Monday, April 4, 2011
After reading a team mates report it inspired me to give you a bit of a behind the scenes look at how my race went and how I was feeling.
As many of you know, I had a few health issues towards the middle and end of last season which saw me DNF my final two races of the year (two Ironman's no less).
To say this left me with a bit of an empty feeling would be an understatement. When you do something for so long (and you do it fairly well) and then all of a sudden you are in a position where you don't know if you can do it anymore it can definitely mess with your head (and it has). As many of you know, confidence is a big part of this game. We get it from training (day in and day out), we get it from drawing on past experiences and we get it from the things we tell ourselves. When you are having a hard time getting in the training and when past experiences seem farther and farther away you can find yourself telling yourself the wrong things. This is where I have been at for a while.
With that in mind, I have made this trip to race down south to put some demons to rest. In a sense I have almost come full circle in that my main goal going into Oceanside was to finish! To remind myself that, YES, you can still do a triathlon. We all get caught up in placing and how we stack up against each other, but I can honestly say that there is no better feeling than simply finishing one of these things. Winning is great, but there can only be one guy that wins (and it is usually Andy Potts :)
Now, onto the race. I had a crap swim. There is no other way to put it. I was swimming ok going in, but I wasn't ready for how fast it went out. That is something you can only get through racing (or doing hard open water sets with your team mates) and now I have that under my belt so hopefully I will have a better one on Sunday.
I got out and I knew I was a fair way back because there is a long run to the bikes and you can hear the announcer yelling out the names of guys leaving transition and the names he was announcing were the names I should have been ahead of or at least with. What can you do (wanting to be there or thinking you should be there does you no good). I figured I would just get on my bike and ride my way up. Once again, this is where training fitness and racing fitness slightly differ. I didn't have the top end to ride up to the guys ahead of me who were riding in legal groups (and I still went through 40 km in under an hour). I ended up riding solo for 90km. One heck of a long time trial. I caught a couple guys a long the way and was caught by a couple guys mid way as well, but my pace was my pace on the day and there was no getting out of it. I was happy that I was able to turn some negative thoughts around during the middle portion when I was feeling a little low. This is where having a mantra during your race can really help you. I just kept saying "rhythm" and "breathe". This worked and got me off of the bike.
I have been dealing with a few leg related issues on the run, so I was a bit unsure what would happen when I got off the bike. Fortunately everything held together and I was able to find a comfortable rhythm that I was able to hold for most of the run (although things did slow down a bit in the final few miles). In the end I hit the finish line (albeit in a different time zone than Potts, Henning and all) but I woke up on Sunday morning having finished a race for the first time in 8 months and that on this day was a victory.