Sunday, October 5, 2014

Find your Greatness

In 2009, I did my last 70.3 for awhile. I didn't know at the time that it was going to be my last long distance race for 5 years, but it was.

I finished in 7:20.
My swim was 41:31
My bike was 3:26
My run was 3:06

After that race, I took off 2010 from triathlon. I still swam, rode & ran, but I more or less did what I felt like which was a couple of running races here and there.

During that year, I decided it was time for me to stop focusing on going long. It was time for me to spend time working on my speed. I didn't want to be one of those back of the pack age groupers anymore.

I'd done two 70.3's, and let me tell you.....I didn't get a whole lot of satisfaction from "just finishing". It was time for me to take a different approach.

In 2011, I hired a Coach. For the next 3 years, I put all my energy into getting stronger & faster. Stronger: physically and mentally.

Now, I've finished my training cycle. I'm heading into taper.

I walked into the house after my 9.11 mile run with a huge feeling of accomplishment & satisfaction.

When I started the training, I knew what my weaknesses were, and I came up with solutions for addressing them. We all have weaknesses. Learn to work with them or have them work you. It's your choice.

Throughout training, I was tested.....over and over....and I liked it. I liked being pushed. I loved being uncomfortable.

Every time the next challenge came up, I was arming myself with new ways to get through the mental battles.

As our body get stronger through the physical exercise, we have to take extra effort to also convince our minds as to what the expectations will be.

On Thursday, when I had my hardest swim to date.....which in general focused on doing 3x300's....hard....repeatedly.....I turned to my friend Roci. Roci said, "This is where we stop thinking. We go out there, and the only thing we think about is swimming. We don't think about how far we've come. We don't think about how far we are going. We swim."

I swam. Sometimes, it's hard to know how to handle pain. By the 5th 300, my arms, my back were screaming at me to stop....or just give in a little bit....just back off a little. That's when I pushed harder.

I knew that I had been building to this for months. 6 months ago? I wasn't there physically or mentally to handle a hard effort 3500m. Now, my body could handle it. I said to myself, "We're doing this regardless. You don't have a say in the matter." And I focused on swimming. I focused on pulling hard, hitting the wall fast and getting back into my rhythm.

On Saturday, I had a tough, long ride that including 5 min at harder than HIM pacing and 20 minutes of HIM pacing.....over and over again.

Going from harder than HIM to holding HIM pace is tough. Twenty minutes felt like forever, but I broke it down to 5 minute intervals. Five minutes. I could do anything for 5 minutes. Get through 5 minutes. Then, do it again. Then again. Then again. Don't think of the 5 min before, don't think of the next one. Focus on THIS one. My legs and butt were hurting. I knew I wasn't going to back down. I had sweat dripping off me. My legs were tired, but I wasn't going to give in. This is where greatness is made. When other people are backing off, I'm going to keep driving at it. It doesn't matter how much it hurts.  Do you want that PR? Do you really want it? Because if you do, this is what it takes. This is what training for a 70.3 PR feels like.

I like to think of this training cycle as a success. It was physically & mentally demanding. There were good days and bad days, but every morning I woke up and shook off the previous day's training. Every day, I stepped up to the plate with one goal, "Give my best effort that day. Don't think about yesterday. Don't think about tomorrow. There is only today."