Now that most of the hard work has been done (except for the actual race) I find myself overwhelmed and consumed by doubts and fears. Of course my main worry is that I am not prepared but I also worry about the outcome of the race. Honestly, I need to focus on the goal…completing the race. However, because of last year’s outcome at Barb’s Race, I feel an inordinate amount of pressure to do the same thing this year. That is hardly a rational or healthy expectation. All it is doing is making me crazier than I already feel.
I need to have the same attitude I had the first time I did Barb’s Race…just complete the race and evaluate the outcome later. At this point I have no idea what to expect from this distance or really how to race it. I mean I do have a plan but it’s just a plan. I like to remind myself that different athletes have different distances that they excel at…just like when the girls swam competitively. You have your sprinters, your middle distance swimmers, and your distance swimmers. Maybe a 70.3 race is my ideal distance. Maybe the full “iron” distance will prove to be my distance. I don’t know and I need to quit worrying about it!!!
I have read numerous race reports and triathlon books over the past couple of years. All in an attempt to glean out some sort of magic formula or ultimate answer on how to get through a race. I think all I managed to do was create more stress in myself.
NOTE: I really do enjoy the personal triathlon stories that describe the trials and tribulations of the athlete/author and I’m seriously considering compiling all of my blathering, self-indulgent blog posts into a book of my own. If you have had the unfortunate experience of coaching me, training with me, being related to me, etc…you may find yourself on the pages of an e-book sometime in the future…if I can ever pull my thoughts together.
This year, instead of focusing on books about other people’s races, I have focused on books that help MY outlook about MY races. I have read two so far, both written by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. The first is called “You Can If You Think You Can” and the second is “Confidence: Biblical Truths for Discovering God’s Potential for You”. Both books have helped me tremendously, however, I will be the first to admit that I am a slow student and the lessons need continual reinforcement.
One of my favorite chapters in “Confidence” is the one titled “Why Worry When You Can Pray”. Trust me when I tell you that I have been a praying fool for the last two months. I started off with modest requests such as healing my ankle so it doesn’t hurt when I ride or run to prayers about giving me focus, giving me confidence, and last but definitely not least, removing my fears and worries. I can’t remove fear, no matter how many races I have completed.
|Excerpt from "Confidence"|
Another prayer that I have recently added is for acceptance of whatever the outcome of the race may be. Although I do pray for a positive result without flat tires, crashes, blisters on my feet or anything too traumatic. LOL
Prayer does not come easily for me. I always feel like a kid on Santa’s lap asking for a special toy…a toy I feel I do not deserve. A couple of months ago I filled out a prayer request card at church and jotted down a few things for other people but stopped when it came to writing down a request for healing of my ankle. I relayed the story to HS after church (he’s usually busy with his usher duties and rarely has the chance to sit with me) and he told me that it’s OK to write personal requests.
“I just don’t think I can do that” I replied. “What am I supposed to write? Please pray for my ankle so I can complete my race? It would make me sound so superficial! There are so many other things, more important things, to pray about.” I never did fill out a prayer request for myself and have instead, kept my requests just between me and God.
Special note: Although my training time and distance has been significantly greater than last year, my ankle has continued to improve and feels surprisingly good!!!