The more I race, the more I learn that the attitude you need to have when you are going into a race is the one where you aim "to get the job done". This is very different from where your intentions are "to do your best". Doing your best leaves quite a bit of room for excuses. If something unplanned happens, you can easily say, "well, given the circumstances... blah, blah, blah... I did my best."
In the past, I always had the "I'll do my best" attitude. Or, when I wouldn't feel confident, I'd soften it up to "we'll see what happens, and I'll do my best." I'd race as well as my body would allow me, but not as well if I had put my mind to it.
Lately, especially during today's race - the Austin AVIA Sprint Triathlon, I've been focused on "getting the job done." Or, in other words, accomplishing my race goals no matter what. And it really made a big difference in how well I've done!
The day before this race I woke up with a sore calf muscle. I couldn't walk, just limped around, and the calf was tender to the touch. Very bizarre and unexpected. No stretching, no massaging, no icy-hot, no painkillers, nothing would help.
On the day of the race, I woke up with the same pain. I also woke up in the crabbiest mood in the entire world. After I dressed, ate my breakfast, and drank some tea, I sat quitely for a moment and decided that feeling so shitty before a race just plain sucks and it was time for a change of attitude.
So I thought about how in the grand scheme of things, nothing really goes your way. Success is about committing to your goal and working to achieve it no matter what. I don't know about you, but I'm yet to have a perfect race. Yes, there were races that I'd dub as "perfect", but each and every one of them was unique and challenging in its own way, and the only reason they felt perfect was because I overcame whatever obstacles that were on the way.
No race is perfect, so why the long face?
So, off I limped to the race. And it truly was a great day. Somewhere in there, thanks to my hubby's support, the surrounding excitement of the race, and my determination to see progress in my racing, I forgot about the leg. It was like magic. Puff, and someone removed the part of my brain that worried about the leg. Perfect.
SWIM (700 meters)
It was a massacre. I couldn't find my rhythm at first at all, and almost got the shit kicked out of me by some stronger girls. I decided to get some air to calm down, swam with my head above water for a good quarter of the swim, and, once I was more or less by myself, I "attacked" and finally found my rhythm. That's when I caught up with and passed some girls whose footprints were on my sides. I was still pretty far from the lead. I'm not that strong of the swimmer. YET!
As compared to my first triathlon: My pace per 100 meters improved considerably - from 2:45 mins to 2:22. Excellent.
Ok, I'm not very proud of this, but I was preparing for this race thinking the bike ride would be 12 miles. It was almost 17. Oops. And I learned the actual course length as I was racing (because why read the brochures they give you?).
As compared to my first triathlon: The average pace on the bike during my first tri was 17 mph. I did get a flat, so I'm thinking I actually averaged about 19 mph on the bike during that race. The course was completely flat, however. This time my average pace was 17.8 mph, and, oh boy, was it hilly. So, I think I did better this time.
Running was definitely the highlight of this race. I actually could run. And I passed like 6 or 7 girls in my age group. It seems the track and the bricks are paying off.
As compared to my first triathlon: During my first tri, my 5K pace was 8:50 per mile. This time, I averaged 8 min miles!!!!!!
So, I got what I wanted: I ran much faster, I improved in swimming and biking, I didn't get a flat, and I didn't cause any wrecks.
The moment I crossed the finish line, the leg pain returned three-fold. So, I'm off it until I heal, so I can train for my half marathon.
Something else about this event. I would really recommend it to anyone. It was very well organized and one word I'd use to describe it is "quality". Goodie bags were actually "goodie" bags and not a pastic sack filled with advertisements (like you often get at marathons, even the big name ones). The venue was perfect - right smack in the middle of Austin. Also, after the race, the food was just fantastic. They had a good variety of fresh fuits, a ton of water, a ton of beer (New Belgium brewery... Ft. Collins, baby), chips, tacos. There was live music, massages, and the list goes on. A very fun race!
The results are not posted online yet, so I don't know how I ranked. The paces I wrote here I memorized from the printed out results they had on one of the booths after the race. Next post will have photos, and I'll post my actual times once I get the results.