at the World Championships in 2008, breaking myself at Clearwater, countless other half ironmans, sprints and olympics and then having one of my dreams actually come to fruition - winning an Ironman in Cozumel.

I never thought I would come this far in the sport, and I am certainly thankful for the many pieces of advice I have been given. If I can do one thing for you that helps you, it is to tell you - you are ready.. and you will succeed.. if you just get out of your own way sometimes. Enjoy the experience and never, ever give up on yourself. You're much stronger than you think you are (when the pavement is actually raidating heat up through your shoes and you feel like from head to toe you are actually ON FIRE), you absolutely MUST keep these things in mind.

The good news is, my friends, you are amazing, and your comments touched me so much. I read them all and it sounds like I'm not the only one who's even close to been through this funk that I experienced the last few weeks and I'm PULLING OUT! So thank you, thank you, a million times thank you!!

This week of rest was just what I needed. I feel so much better and I'm so excited to see friends and travel down with my hubby this weekend! It will be so much fun. Many of my Ballou Skies teammates will be there and it will be a great weekend to go out and leave every last drop on the race course. I can't promise anything else, but I do promise that.

If you're racing this weekend - go HARD and have fun!!


Kim said...

kim, i love this post. im still having difficulty learning to "trust myself, my coach and my training" but i'm getting there. and i am learning to enjoy the experience - it sure is tough right? best of luck this weekend kim; you will kill it!

Lauren said...

Kim, this is the EXACT post I needed to read today. I am doing Eagleman this weekend as my first half and I have been doubting myself all week. Thank you for the pep talk :) I am ready for this. I will rock Eagleman to the best of my ability!

Christi said...

Fake it until you make it. That is what me and my friends tell each other!

Steve said...

Good Luck Kim this weekend. I will be pulling for you. :)

I am so excited for all the race reports I will have to read. ;) lol

j/k. This is for fun. The real life stuff we do, that is for real.

I'll leave it at that I guess, I'd like to give you a lot on my comment, but I don't have much right now, so good luck. How's that???

:)) Kick some bootie. :)

Kiet said...

Right on! Crush it this weekend! BELIEVE! This is my current mantra.

Teresa said...

Your post is so "right". proud of your performance this weekend! Way to go!