As my first triathlon of the season approaches, I've been thinking a lot about my goals for this race. Actually, I've been thinking about my goals and expectations for the SEASON. Normally by now my race calendar is full and I've got goals for each race. This year is different. I actually feel like I'm starting over in a sense because of my injury last year. Being sidelined really messed with my head. Looking back now I'd say that perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. As I posted on Instagram earlier this week, before my injury, if you had asked me what my main motivation was for racing, I would have said, without hesitation, "to get on the podium". That was the main reason I raced. I liked winning. I liked knowing I was strong enough to come out on top. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to win but when it's your main motivation (and you're not getting paid to race), I think it can take the enjoyment out of the process.
After I got injured, I lost my mojo. The desire to compete withered up for a little while because I felt like I'd never get back to my old self again. As I started rebuilding my running base, I began to realize that I didn't necessarily want to get back to my old self. Instead I decided to focus on the process and the enjoyment of being able to move my body. I stopped obsessing about paces and watts and just went out to play. I'm continuing to do so. As I get closer to my goal races, I know the more structured hard work will come. The why behind the workouts has changed. My WHY has changed. I want to be able to go out and know that I have given everything I had on the day, NO MATTER WHAT THE END RESULT and BE HAPPY with that.
The older I get the more I realize that I am my only competition. Don't get me wrong, if you have a 45 - 49 written on your calf, I will still do my best to chase you down, because that's part of the fun of racing. But ultimately, it's about being the best I can be on that day, regardless of what the end result is. I used to think this way when I started racing but lost sight of it when I started having success in the sport. I used to get so anxious before races because I felt I had to perform. That's not an enjoyable way to train and race.
That being said, I am a competitor, it's part of who I am and I am comfortable with that. I'm not comfortable with the way it shaped my attitude towards racing so I'm changing that.
Sunday's race promises to be a fun journey. I haven't raced an Olympic distance race in over 10 years (Guelph Lake 2005 was my last Olympic!) I honestly don't know HOW to race this distance effectively. I'm either going all out in a sprint or I'm pacing myself in a half Ironman so this will be interesting to say the least. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to consciously hold myself back on the bike so I don't completely cave on the run. I haven't run more than 7km off the bike, nor have I done much targeted speed work. Being in Florida has been all about playing, mostly on the bike, not so much on the run.
So how do I think I'm going to fare on Sunday? These are my thoughts:
Swim: 27-30 minutes. This will all depend on my state of mind / calmness level race morning. I am in the first wave that goes off at 7:30 am. It's still a bit darkish at that point of the day here. And the water we swim in is BLACK. It's really dark. It's hard to see your hand extended in front of you it's that dark. So yes, I find it scary and unnerving. It can also get quite choppy. Florida is super windy. The last few mornings here have been very windy so I'm hoping that perhaps it will die down by the weekend.
Bike: 1:13-1:15. It will all depend on the wind and how my legs are feeling. There are a few good little climbs on this road along with some nice quick descents.
Run: 47-50 minutes. This will all depend on how well I execute my nutrition on the bike and how hard I go on the bike.
Factor in 3 minutes total for transitions since it's my first race and I'm more than likely going to be totally discombobulated.
If I nail everything and don't freak out on the swim, I'll break 2:30. If I have a few hiccups then I suspect I'll be closer to 2:35-2:40 or so. Considering my last Olympic was 2:42, I'll be happy with anything under that! But most importantly, I will be out there in my happy place, giving it my all.
I'm curious to know what motivates YOU? What's YOUR why?
Happy St. Patrick's day and, Happy Friday. I wonder how many people are skipping off work today to celebrate, ha ha.
~ Coach PK