Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My First Tri: Final Thoughts, Lessons and Being Mental

The very awesome Moms In Motion Tri finishers! 

Thank you for coming on this journey with me.

In case you haven't read my swim, bike, run reports, spoiler alert, I made it! :)

Looking back now I am extremely grateful for the love and support of the Moms In Motion and especially our coach, Dana. Words can't explain how much it means to me to have these women and this group in my life. It's such a blessing.

The Tri sports:

The swim.  I was baffled why I had such a tough time in the water. I've done the distance before and beyond. My swim training is usually 20 - 40 mins and I was only in the water 13:30. The week before I practiced for a half of mile in a bottomless lake!

But I think I know where the "OMG" came from:

#1. I didn't factor in race day nerves
#2. Even though my plan was to stay slow I think I still probably started a wee bit fast in an effort to at least keep up with the 'slowest' woman who still was too fast for me.
#3. I was waaaaaay over far left from the buoy's I think I actually made my swim harder.
#4. The next wave catching up to me freaked me out. All of a sudden there were all these very fast arms and legs and I was startled. I never expected that was going to happen and assumed the waves would be further apart.
#5. Between feeling so behind my group, the waves behind me catching up, and the lifeguards yelling "keep an eye on the blue cap" I spiraled into insecurity and feeling very out of my league. It really messed with my head. All of a sudden I doubted my training and felt embarrassed and like I was failing. The voices in my head is the thing I'll have to fix the most. I should've just stayed focused on what my goal was, stuck to my pace and found a positive mantra.
#6. I couldn't see - it was bright and spotting was just hard. I don't think my glasses were foggy but maybe spotty on the outside or something. I just felt confused looking up but that could've also just been the circumstance.
#7. The only other time I did open-water lake swims was with a wetsuit perhaps that played a factor?

The Bike.  I still have to figure out seat height, getting to my water bottle, possibly adjusting my handlebars and probably nutrition. Thank goodness it wasn't as hot as it had been because then, not reaching my water could've been a serious problem. My feet got a little cramped up on the ride and my knees are still sore.  All in all I think it's basically a matter of practice, getting stronger and continuing to ride.

The Run. I have to do speed work and get back to running more. I've let my running slip a bit because I take for granted that I can run a 5K and have been more focused on learning and gaining confidence in the other two sports - also, I guess if part of the race is on a trail, it couldn't hurt to train once or twice on a trail.

Transitions.  Dana helped me really lay all my stuff out right so I could just grab and grow. She suggested I have some water in a bottle available to help rinse the dirt off my feet before having to put my shoes and socks on  - genius suggestion. I am sure there are faster ways to transition but I was content to not rush too quickly through it just to have a second to catch my breath - of course, even while not rushing, I forgot my running hat anyway. :-) Suggestion: get there earlier if you are new so you can make sure to have enough time to properly rack your bike and lay your stuff out. Don't forget that you'll have to leave your shoes behind so if you very tender feet and don't feel like going bare foot to the water, bring a pair of $.99 flip flops with you.

Mentally:  I've received tons of support and well wishes from friends and family on this newest challenge and I know that I'm blessed. Really blessed. Still, I can't help but to feel disappointed in my times. I've gained some weight and it's been a real uphill battle and back-and-forth to get it back under control and it's freaking me out. If I was thinner I'd be fitter and faster.

Unfortunately (and thanks to revealing Tri clothes!) The "fat girl in my head" was in full-swing that day. I felt like "the fat girl" struggling in the water, and the last "fat girl" on the bike and the "fat girl" who is running the slowest 5K ever. I can see the fat girl coming back in my pictures - and I'm afraid that she will catch me. I know it's wrong and rationally I know what I need to do to take off the few pounds before they turn back to 100 pounds. Why do I struggle to be content with who I am at this moment? I've got to learn to not look back and not look forward but to love myself for who I am right now - even at 8 pounds over goal and 9 minutes slower on my 5K run.

I can't let this shit get into my head especially during a race!!

I have to remember to Race your own Race which is easier said that done. I know I shouldn't look sideways but finishing at the bottom of the pack still makes me feel like getting picked last in gym. I have to fight these emotional demons of doubt and feeling inadequate. I'm good enough and better than I was a few years ago when I was smoking cigarettes, eating pizza by the pie-full and sitting on my ass.  I am healthy and I have been successful in continuing a healthy lifestyle for more than 3 years now. That counts for something.

You know what? First one to finish or last… I earned this and no one can take that away - not even the mean girls in my head.

My truck just got a little fancier
Just writing about it is making me feel better already. For now it's still my battle to fight. I'm sorry to wrap this race report series up with this but it's part of my journey and it would feel dishonest to not be candid about some of the dark moments I have.

Even with all the negative chatter in my head, I am thrilled that I did this. I am proud of my accomplishment. It was a truly great day. I am excited to learn more, grow and get another shot at Triathlon in the IronGirl event in September and it will be awesome to see a few more MIMs cross their first triathlon finish lines too!!!

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