Where Was My ROAR?!
Hint: Not at the 70.3 World Championships in Vegas!
Coming off of two overall age group wins at Vineman and Steelhead, I still felt like I had yet to have my best race of the season. Both of those races were great boosts in fitness for me, coming back from my injury. Vineman was a wake up call reminding me what it felt like to dig that deep, and a few minor hiccups at Steelhead left me wanting more at my next race. So what better place to have it than the World Championships? I was ready, and prepared the best I could. I got in some awesome training at the Purplepatch camp in Tahoe, I did my sauna treatments, I headed out to Vegas a week early to “acclimate” and get some practice on the course with two Vegas veterans, and I got the ten day taper I asked for!:) And best of all…Katy Perry’s new debut, Roar, had just taken over the radio. Every time I heard that song I visualized myself in the hurt box and running down the entire field! We blasted that song in the minivan cruising around Vegas and it was on repeat every workout that week leading up to the race. I thought I had “the eye of the tiger, was a fighter dancing through the fire, was a champion (whatever that meant on that day), and everyone would hear me ROAR!
And then I was lined up with my wave about to start the swim. I remember the announcer trying to get us pumped up and asking us if we were excited. I could barely muster a clap. Uh oh. Where was my ROAR? Why wasn’t I excited to get out there and give everything I could on that day? I couldn’t figure it out, but I do remember that my first thought when the horn went off was…”this is going to be a long day.” Not knowing why I was having thoughts like this during a race, I started having all sorts of questions and doubts in my mind. I spent most of the swim trying to turn those thoughts around into something positive, and told myself just to focus on the swim for the time being. One event at a time.
I made it out of the water and onto the bike. It had been raining all morning, and to be honest I think I let the rain set the tone for my whole race. I had forgotten everything I had just learned in Tahoe. I was supposed to be excited that it was raining because I had just mastered all these super secret bike techniques from the bike whisperer, a.k.a. Paul Buick. But those went out the window and I was the one thinking to myself “oh sh*t, I’m not that comfortable riding my bike in the rain.” The beginning of the bike was somewhat of a blur, literally, until we were out riding in the park. I settled down a bit, and actually thought riding in the rain was kind of fun. But I wasn’t exactly focusing on the task at hand, which was riding my bike well. I was easily distracted by all the other riders and what they were doing. My mind was still drifting here and there, and I was thinking about how lethargic I was feeling and couldn’t really get any power to the pedals. And then I got the red flag. About mile 35 the motorcycle pulled up next to me and flashed the card. There went everyone I was riding with. Great…another test of the mind. Do I throw in the towel or do I finish this thing like I know I’m capable of, despite what just happened? I would have to say I didn’t do what I was physically capable of. My negative thoughts took over and I pedaled my way to the penalty box. My family happened to be standing across the street from me while I waited there, so I made light of it and told my 4 year old that I was in a time out:) And then the bike was over.
The run seemed like a daunting 13.1 miles, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to finish. I watched people coming up the first hill while I was running down it, and I thought to myself “how can I get out of this?” That wasn’t the motivation I needed to have a great run! What was wrong with me? I tried to just think about one loop at a time…anything to help get me through. After the first loop I started to come around a bit. I picked my head up and tried to keep running down the field…one person at a time. Somehow I made it to the finish line and the day was over. Indeed it was a long day, and once I had my pity party, I realized it was one filled with some valuable lessons. And maybe it wasn’t such a bad day after all, I just had a little less of a ROAR than I had hoped for!:)
For me, I think it was an experience that I needed to have. I didn’t know what it felt like to have negative thoughts come into my head at a time when I needed my body to perform. Now that I am aware of how the mind can take over, no matter what shape I am in, I have a better understanding of what it feels like to give in to those kind of thoughts. I can literally associate those thoughts with how I felt physically that day, so that the next time those sorts of thoughts creep into my head, I can dig deep inside myself and make the decision to meow like a kitten or ROAR like a lion!
I was hoping to have another chance at my best race of the season in Austin, but it looks like my body (and maybe the universe:)) have other plans for me. A niggle in my foot may keep me from getting there, but it’s leaving a fire in me for 2014! I think it’s my body’s way of telling me that it’s time for a break and time to give back to my family who have given so much to me this year while I’ve been chasing my dream. I see Legoland and Disneyland in my future, and a chance to rejuvenate my mind and body!