Tri Monkey is about sharing experiences, learnings, mistakes and hopefully motivating people to start “changing their life one hour at a time”.
Yet ironically, for the past week, I’ve been debating whether or not I share my results from my recent race in Noosa. Why not? What’s been stopping me? After all, Tri Monkey is about sharing and giving things a go.
I didn’t get a PB. That’s why.
I’m a ‘mid packer’. And I literally mean, mid – pack. If I can sneak into the top 49% of athletes in my age group I’ve excelled. I train with my heart condition in mind, I set my own training schedule and happily drink a glass of wine (or two) each night with dinner.
However, in spite of any official training program and my appetite for a good red, I’ve managed to consistently improve my times at each Olympic distance event I’ve raced over the past three years. Every race has resulted in a new PB and some form of ‘peacocking’ moment, which I was happy to share with the world. But not this time.
Despite surviving the toughest swim conditions that the Noosa Triathlon has seen in years, recording a 2min quicker time on the run compared to last year and holding the same bike split despite the increased winds. I fixated on the overall time, which was 4 minutes shy of my previous PB.
I finished the race feeling disappointed and let down.
Leading up to the race I’d set myself a target of getting into the “30’s”. (Meaning 2hrs 30 something) This meant that I had to reduce last year’s time by 4 minutes. I’d been training hard, working on my run speed and felt more confident with my swimming. So what went wrong?
Nothing actually went wrong. That’s the crazy part. I swam to the best of my ability, I rode strong and ran faster than ever before.
What, still no peacocking?!
When I finally had the chance to reflect on the day I realised the following things:
- The swell and chop was larger than normal, making it harder to spot the buoys and swim in a straight line without getting smashed. It was a challenge for even the best swimmers. Shortly after emerging from the swim leg of team, Susie O’Niell (Australia’s multi gold medal swimming Olympian) was quoted saying – “you guys are insane, that was fucking hard”
- The winds during the bike course were high and unpredictable I got mild heat stroke during the run – my burnt shoulders and head are a testament to that
- Some numpty decided he would walk his bike the length of transition instead of run or get out of my way! AGH! (Deep Breath)
So what does all this mean?
Simple – despite your training, despite your motivation, despite your mental preparation, despite your flash new Garmin and positive race day mantras – some days are just harder than others.
Some days …….. shit happens.
You can’t control the weather, you can’t control the course, and you definitely can’t control the ‘walkers’ in transition. AGH ! (Breath)
You’re not always going to get a PB. And that’s ok.
Triathletes are by nature highly competitive, with our greatest rival being ourselves. We’re fixated on numbers, heart rates, pace, cadence, comparisons and new PB’s. So much so, that we sometimes lose our way in the pursuit of our next record breaking achievement.
We forget the reasons why we got into triathlon in the first place. We forget where we came from, what we did last year and how we’ve improved since we started this sport. Three years ago I couldn’t run more than 500meters without stopping. The thought of swimming in open water terrified me and the fitness required to ride 40kms at pace was unimaginable. But yet here we are.
So next time shit happens take the time to stop, think and reflect on the following questions:
- What did you look like before triathlon?
- How did you feel before triathlon?
- How confident were you before triathlon?
- Who did you hang around before triathlon?
- Have things changed?
No matter who you are, I feel quietly confident I can answer those questions for you. Because your answers will reflect mine.
On those days when shit happens, just try and remember why you started this journey into the world of triathlon in the first place. We’ve all got different motivators, but I guarantee you that if you’re one of those people getting up at 4:30am every morning to embrace the pain, it’s changed your life.
If you can relate to this experience and are equally hard on yourself, please leave a comment or flick me an email. I’d love to hear from you.
Keep Smiling Tri Monkeys
ps: Here are my results.