Last weekend I finished my first long course triathlon in Husky. 12 weeks of training and preparation left me feeling ready to get on with it when the day finally came and I couldn’t wait to get started. A long course triathlon is a 2km ocean swim, 83km ride, and 20km run. My only goal was to finish strong and happy. And I achieved this. I had a ball. Of course there were snapshots on the run that hurt like hell, and getting kicked in the jaw on the swim was no picnic but these escape your mind as soon as you cross the line, or finish that leg even.
In my head I broke the race down into sections and had one goal for each. Not big lofty goals but just get it done goals and I think it paid off. The swim is not my favourite leg and I can get spooked if caught in the middle of the pack and feel trapped. So I decided not to ‘race’ it but to just swim the distance on the outside and just approach it calmly. It worked, my time was fairly slow at 40 minutes but I came out happy, which set me up for a good bike leg.
My goal on the bike was to try and keep a steady but firm pace for all three 28km laps. I was using a friends race wheels too and the sweet spot was 32km/hr so my aim was to sit over that as much as I could (when not going up hill anyway!!)
I have grown to love the bike but it’s not my strongest leg. Quite the contrary, as often I drop several places on the bike leg. At Husky though I maintained pace for the first two and even got faster on the third lap, yeeha! But best of all I only dropped one place which is my best result ever on the bike. Happy days.
Now to my favourite leg, the run. This is where I usually pick up a few places and really hit my straps. Husky was no exception, although a 20km run after a long fast ride was a bit more challenging than past efforts. What can I say except it bloody hurt, the view was amazing -its my favourite run, the cheering from my team mates was heartwarming and inspiring, I gained 4 places and loved giving my daughter and hubby a high five in the finish chute. It was fantastic. I couldn’t get the smile off my face. Even as I chomped my way through half a watermelon and several cups of coke I was grinning from ear to ear. My eldest daughter was in the finish area too and was beaming at me which made the experience all the better.
The whole experience was the best one I have had to date with any of my fitness pursuits. Working for a big goal and getting there is truly satisfying. Seeing and feeling what your body is capable of when you give it the right prep is awesome. But the main thing that gets you there is your mindset. You have to decide to get up in the morning and train. You have to decide to ignore the pain and keep pushing. You have to tell yourself over and over you CAN do this. Especially in that last 10kms on the run, or last section of whatever goal you set yourself. I only finished that race because my body just did what my mind told it to.
What are you going to tell your body to do next?