So, I did it. My first race of 2012.
I went in with no expectations and realized quite a few things. If you race without expectations, then you shouldn’t be disappointed at what did or did not happen. Right? An expectation is defined as “the state of looking forward or anticipating”. That is exactly what I was doing. Looking forward. Finding meaning in racing. Anticipating the unknown.
We learn with each race, that is the beauty of racing. Each one teaches you something different. This one taught me quite a lot. For one, it showed that training hard, really pushing yourself DOES HELP (duh). One month of me getting back into it isn’t going to cut it. I mean what was I expecting – to win? Top 3? Long shot. I didn’t earn it. Second, commitment is a good thing. If I didn’t sign up for the race at the beginning of the year, there is a good chance I wouldn’t be racing this year. I always bitch and moan that the races sell out early but now maybe I am thinking there is good reason for it. It makes you do it – despite what else is sidelining you to say no. Sign up and commit. You might just surprise yourself.
I learned that running while your feet are wet causes bad, bad blisters (but a fun squeaking sound) and swimming through mounds of seaweed is tough work.
I learned competitors complain a lot. I had a guy pass me on the bike that said “hope your roads in LA are better than this” – obviously feeling the pain of all the potholes around us. Then this girl in transition was moaning how she restrained herself from going too fast because the hill was too steep and rocky – “I kept is easy” she said – as she whizzed out of the transition while I was still sitting down. Tough luck. If that is the worst thing that happened today then that’s pretty damn good right? I am obviously in a different place.
I realized your heart has to be in it. When something impacts your life in such a major way, you can’t just jump back to where you were before this significant change. I can’t just go “hit it hard” and have the same intentions I had in 2011. Something was most definitely missing. I felt a certain emptiness, and feeling of not wanting to push harder, not wanting to put forth any effort. When I say the race “hurt” it was just that – it hurt. It hurt because it was a struggle to get through it. It hurt because it wasn’t fun. I walked into it with no intentions so I thought the “fun factor” ought to be there! No pressure, right?!! Where is the FUN!!??? Here is the problem. I realized I race like I live. I have been through a major battle, and I feel the same emptiness at times throughout the day. It got me to thinking…..
If you don’t have fun with life, how in the world will have you have fun on race day? How do you approach a race with the same intensity you give your training?
And I babble on….
I will get there. Yes, in due time, I will get there. We all have ups and downs. Think of the last time you were greatly impacted by a life changing event. Did it effect your training, racing, everyday life? Of course. Did you get through it? Stronger because of it? (hope so!)
Oh – I also learned how to be a better coach. I know what bad days are and I can empathize. I know that you have to put in the effort during your training to get the results you desire. And, that, I am ready for.
So – if nothing else – remember:
DON’T LET A BAD DAY KEEP YOU DOWN.