Most likely you spent one or both of the last two weekends updating the Ironman website on your computer, watching your friends compete at IM Cabo or Melbourne. With Oceanside 70.3 this weekend I think we can safely say that race season is here for 2013. I always think of Oceanside as early season world champs. It’s that first race that everyone is looking to see what sort of form people are in thus far. A good performance at an early season race can go either way. It can be an important confidence boost for an athlete that is questioning if what they have done over the off season is working. But it can also be a sign that too much focus was put into the offseason, which can at times yield poor performance in your “depth of season”, especially those all important late season races.
A less stellar performance early in the season can at times be a good thing. Now, I don’t wish bad performances on anyone, but if you’re going to get a kick in the ass, this is a good time to experience it. Truth is, it’s a long year. Starting to find your mojo right about now, in my opinion, makes for strong late season racing. The best seasons I have experienced have been a slow and steady build to a wonderful crescendo.
So, as we start getting into the season, here are some reminders straight from me to you.
Get your Sh!t in order:
Make sure you have clearly defined your inner circle. Who’s in? Who’s out? Who are you depending on this year for coaching, nutrition, support, training partners. Are these people who you are ready to lean on, who will be there for you through the long haul? And are they people who you would do the same for? These are important relationships, and sometimes less is more.
Make sure the past is history. After having reviewed what went wrong last year, and having made the changes towards success for this year, let it go. This years problems will be new problems, so don’t live last years AND this years. Just be ready for a new fresh year.
Check your ego at the door. Part of being emotionally strong enough to take risks in racing is understanding the difference between confidence and ego. Confident people are free to go off the front, free to huck their HRM at mile 10 on the bike. Because if they fall flat on their face, well, tomorrow is a new day, and next month is another race. People run by ego have a lot of bravado, usually talk a lot about being “dream crushers” or “name takers” when in reality this is a huge front for a fragile ego that can’t take a beating. These athletes tend to play it safe, after all, an ego blow for these folks is devastating.
Now that you have your Sh!t in order, limit consequences, and expand benefits:
Now it’s time to enact what I call the “Clean Slate.” Think about a giant chalkboard that you have just done several gnarly math problems all over. Remember calculus, think of that. That board has equations, there’s some drawings, numbers are everywhere, heck there’s a lot of letters in there too, and some are greek! It’s FULL, brimming really. That’s where you are at the start of race week. Now, as race day approaches, start erasing that chalk board. Yea, go ahead and get out the good eraser, the new eraser, the one that returns the board to is original clean black slate. Let it all go. The problems are solved, the answers turned in, every box is checked. Now work towards stepping on the start line with a clean fresh board. Because folks, your gonna need it. If you want to reach your potential the path is not easy or simple and you’re going to need a clean frickin’ chalkboard. What happens if you step on the line without a clean slate? If you are still worried about not having done enough, about facing tough competition (the toughest competition you will face is between your ears), then you will pay the consequences for those thoughts. Consequences usually come when the going gets tough, when you need to dig within for that extra toughness, well, all those excuses will regurgitate back up. Limit Consequences.
Start kickin’ it with your inner surfer, dude. Or, if you are me, you channel Crush from Nemo. Whatevvvvves dude. Righteous. Put on your rose colored glasses, build your personal bubble that nothing can penetrate. However you have to think of it, I’ve given you three examples, but the point is you gotta get happy, and you gotta get positive, and you gotta let shit roll off your back. Optimism and chill attitude doesn’t come easy on race week, you have to work at it. It’s way easier to be a raging tapered bitch (again...limit consequences). However, doing the work to find your inner chill turtle, or putting on your rosy aviators pays large dividends on race day. You problem solve better, you utilize your sugar stores more efficiently, and you feel more in control. You are expanding benefits.
Dudes, and dudetts, none of us are forced to race. Sure we have invested lots of hours and money, but would you really trade those new race wheels for a couch at Crate and Barrel? What’s the alternative folks? If you aren’t out there on race day because you love being healthy and you love being a triathlete, then you would be somewhere else. There are plenty of great ways to stay healthy that are way more chill...rock climbing...long distance hiking...yoga. So if you think that being a raging bitch with a fragile ego is part of the sport, it isn’t. Do the right work upstairs, get your Sh!t together, wipe the slate clean, find some perspective, put a smile on your face, and enjoy triathlon. If you can get yourself to that place, I guarantee you, the ass kicking, name taking, and dream crushing will be a byproduct, and one you could care less about.
Happy Racing in 2013...