What an oxy’moron’!
So hands up, I’m guilty.
“A disappointing 10th” were my opening words in my text to Simon when he asked me how I got on as I was driving back from the Keswick Mountain Festival. I had again signed up for the Long Triathlon having had an amazing time last year and based on how consistent I’d been through the off season with my training, the gains I’d been seeing in and out the pool and on the back of my 3rd place at The Brutal Duathlon in Dorset I was going in very confident. What’s even more ridiculous is that my goal was to finish within the top 10…
… So why the opening words?
That’s simple. I had a terrible T1 and it consumed me. It consumed me so much so that I was too busy thinking about it on the bike, through T2 and in to the run. My wife and son greeting me at the finished line were so proud and happy. My 1st words here were “my T1 was sh*t”. No ‘thank you’. No gratitude. It was disappointing I reacted I that way. After a couple of minutes reflecting over some water and looking out across the lake, taking in the amazing sights and weather and went to find my family and say thanks for their support.
Simon didn’t respond to the message instead he waited until we spoke. He didn’t reference T1. He asked me what went well. Just 3 things:
1. I took 10mins off my swim time from the previous year and I exited the water feeling fresh and strong
2. I took 10mins off my bike time.
3. Despite attacking hard on the bike my legs were still fresh for the run.
There are so many positives to take out of the morning and that’s what I am focusing on. It was a B/C race with my A race in Austria in 4 weeks.
Areas I wanted to focus on and learn from…
Q. How hard can I swim out at the beginning of a race and how uncomfortable can I feel throughout the swim while not getting wrecked.
A. Not as hard as I did. I was out of breath as my HR spiked and it took me a while to get my HR down. I’d be better to start off a little less hard and build. Sighting was great and drafting has really come on.
Q. How hard can I ride on the bike without it really impeding my run. I’d read a lot about this recently and wanted to see what I could do.
A. My legs felt great on the run. They were a little heavy on the ride itself as being at a festival I carried my 4 year old son on my shoulders the two days prior (This is not an option in Austria) but they felt strong on the run.
To ensure in Austria that I race the race I want I need to keep my focus. I need to keep in the present; in the now. If something has not gone to plan I need to accept it and refocus. I do not want to think about the past or what it could mean. Instead I need to focus on that moment and enjoy the present. I do not need to think about the ride while I’m in the water, the run while on the bike, T1 or T2 before I’m in there. I’ll be well organised and prepared.
It’s really going to be simple. My transitions will be thought out and planned, I will walk the areas before the event but I will ensure I remain flexible depending on the conditions.
My swim will be fast and enjoyable. Good rotation, catch, pull and push and I shall sight every 3 strokes.
My ride will be comfortable and I shall push hard and ensure I get fluids and nutrition on board as planned.
My run will be well paced and I shall build in to the last 10k.
I will enjoy the day, the atmosphere and take in my surroundings and always remain present and in the moment.
I will feel strong, powerful, in tune, efficient and relaxed. (My mantra I use to help get back to the present).
So what did happen in transition?
I didn’t adapt to my conditions and remain flexible. I won’t dwell on it, but imagine Houdini wriggling in his straight jacket at the moment his arms are above his head and his head is covered by the jacket itself… For 3 minutes…
I’ve learnt a lot from that one event and that’s the point of these races. The main learning being to accept the issues that arise and quickly move on and get back in to the moment; the now. Leave it trailing in your wake and continue to make waves.
A lot has happened. I’m currently coming back from another week in Lanzarote feeling stronger and fitter than ever. I’m also surrounded by some seriously inspirational characters and even more unassuming people that are all supporting me in their own little way. I’m very lucky to be able to
swim at the Leeds Masters sessions and even people in the pool are trying to get behind me and push me at every session.
This is an incredibly enjoyable journey and I’m loving every bit!
Thanks for all the support. You know who you are and thanks for taking the time to read this and following my journey.