Friday, May 22, 2015

Being "edgy"

I was having a conversation with a woman at masters today. She is brand new to our group.

She's a triathlete who is training for IM Boulder.

Normally, I don't talk about my race season, but there were just 3 of us left. We are all triathletes. So, I told her that I do short course: sprints and olys.

She said, "I don't do short distances. There's an edginess you need to do short course. You have to want to beat people. I don't have that. Besides, I've gotten faster just doing long course."

There's nothing wrong with what she said.

But it did get my attention.

The first part was that short course people being "edgy". I thought about it for a second. Are we that much different from long course triathletes?

There are some key differences. Obviously, in a sprint and oly, seconds count. I lost a podium in Feb by seconds because I had a flat tire. I went from 1st place to 8th place, and the time difference was less than 2 minutes. In those distances, there's a lot less smiling, talking because it IS intense. We're racing at over threshold.

Another key difference at the sprint and oly: because the courses are shorter, we can see everyone in our age groups. We aren't separated by 10-20 miles on the bike. (For the most part, I'm talking about the top 3). WE constantly know where we stand in a race. So yeah. If I can see you, and you are ahead of me, I will hunt you down. Likewise, I constantly know how far behind me the next woman is. When I did the 70.3 last year, I had NO idea. Mr. Tea yelled at me that I was one of the first 10 out of the water, but that was ALL women over 40. I didn't find out until later that I was 2nd. It's harder at IM to really know where you stand. You have to trust your plan and race your race. In a sprint, if I see someone ahead of me, I can go balls out to catch her without affecting my performance on the run.

But are we THAT much different? I was thinking about Coach Liz's IMTX race report. She had no idea where she was. She followed her plan and went into an all out sprint the last mile. Is that edgy? She wanted to win. She didn't know where she was, but she held on and gave everything she had that last mile. She ended up winning by one second.

What's edgy? Is it the desire to win? Is it confidence to race your race regardless of distance? To be willing to do exactly what you need to do to win?

Are sprinters really different than long course athletes? I don't think we are. I think anyone who is vying for a podium; anyone who wants to win is edgy.

In fact, I think you have to have it if you want to win. You have to have that fight in you.

When I raced Marquee, I was joking around with the other women who were racked next to me. One of them pointed to two other women and said, "let's stay out of their way, they look like the fast people."  I know what they were talking about. Those two women didn't say anything to anyone, but maybe they were just focused on what they needed to do that day. Maybe it was their FIRST 70.3, and they were nervous. There are a lot of reasons why people act the way they do on the morning of a race. Most of the time, it has to do with them and the goals they've set for themselves.

I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there. Some athletes can be intimidated by the drive and determination of other athletes, but it doesn't have anything to do with how far we go.

Our differences come from our individual goals.

Edginess? Yeah. I think if you want to excel at any distance, edginess is a requirement.