Welcome Back to Racing


Posted by Coach John


The last 2 weeks have been great with back-to-back weekend races. It’s “The icing on the cake” for triathletes. This is why we train, right?  But for me, this seemed all new as my last race was June, 2010 – 10 months ago!  I didn’t realize it back then, but a bike wreck in July sidelined me for the remainder of the 2010 season.  After all the races were over for the year, I started back to training with a focus on early 2011.


My first race was a sprint. I was eager to race but it felt like I hadn’t been in the racing mindset for years. The swim went well, T-1 was pitiful, the bike was better than average, T-2 was good and I actually enjoyed the run. Finishing was exhilarating. I was back! The cobwebs were shaken off and I felt great! Sure, I needed to go back and pick apart my performance and do the usual evaluation. By and large it was a success.


Then week 2 brought the Half Ironman litmus test. Maybe there were more cobwebs, more concerns.  I felt like I had done the bike and run mileage. My swim was more than ready. I had convinced myself that I was prepared.  The announcement that the swim had been cancelled began a cascade of self-talk messages that attempted to derail my racing mindset. Despite my attempts to keep myself “in the game” I instead found myself talking with other athletes about how “this is just going to be another training day for me.”


A time trial start got all the triathletes out on the bike course and the 56 mile bike portionwas underway. Windy conditions made the flat course challenging. I felt strong for the first 25 miles but little did I know that the strong headwinds would take their toll. Over the next 20 miles I began to run out of gas. I even questioned whether I should even attempt the half marathon. I was having a lively discussion in my head about the pros and cons of not finishing the race. This was a first for me!


As I entered transition I knew I would start and finish the run. Not fast, but I would finish. My half marathon wasn’t fantastic, but it took me to the finish line.


As we train, as we race, we have emotional and physical peaks and valleys. I was in the valley for quite a few miles on the bike. But I recalled discussions with my coach about this and knew that no matter how down I was feeling, I can expect to come out of the valley and turn things around.


It’s been nice to get back to racing. A couple things I’ve been reminded of after these two weekends-


-Don’t let these unexpected situations take you out of the racing mindset
-The tougher races teach us more than the smooth ones.


See you at the races!

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