8/7/17

Lake Logan half ironman - quick recap


I had a lot of confidence going into the Lake Logan half ironman. I felt physically prepared and my nerves were at an all-time low. I had trust in my nutrition, skills, terrain management and mental strength and I was excited for the opportunity to get out and race.

RESULTS:

Swim: 29:29
T1: 1:44
Bike: 2:43.53
T2: 1:10
Run: 1:36.55
Total: 4:53.10
(the bike and run were a bit short from the total 70.3 distance)

I placed 3rd overall/open female and had the fastest overall female run and 2nd fastest run of the day (by 15 seconds).
Knowing that there was going to be some tough competition out on the course, I made sure not to doubt my own strengths when comparing myself to others. I actually went into this race with more confidence in my running than swim and bike! But, I made sure to stay within myself and trust my preparation going into this race. Although I didn't fully taper for this race as I was coming off a big load of training in Lake Placid 2 weeks ago, I still felt like I could put together a strong performance on this very challenging race course.

This season has been all about growing my confidence as an endurance triathlete. Although I love the Ironman distance, I have used this season to build my confidence as a "racer". By taking a break from the IM distance, I have been able to train and race more consistently. With my big season goal happening in just 5 weeks (Ironman 70.3 World Championship), Lake Logan was a step in the right direction that the hard work is paying off. While my goals for the IM 70.3 WC are realistic (I am not seeking a podium finish but instead, focusing on putting together the best race possible from start to finish), I am so thrilled to be going into my last race of the season and my 4th half Ironman of 2017, with confidence.

Many athletes believe that there is a connection between confidence and expectations. I disagree.
Expectations bring nerves, anxieties and unnecessary pressure. Expectations prevent athletes from developing confidence because if you judge or demand an outcome before it happens, and you don't meet that expectation, you feel like a failure. This does you no good.  On the other hand, if you have confidence and a strong belief in your ability to perform, your result will be a product of putting together the race that meets your capabilities. 

At the Lake Logan half ironman, I didn't waste my energy on the outcome. I actually had confidence in my friend Katie (Thomas) Morales that she would win the race and I was confident that I could compete with the other open females on the course. I didn't get caught up in times, results or metrics but instead, I went into the race with a strong belief that I could execute well on this challenging course.

I love training but I really love racing. Sure, I have my share of low moments and I question "why in the heck am I doing this???" during a race but I love the process of racing. I love seeing familiar faces before the race, I love the rituals before the race start, I love the excitement and anticipation in the 1 minute countdown before the start and the specific tasks that need to be accomplished between the start and finish line. And I love crossing the finish line and feeling satisfied in the effort. Even though it's rewarding to reach your time goals, place on the podium or win a race or your age group, a successful race should not be determined by the outcome, nor should it be judged by how on track you are to meet your expectations (ex. time goal, podium placement, overall placement, etc.) during the race. I can't tell you how many times I have heard and seen athletes give up during a race because they can no longer meet their expectations.

With this being my 11th season of endurance racing, I am still improving but most of all, I am still learning and loving the sport of triathlon. I just love the journey of evolving my fitness and skills as an athlete, season after season, and I look forward to the opportunity to showcase my hard work on race day.

If you focus too much on the results, you will likely burn yourself out from the pressure of having expectations. You will find yourself becoming disinterested in racing and coming up with execuses as to why you can't race or put together a good enough race. This is not what training and racing is about.

The Lake Logan half ironman provided me with another racing opportunity to put myself into uncomfortable, unfamiliar and unknown situations and to deal with those scenarios as they came about for 70.3 miles. This is why I train - to be prepared for the demands on race day. The outcome is out of my control but I can control how I deal with situations as they come about. And certainly, no race is without it's oh-no, not now, why me, moments.

As the defending female overall winner, I didn't go into the Lake Logan half ironman event hoping to win the race for the 2nd year in a row. I also do not plan to go into the Ironman 70.3 World Championship with a goal of placing on the podium. This does not mean that I lack self confidence or I doubt my abilities but I don't want to set an outcome expectation that would define success. Would I be thrilled if I landed on the podium at 70.3 worlds - you bet (and very shocked/surprised) but I am not chasing an outcome but instead, training for the opportunity to perform at my best.

We all define success differently on race day. For me, I was reminded, once again, that racing requires you to focus on the present moment and to stay calm, brave and in control, in the face of an obstacle. And when a low moment comes or energy drops, you can't give up on yourself. Sometimes, the best results are the ones that you can't predict or plan for. Racing Lake Logan showed me that success comes when you stay in the "here and now" without focusing on the past, anticipating the future or worrying about anyone around you.